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How to prepare for cancelled exams in 2021

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

At this time of year students are sitting mock examinations for GCSE, A Level and vocational courses. With summer 2021 examinations in doubt, how can you best help GCSE and A Level students make the most of the situation?

Students don’t always seem very concerned about mock exams and commonly don’t give them their best shot. But this year, things may be different and students, and parents, must get ready for what might be a very different year ahead. 

This summer when public exams were cancelled, teachers had to rely on their professional judgement and aggregated assessments to arrive at the grades that each student would be awarded. So, how does that affect teenagers in 2021? Given the uncertainty over examinations in England next summer, parents should be aware of the circumstances and be prepared to help their child over the coming months. 

Teachers are already creating regular exam-style assessments from which to build a reliable dataset of the effort and ability of each student. Parents can really help their teenagers by getting them to focus on their ongoing assessments more than ever this year, even if this is a minor homework. Regular, high marks in homework and topic assessments is where it will really count. These marks will form an average performance percentage that will heavily influence any centre assessed grade.

We know that getting teenagers to revise isn’t easy! Parents - This is the time to motivate your children by learning with them. Find out which exam board your children are studying and download the course specification. It provides a perfect checklist of things they need to understand.

Little-and-often vs coast-and-cram

This isn’t the year for students to coast through the course with minimal effort, with last minute cramming to try and pass the exam – however bright or confident they are. This ‘coast and cram strategy just won’t work if exams are cancelled. Revision needs to be continual and it really will help reduce household exam stress and anxiety should there be examinations in the Summer. 

Ongoing revision

A good revision aid can hugely impact grades and they don’t need to be expensive. Students need concise explanations with lots of well-structured, realistic exam-style questions. Materials also need brilliant visuals to peel students off the sofa and get them inspired. PG Online have worked had this year to meet this problem head on and their new range of ClearRevise books are proving to be a hit. These are accessible and affordable revision guides that perfectly follow every specification point. The information is broken down into bite sized chunks with engaging designs on every page.

ClearRevise guides are priced at just £8 and can be purchased directly from, or ordered from your local bookshop and of course from Amazon.