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How Can I Help My Son to Pass His GCSEs?

By: Louise Tobias BA (hons) - Updated: 18 Jan 2018 | comments*Discuss
How Can I Help My Son To Pass His Gcses?


I have a child age 17 and he needs to take his GCSEs probably maths, english and history or science and he needs to sit the exam in the next testing time.

Is it possilbe to prepare him in home schooling to pass the test and what advice do you give to make sure he can register and take the tests?

(Mr mike speranza, 1 February 2009)


First of all, it's important to check out GCSE dates. In schools, most students take GCSE courses over a period of two years. If your son plans to learn intensively at home, you may choose to sit the exam one year after beginning learning, but either way it is important to decide as you will need to register your son at a local testing centre well in advance of the exam dates.

To take the GCSEs, you and your son have two options: if he is 16 or older, he can opt to enrol at a local further education college, either on a part time or full time basis. Or you can work towards the GCSEs at home.

You mention that he has not yet decided which GCSEs to study for. This is important, and as well as considering ability, and subject enjoyment you may also want to consider coursework elements. Subjects including English, science and history often contain a coursework element so you must consider how this will be marked. This has to be carried out by a neutral person. Some boards have specific regulations about these markers, for example regarding his or her qualifications. Look into this on the major GCSE examining boards' websites - for example, OCR, EdExcel and AQA.

Another option is to enroll your son to take International GCSEs, known as IGCSEs, which do not involve any coursework.

With regards to registering for the exams, this depends on your specific exam board. The best thing to do is to phone up a range of examining bodies and ask for their 'guides for private candidates', which will outline deadlines and requirements to enter your son for their qualifications. Then you will need to contact a local exam centre, such as a school or college, to ask if your son can sit exams there. Note the centre will probably charge a fee, of around £25.

Now, onto tips to help your son pass his GCSEs. First of all, get a hold of a syllabus and a few textbooks so you can find the style that he works with best. Go through both the syllabus and textbooks methodically, at a pace that suits your son, and keep it active with lots of question and answer sessions and written responses too. As the exam draws closer, get hold of some practice papers so your son knows what to expect and how much he will have to be answering in a specific time period. Set your son some of the practice papers as test exams so he knows what to expect.

Lastly, don't make GCSEs too stressful - try to keep the education process fun and engaging, so that your son will want to learn for the course for its own, interesting sake.

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Hi i have decided to home school my son who is 16 he has fallen so far behind at school and currently is not looking at passing any of his gcses he has terrible panick attacks when he has to go to school and now his attendence is really low. I am happy to home school him but not sure how the gcses work if its part corse work ? And part exam who marks the corsework ect ? Help !!
Mumof4 - 18-Jan-18 @ 2:17 PM
I have been home schooling my daughter since the end of June, she has suffered anxiety at school since the age of 4!!! I wish I new then what I know now, as I would have kept her at home another year until she was 5!! Bless her, she has struggled all her school life, nothing to do with bullying as she has lots of friends, just the usual anxiety over the school system!! After finally having a near breakdown over mock exams in year 10 I couldn't see my daughter cope with any more stress and pulled her out of school 4 weeks before the summer holidays!! Her school were brilliant and advised us to contact a Youth works councillor and our doctor has referred my daughter to CAMHS. My daughter hasn't looked back and although it is early days with the home schooling, she is a different girl. She is totally focused and enthusiastic about her work and enjoys seeing her wonderful tutor 3 times a week! Everything is looking great and we have had NO signs of anxiety, however, we are now trying to enter my daughter for her GCSE exams. She is petrified of sitting in an exam centre with other students and I am frightened that she will work so hard and complete all her revision etc only to fall at the last hurdle, ie REFUSE to go into the exam due to a panic attack!! If I had kept her in school the deputy head was prepared to arrange for my daughter to sit her exams on her own with the Examination officer as long as we had a covering letter from our doctor. Now my daughter is not registered at the school, is there some way she can still do this? I have found two local schools that are registered with the exam board but I don't know whether they would allow my daughter to sit her exams on her own. I have rang her school and am waiting for a response to give me advice but am getting increasingly worried about it all.
lewy - 6-Sep-17 @ 6:58 PM
@abun. You could try employing a home tutor. Many qualified teachers do this as a supplement to their daily teaching work, or as part time employment as an alternative to full time teaching.
AHomeEducation - 26-Mar-15 @ 11:28 AM
We've been homeschooling our sons since we arrived in the UK from the Netherlands four years ago. We have come to the point our eldest needs to take GCSEs. However, it turned out the level of English he has, is far beneath his peers. We have tried private tutoring, but he's still way behind. He's turning 16 in summer. We don't want him to end up having no qualification whatsoever. Can you give us some advice on how to improve his English or where we might get some help. The reason he's behind is because we ourselves do not have the level of English required for GCSEs. (and so we are not able to help him much). Thank you kindly for your help.
abun - 23-Mar-15 @ 9:53 PM
Your article was very helpful as I had just sent a comment to another one of your articles. Thank you
PKSOL - 10-Sep-14 @ 2:36 PM
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