Avoid these GCSE exam mistakes

GCSE exam mistakes

GCSE exam season whether summer mocks, finals or re-sits in November is always a tough ask. Every year. On top of school, you need to study in the evening and the weekend if you want to achieve your target grades.

As experienced GCSE exam tutors, we meet students making the same mistakes year in, year out. If not nipped in the bud, students risk lower grades and even failure.

That’s why we want to help point you in the right direction if you’re stuck right now. Knowing what the pitfalls are can stop you going round in circles. Ready?

I can’t get motivated

Is this something you struggle with? After two years, you’ve just a short stretch to go. It makes sense then to think about WHAT you want to achieve and WHY.

Your WHAT might be specific grades that you need to get into sixth form or start a college course.

Your WHY could be a short-term goal, or a long-term dream. GCSE exam passes can help you:

  • Access more choices and opportunities
  • Prove to yourself that you can do it
  • Achieve a dream job one day

Focusing on your WHAT and WHY can help you steer in a clearer direction.

I’ll do it tomorrow.

We’ve all done this! Putting off a task doesn’t seem dangerous if you tell yourself, ‘I’ll start tomorrow.’ The trouble with procrastinating is that:

  • It makes the situation worse.
  • It eats up precious time
  • It can create panic later down the line

It helps to think about your goals, work out what is stopping you from cracking on with some serious revision and to start with something small to ease you in.

Pick a subject topic that you struggle with, and make that your starting point.

I can’t plan for toffee

Once you’ve worked out your mojo, decided to start revising, the next hurdle is planning. It catches thousands of students like you out as the mountain seems such a massive climb.

If you don’t make a plan, you risk:

  • Running out of time
  • Leaving it too late
  • Exam anxiety

Top planning tips to put you back in control

  • List your key (must get) GCSE subjects on separate A4 pages, then list topics you know you struggle with. This will help you prioritise your time.
  • Organise folders and books into neat piles so that it’s easy to find what you’re looking for. A jumble of resources all over the place could result in you giving up!
  • Once you’ve got your subject topic lists, start building them into a revision timetable – and aim to stick to it

So, our best advice at the early stage of a revision plan is to make targets small, realistic and time-sensitive. But if you have left it late, remember that IT’S NEVER TOO LATE.

Whittle your subjects down to the ones you have to pass, and focus on those.

Good luck!


One extra thing: some intensive exam revision with an online tutor can work wonders, especially for those core English, Maths and Science subjects. Chat to us at Lemon Tree Tutors to work some magic.

Photo courtesy Youth Employment Organisation

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