Welcome to the GCSE Hub

Students, this is for you!

Welcome to your area of the website.

Years 10 and 11 are important years, but they need not be stressful ones. This Hub provides you and your parents with the information, guidance, materials and support needed to navigate the GCSE years as smoothly as possible, so that you achieve the outcomes you deserve.

Everything is listed under the tabs above, but if there is anything you can’t find, please email your Head of Year.

Good luck!

General Information

General Information

Find useful information in this section

Learning vs Revision

There are two aspects to studying that you must be careful not to confuse.

Learning is where you add new knowledge and understanding to what you already have, developing your mastery of it and extending your ability to apply it in more complex situations. Learning is a long-term process that cannot be crammed into a few short weeks.
Revision is about reminding yourself what you already know and understand, so that it is available to you quickly and without much thought when you are against the clock. It also includes practising articulating your existing knowledge and understanding, so that you can demonstrate that you have it (in the exams). Revision can be done in a much shorter period of time than learning.

Your lessons (and any homework set) over the two years of Years 10 and 11 will help you to do the learning part, but if you truly want the highest grades you are capable of achieving, simply turning up and passively doing it will not be enough. You will need to take charge, constantly reviewing your level of understanding and doing extra independent study until you are happy that you have grasped what you have been taught.
If you do this, your final couple of months of Year 11, when you revise, will be a largely stress-free, straight-forward process of reviewing what you already know. However, if you don’t, you will find yourself trying to cram two years of learning into two months, which will simply not be possible and will lead to an unhappy, stressful, worried time. So the message is, learn how to study at the start of Year 10 and make sure you do it throughout the next two years and you will be both relaxed and successful.

Independent study

During Years 10 and 11, your teachers will still set you homework and you may find that this still takes up the majority of the time that you spend studying at home. However, there will be times when you realise that you could or should be doing more. For instance, when you find that you happen to have not been set much homework one week, or because you know you have a test or exam coming up, or simply because you realise that you are struggling to understand the work you are doing in class. When this happens, it will be your choice whether to do some independent study or not, and this is where the difference between GCSEs and Years 7 to 9 becomes very clear: GCSEs are for you and your future and you will need to work hard if you want to get the best grades that you can. It’s up to you. However, choosing to study is only the first step and the next one is doing it correctly. Everyone has their own favourite ways of studying, but your favourite way might not be the most effective way. The following tips will guide you to getting the most out of the time you invest studying.

1. Eat, sleep and do some exercise

Study after study has shown that everyone learns best when they adopt a healthy lifestyle. This means getting enough sleep (that means 8 to 10 hours a night for teenagers!), eating regularly and appropriately (cut down on sugars in general and make sure you eat breakfast every morning as it’ll set you up for the whole day), get some fresh air (it’ll clear your head) and do some exercise (it lowers your stress levels and increases your feelings of happiness).

2. Take it seriously

If you’re going to study, then study! That means getting rid of distractions like your phone, your music, and the tv (turn them off, not just down), sitting on a chair at a table (not reclining on your bed) and starting early (yes, 9am at the weekend/holidays and no, not at 10pm at night).
If you can’t commit to doing this, this is your biggest clue that you are in need of some motivation for why you should be studying in the first place. Give yourself a talking to about your future aspirations, but if that doesn’t work consider the Mentoring Programme (see the Avoiding stress tab, above).

3. Spread it out

Actors, musicians, athletes…they don’t achieve their high levels of performance in a single 10-hour preparation session. They do a couple of hours at a time, regularly, spread out over weeks. Studying is no different. Spacing your learning allows you to relearn the bits that you will naturally forget (unless you happen to have a photographic memory?!).
Also, taking breaks is important. Once you have been sitting in a seat for more than an hour or so, your concentration starts to take a dip. Even a 5-minute walk to the kitchen to get a drink of water and an apple will help to clear your head.

4. Be active, not passive

By far the biggest mistake students make when “studying” is believing that reading or watching is learning; they aren’t. (Yes, even when you highlight the key bits!) Passively watching a YouTube clip or reading something (especially something written by professional authors and polished by professional editors and presented beautifully by professional graphic designers) feels like you’ve done something. It feels like you’ve learnt something, but you rarely have. An hour later, you’ve forgotten most of it (especially the finer details). To learn you have to actively engage with the material. For example, write out summary notes (without the original in front of you; close the book, you can peek, but not copy) or make a mind map. Crucially, you must include some testing yourself to see if your study has worked (answer past exam paper questions and then mark them to see what you got right and what you got wrong) and do more on the same topic until it is secure. Even more powerfully, try to teach it to someone else; and if they already know it themselves, all the better as they can coach you through if you get stuck on your explanation. Being varied in how you study also keeps boredom away.
By the way, don’t waste your time making things look pretty! What you write is far more important than writing it in seven different coloured pens and giving it a nice title.

Revising for exams

Everything above is true when you are revising for tests and exams, too. However, there are a couple of additional tips for revision:

5. Study the right things

If you don’t know exactly what to study, ask your teacher as they will probably have a revision checklist they can give you. Or use a revision guide or a textbook. There are also lots of resources available on the Subject resources tab, above.

6. Immerse yourself

Don’t hide your study material away so that you only see it at study time, spread it around. Stick revision summaries up around your house, so that you constantly get a 10-second reminder of something all through the day. E.g. Post IT notes on the cereal box for when you pour your breakfast, a poem above the sink for when you clean your teeth, etc.

7. Make a revision timetable

Towards the end of Year 10, in the January of Year 11 and, of course, in the summer of Year 11, you will have exams in all of your GCSE subjects at the same time. For the Year 10 exams and the Year 11 mocks, you will probably want to start your revision about four weeks before the exam window, to give yourself enough time to review all of your subjects effectively. However, because the Year 11 exams are the ‘real’ ones, you should consider beginning your revision for those about eight weeks before they begin (i.e. sometime after February half term but before Easter).
You need to make the full four/eight week timetable, so that you know how many revision sessions you have for each subject. It will work out to be about ten 2-hour sessions per subject for the real Year 11 exams if you make full use of the Easter holiday. Ensure that you visit each topic from each subject at least once and then perhaps return to the hardest ones a second time at the end. You will need to build in time to practise entire past papers, too. However, also remember to allocate time for your existing commitments (if you have a lot of these, you may need to temporarily scale them back a little, but remember that it is only for a few short weeks) and include regular empty slots for some guilt-free protected “you” time.
How many sessions you plan and long each session lasts is entirely up to you. If you have been working hard and ensuring your learning all year long, you might discover that you are already ready for your exams and your revision consists of just doing a few exam papers so that you get to know the style of questions and how quickly you have to go to finish in the allotted time. However, if you are feeling nervous and don’t think you are prepared enough, you might choose to do more. As a guide to when enough is enough, though, you shouldn’t ever aim to do more than 2 hours in a single morning, afternoon or evening session as your concentration will just not be there towards the end and you will exhaust yourself more than you will learn anything. And your total study for the entire week (including your 25 hours of lessons in school, if it is term time) shouldn’t be allowed to go above 40 hours (most jobs wouldn’t require you to work more than that if you were employed rather than at school, certainly not at your age). This means that during term time, you shouldn’t be planning on more than 7 revision sessions a week. (By the way, any homework you are set by your teachers during these times of the year will be aimed at revision, so you can do this during one of your sessions, it won’t be on top.)

Avoiding Stress

It’s true, so we might as well say it: GCSEs are important; the grades you get will help to get you into the Sixth Form or a college or get you a job. However, always remember that they are still not as important as a lot of other things in your life, such as your health and that of your loved ones. Also try to remember that if you work hard you can be proud of yourself, no matter what happens in the exams. All this is easy to say, of course, and stress isn’t always as easy to avoid, especially if exam-related stress is adding to other issues you have going on anyway.

Some common reasons for feeling stressed

  • Fear of failure
  • Doing too little work
  • Doing too much work
  • Pressure from parents
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Feelings of loneliness or isolation
  • Boredom

Some common ways that stress reveals itself

  • Wanting to be on your own a lot
  • Finding it difficult to go to sleep, or not sleeping very well when you do
  • Losing the ability to concentrate
  • Suffering from a lot of headaches or having particularly bad skin problems
  • Being very emotional and easily upset by things that wouldn’t usually get to you
  • Being irritable/short-tempered/snappy at other people over little things
  • A loss of feelings, like nothing matters or nothing is important any more
  • A loss self-esteem

It is important that you pay attention to yourself and if you do think that you are becoming stressed, don’t ignore it. Talking to your family, friends or teachers can help tremendously — it is true that a problem shared is a problem halved, no matter how corny that sounds. Remember, all of the adults in your life have all studied for exams themselves and we remember what it is like. There are also some simple relaxation techniques that you can try, such as:

  • Find a quiet comfortable place, lie down and close your eyes. Starting at your neck/shoulders and working down to your toes, tense and then relax all your muscles in turn until you are totally still.
  • Then, breathe in deeply, hold your breath for a count of five and then breathe out gently. Repeat this for a couple of minutes.
  • While breathing, really listen to your breath going in and out and use this to push all other thoughts from your head.

If you want something a little more formal/regular, the following two things are also available to you:

Year 11 Mentoring Programme

Each year, approximately 40 Year 11 students are invited to be mentored by a staff member in the school. Meetings take place every week with the purpose of giving encouragement and talking through any worries.

School Counselling Service

Eaton Bank has a professional counselling service that students can access called SWANS. You can access this by requesting an initial appointment with your Pastoral Manager. Anything you say to the counsellor is confidential (except in circumstances in which she believes you or someone else is at risk of harm).

Access Arrangements

“Exam access arrangements” are reasonable adjustments that can be made for students with special educational needs, disabilities or temporary injuries to allow them to avoid being disadvantaged due to the nature of an assessment. Such adjustments might include things like extra time to complete an exam paper, assistance from a reader or a scribe, permission to use assistive technology, or provision of rest breaks or a separate room. Exam access arrangements can only be granted if they are a student’s “normal way of working” and if the student has a history of need. A report from the school must show that the student has a significant and long-term impairment. For example, a student who is eligible for extra time would need to have scores that are below average in speed of writing, reading, reading comprehension or cognitive process, demonstrating they work much more slowly than others. This must then be backed up by teachers and evidence must be provided that this is the student’s normal way of working. For these reasons, please note that it is not usually possible to obtain permission for exam access arrangements late in Year 11.
If you want to discuss your child’s access arrangements or have any questions, please contact your child’s Head of Year.

Revision Sessions

Dedicated revision sessions have started with Year 11 across all subject areas, with sessions taking place during core time and after school.
The list below outlines the ones that are currently available for Year 11 students to attend.

Tuesday

3D Design- Room 3

Art (Week 1 only)

MFL- Room 35

Wednesday

Art (week 2 only)

Media Studies- Room 24

Food and Nutrition- Room 3

Composition Tutorials (Music)- M2

Further Maths (invite only)- Room 21

MFL- Room 35

Computer Science- Room 27

Thursday 

Art Textiles (week 1 only)

Sparx Maths- Room 27

Friday

GCSE Practical PE- 3G Pitch

PRE- Room 47

Study Leave

Exam Rules

The rules of the exam room are largely as you would expect them to be (the key ones are immediately below and the full list is available at the bottom of the page). Please do read and understand them properly, however — if you break these rules the consequences can go beyond just a single exam, you can actually be disqualified from all your subjects.

Be on time — 8.35am for morning exams and 1.00pm for afternoon exams
Leave your phone at home or turn it off and leave it in your bag when you arrive. You cannot have it with you during the exam.
You must not communicate with any other students (that includes signalling, as well as talking) inside the exam room. If you need something, raise your hand and ask an invigilator.
You will need a black pen (a spare is sensible) and usually a pencil, ruler, rubber and sharpener. You also need a scientific calculator and a protractor for Maths and the Sciences. Any bag you put your equipment in must be transparent.
You cannot have any paper with writing or pictures on it and you cannot have anything written on your hands/arms/etc.
You can take water (no other kind of drink) into the exam room, but it must be in a transparent bottle that has a sports cap, not a screw top (to prevent spills).
For all other rules and information, please see the following documents:

Results Day

You can collect your GCSE results from 8.00am on Thursday 22nd August 2024, from the Main Hall. If you cannot be there to collect your results in person, you can nominate someone else to do so for you or they can be posted to you. Please see Mrs Moston to arrange either of these things. If your results are not as you expected them to be and you are concerned that a mistake has been made, you can request a clerical check or a complete remark. Alternatively, if you simply want your original exam paper returned for you to see where you went wrong, you can do that, too. All of these services incur a fee (per exam paper, not per subject), but this is refunded to you if a mistake is found to have occurred and your overall grade changes as a result. To request any of these services, please speak to staff on Results Day. Please note that the deadline for requests is early September, so you need to decide quickly if you wish to use one of these services.
After Results Day, those of you who hold places at Eaton Bank Sixth Form will be invited to register in the Sixth Form Centre with a member of staff, who will enrol you and support you in making the right subject choices for you, ready for the September start.

If you are in Year 10 and will be collecting your GCSE English Language result, you are welcome to attend on this day too.

Year 10: Key Dates

March

Success at GCSE Evening: Thursday 7th March 2024

Parents Evening: Thursday 21st March 2024

April

Progress Exams
Start: Monday 15th April 2024
End: Friday 26th April 2024

May

English Language Exam: 23rd May 2024

June

English Language Paper 2: 6th June 2024

July

Monday 1st and Tuesday 2nd 2024: Sixth Form Taster Days
Tuesday 2nd, 2024: Macclesfield College Taster Days
Wednesday 3rd to Friday 5th, 2024: Work Experience

Friday 12th July 2024: Enrichment Day

August

Thursday 22nd August 2024: GCSE Results Day

Year 10: Information Evenings

Year 10 Information Evening

Year 10: Exams

 

Year 10: Progress Exams

Year 10 students will undertake a full set of Progress Exams in each of their GCSE subjects. These exams will run from Monday 15th April to Friday 26th April. This is a fantastic opportunity for students to familiarise themselves with all aspects and expectations of the exam process in preparation for their formal GCSE examinations. It also allows teachers and students to measure their progress, celebrate success and identify areas for development ahead of the GCSE exams.
Please see below the timetable for the Year 10 Progress Exams April 2024.
Year 10 Progress Exam Timetable April 2024

Year 10: Exam Timetables

Full exam timetables are available from AQA, Edexcel and OCR:
AQAEdexcelOCR
In the summer term, an Eaton Bank specific timetable will be available below, showing times and rooms for only the exams relevant to our school.

Year 10 English Language Exam:
Thursday 23rd May 2024: 9am
Thursday 6th June 2024: 9am

Year 10: Seating Plans

Students will be able to see their seating plans in advance for each exam through Talaxy. Students need to open their home page and then click on the Examinations tab. Here, students will be able to see the details for the exam, including date, time, location and seat. Please see the example below.

Students will also be able to check their seat for the exam the day before and the day of each exam. We encourage students to double check their seat to give them a confident start to their exam.

Year 11: Key Dates

February

Progress Exams Start: Monday 26th February 2024

March

Progress Exams End: Friday 8th March 2024

Success at GCSE Evening: Tuesday 26th March 2024 (6:00-7:15pm)
Progress Exam data home: Thursday 28th March 2024.

April

Week Commencing Monday 29th April 2024: MFL Speaking Exams

May

Week Commencing Tuesday 7th May 2024: GCSE Exams Start

June

Wednesday 19th June 2024: GCSE Exams End

July

Year 11 Prom:

August/September

Results day: Thursday 22nd August, from 9.00am

Year 11: Information Evenings

Year 11: Exams

The GCSE exams are the final stage in a two year journey of hard work, determination and study. This is the opportunity for students to showcase their knowledge and skills in a range of subject areas and to secure their future ambitions. We know that this is going to be a challenging, and often stressful, time for our students but we are here to support them every step of the way. Students can talk to any member of staff about any concerns or worries they may have about the process.

One part of the process that we have here at Eaton Bank is pre-exam briefings. These briefings are designed to give students time to settle their nerves, hear some key messages and encouragement from their teaching staff and to focus before entering the exam hall. It is important for all students to attend their exam briefings. Exam briefings mostly take place in the main hall and start at 8:35 for morning exams and at 12:50 for afternoon exams.

Year 11: Mocks

Year 11 mock examinations take place during the ten school days immediately after the February half term holiday, Monday 26th February to Friday 8th March. Revision materials are available via the “Revision” buttons on the “Subject Resources” tab, above. The exam timetable (and seating plans) are available on the Exam Timetable and Seating Plan tabs. When not in an exam, students must go to normal timetabled lessons. These may be used for private study, so revision materials are a must.

Year 11: Exam Timetables

Students will have been given an individual exam timetable to help them prepare for their GCSE exams.

The majority of GCSE exams take place in May- June each academic, with the exception of subjects such as PE, Music, Drama, Dance, Art, Art Textiles, 3D Design and Food and Nutrition, who will hold the practical elements of their subjects earlier in the year. This year, the written exam season starts on May 9th and ends of June 19th. Please see below the timetable for this year’s exam season.

Year 11 exam timetable summer 2024

Full exam timetables are available from AQA, Edexcel and OCR:
AQAEdexcelOCR

Year 11: Seating Plans

Students will be able to see their seating plans in advance for each exam through Talaxy. Students need to open their home page and then click on the Examinations tab. Here, students will be able to see the details for the exam, including date, time, location and seat. Please see the example below.

Students will also be able to check their seat for the exam the day before and the day of each exam. We encourage students to double check their seat to give them a confident start to their exam.

Courses

Click on any of the subject links below for a dedicated microsite of the essential information and resources you need for your revision: for the end-of-Year 10 exams, the Year 11 mocks and, most importantly, the real exams in the summer of Year 11.