Preparing for year 11

When I asked for back to school requests over on Instagram a few weeks back, this was one of the most requested posts. I know that it will not be useful for everyone (only people in the specific year group) but I hope the people who need it find it helpful and informative. I am 18, which means that I sat my GCSE’s in 2016 when they were all still under the old grading system. If you have any new grading system tailored tips then please comment them below this post!  

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So here are my 5 top tips to tackle Year 11 in the best way: 

  1. Get organised

Before you go back to school, get organised! Sort out the books that you need when you go back and even pack your school bag a week or so before to make sure that you have everything that you need… you will thank yourself the night before! Organisation doesn’t just mean sorting out old notes, but making sure that you have done any summer homework that the teachers have set too. It will set you off on a good start with your teachers if you have done all of your homework ready to hand in! You don’t need any specific new stationary for year 11, but it would be nice to treat yourself to a few new items before you go back, to refresh your stationery collection. I would definitely recommend the stabilo pastel highlighters as they make your notes ever so pretty, they aren’t particularly necessary but they do make a good treat. 

  1. Find your learning style

This will be the first time that you have had to properly revise for an exam, so it is very useful to find your learning style early on so that you can use it to your advantage not only in year 11 but in the rest of your academic life. I’m sure that your teachers have gone on about this already but there are 3 main learning styles (visual, auditory and kinaesthetic) and although you can be a mixture, everyone tends to lean towards one style over the others. I am more of a visual learner so I can utilise this and use revision techniques that suit my style best, such as mindmaps or flashcards. There is no point revising in a style that doesn’t suit you or else it will be counter productive. I obviously can’t write a post on every style but if you want a dedicated post on ‘top tips for visual learners’, just let me know and I can post that next month. 

  1. Refresh before you go back 

Even if its as small as looking over your previous years notes or textbook, you should do at least a little bit over the summer. This is to make sure that you remember the majority of your knowledge, which will definitely help you when you go back because you need the previous information to be built on in the coming year. Doing some work will stimulate the brain and make sure that you can get straight back into work when you arrive back at school. Remember when you go back after 6 weeks and forget how to write? We are trying to avoid that. That being said, I don’t mean work continuously but if you don’t do anything for nearly 2 months then you are going to lose the sharpness and forget some of the knowledge that is needed… a couple of hours is all that it will take to get back up to speed.

  1. Revise for mocks 

My school had year 11 mocks in January before exams, and I would say that my best piece of advice is to revise for them like they are your real exams… even if you feel like you are the only one taking them seriously! The knowledge will be the same that you will need in May, so its best to get a head start as you will already have the revision notes that you can use again before the real things. Another reason to revise for mocks is because if you open the grades that you want then it will give you a confidence boost for the real ones, and make you realise that you can do it if you put your mind to it. 

  1. Dont panic 

I know that this is an easy thing for me to say, and its very difficult to actually do, but try not to panic.  It is a stressful period because it is the first time that you have ever been expected to sit proper exams so you are bound to be nervous. It will naturally be more nerve-wracking than little tests that you have done in the past, but it will be okay. It is a step up and everyone knows that, so don’t be afraid to ask for help from your teachers. This won’t be the first time that they have experienced the stress of year 11 and will watch students experience pressure every year, so will have more tips and tricks to help you, for example with the applying for college process or revision tips.

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So there are my 5 biggest tips for starting year 11, and although they are quite straightforward I hope that they have helped you and put your mind at rest if you are starting year 11 in a few weeks. It was honestly one of my favourite years of education and although it can get stressful, there are also some really fun times as well! I’m sure you will have a great time and you only have one more year of school left so try to make it count. If you are reading this and are older than year 11, then please leave some of your tips either on Instagram or by commenting below… I’m sure that they will help others out! 

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