Thursday, 9 March 2017

GCSEs - a revision guide for parents

So, here we are, knee deep in mock exam results and wondering how things are going to pan out over the next few months with the teen boy.

Having been to the parents evenings and the multiple revision/careers/sixth form open days, I somehow feel like there's as much pressure on me to make him get the right grades as there is on him.

There's nothing else for it, it's time for some revision and so I have put together a helpful guide for all parents of teens to enable you get through this highly stressful period.


Prince once said that there is joy in repetition, but quite obviously he never had to do GCSE revision with a teenager. It's pretty standard practice to repeat the question "have you done any revision today?" at least 78 times a day for about six months.  Intersperse this with "where are the revision sheets your teacher gave you?" and occasionally switch it up for "have you finished your Art coursework yet?" for good measure. See? Joy... (maybe Prince was being ironic?)

Prince never had to revise with a recalcitrant teen, the lucky sod

Applying revision to everyday life

Examples might be:

Maths - "If I ask you 78 times a day if you've done your revision yet, how many total times will I ask you over the period of the full Spring term (including half term)?"

English - "Give examples, including relevant quotations, of how the battles in this house over Playstation time with your brother accurately reflect the struggles encountered between Ralph and Jack in Lord of the Flies".

Science - "what is the boiling point of a mother's blood upon reading the latest in a very long series of emails from their son's Head of Year detailing what still needs to be done in order for her son to pass his exams?"

Philosophy - "It's not fair.  Discuss".


It is important to relax and get away from the daily grind and stresses of GCSE revision.  The teens like to "hang out" and play Call of Duty or whatever, but it's good for us parents to switch off occasionally too.   I like to go running.  I am considering entering at least three half marathons currently, as the resulting training I would need to do to complete them would mean many hours away from constantly having to remind people to get on with their revision the cut and thrust of the revision timetable.  Which would be very relaxing indeed.


Much in the same way that parents incentivise their children to pass exams (apparently the going rate is about £100 for every A*) I like to give myself little incentives too.  Just think that as soon as this is all over there will be less money needed for expensive revision guides (seriously, are they printed on butterfly wings or something?) and yet another copy of Romeo and Juliet (he may be losing these on purpose, I really am not sure) which in turn means that I can spend it on handbags or running shoes instead.  Much better.


If all else fails, panic!  He'll get it eventually, won't he?  His Maths teacher said not to worry?  He doesn't seem all that worried about it so why should I be?  But what if he has underestimated how hard the exam papers will be? Maybe he could use his bedroom as his final art project?  After all it looks exactly like a Tracey Emin installation**.  And breathe.

Not that I ever do this you understand.  *throws revision guides at teen and rifles through a billion school emails for revision tips*

*realises I have to go through this all again next year*


**  I could provide pictures but they would be way too horrific.


  1. Eek! I'm feeling your pain here. My son IS revising, but some days he doesn't start until 8.30pm because there's an awful lot of Snapchatting to do and there's some funny videos to watch on his phone. I've repeatedly asked him whether or not he's actually keeping track of what he has and hasn't revised and apparently he has 'mental notes' on that. And we don't have the Romeo and Juliet revision guide! Surely we need it?!
    Funnily enough, I posted about revision yesterday too. Not surprising as it's totally going to dominate the next few months for both of us. Good luck with those half marathons!

    1. Oh yes, mine has mental notes too. We've got two copies of some guides because the teen girl being more organised than her brother, asked for them a full year early! I'll go and have a read of your post now - I need to know the secret of the revising teen! I think I'm just going to run and run and run. I'll come back when it's all over ;)


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