English GCSE Success

The exams are almost upon us, and I would reckon that your school is really trying to ratchet things up. I suspect you’ll have mock exams coming out of your ears, and it’ll all feel like they are heaping stress on you.

This post is all about dealing with stress and pressure, and making sure that you have a revision strategy for your English Exams.

“I can’t revise for English” is a myth. It’s propagated by those that didn’t. You can revise for English and you must. Here’s how:

Understand what the exams will look like. Write your own ‘how to’ guide.

It might be that your teacher has shown you what the exams look like on a PowerPoint. But if you’re like me, PowerPoint induces sleep. What I am suggesting is not the same. Go to the exam board’s website – download an exam, and for each question write your own success criteria. I’m sorry to even use ‘success criteria’…what I mean is: instructions.

This is my example for a Question 2 of an exam that I’ve made up:

Question 2

  • Actively read the source material.
  • Identify the metaphor.
  • Make an inference
  • Link to the steer
  • Quote
  • Analyse.

Maybe your instruction doesn’t look like mine and that’s fine. The important thing is that you write instructions for each question. It really helps to visualise what sort of thing the question will ask you, and make sure you have a step by step plan.

What is uncertain is the content of the exam. What is less uncertain, however, is the type of questions you’ll be asked. If you have learned your own step by step guide for each question, you’ll know what to do before you even see the question, before you even sit down, and before you get to the exam hall. And that’s strategy. That’s how you crack the exams.