GCSE Grade Boundaries

As you’re working towards getting the best AQA grades, you should know the standards that you will be measured against to determine the universities or courses you can take at university. These standards in the UK are known as the GCSE grade boundaries.

Many students and parents aren’t aware of the GCSE AQA grade boundaries, which are critical in determining your future. If this is the first time you’re hearing about GCSE grade boundaries or know very little about them, then you’re at the right place.

What are GCSE Grade Boundaries?

GCSE grade boundaries are grade limits set by the exam board. The boundaries are set annually by the board across the country, depending on how the students performed. The grade boundaries are used to standardise results year after year and prevent students from being unfairly penalised for scoring low on papers.

Before 2017, students would receive the GCSE grade boundaries before receiving their results. This allowed students to predict their exam marks before the results were announced. Understandably, this caused a lot of anxiety and stress as the students waited for the exam results. The system was modified to have the GCSE AQA grade boundaries released on the same day as the results for everyone.

The GCSE boundaries grading system received another change to its grading scheme called the 9-1 grading system. In this new system, the highest grade is a 9, and the lowest is a 1. In the previous AQA grading system, the A* and A grades are now represented by three numbers grades; 9, 8 and 7.

Why Have the GCSE Grade Boundaries Changed?

GCSEs across England have been reformed. The courses are now linear, which means students sit for exams at the end of the course instead of in modules throughout the course. GCSE has also become tougher with more demanding content. The aim is to bring English standards up to match those in other high-performing countries.

The change in the grading system is a clear indication that the GCSE courses have changed. The new system will hopefully give sixth forms, universities, colleges and employers a better idea of the level that someone is working at. The new system also allows for micro-distinguishing between the various grades like 7, 8 and 9.

How are GCSE Grade Boundaries Worked Out?

Exam boards work hard to ensure that it takes the same effort to score a particular grade year to year. If the paper is harder than the previous year’s paper in one year, the grade boundaries are lowered to reflect this, depending on the maximum and minimum marks. This principle is called Comparable Outcomes.

The examiners also take into account a variety of factors when deciding on grade boundaries which include;

  • Feedback from examiners about particular papers
  • Data about the previous achievement of a cohort of students taking the exam
  • Question papers from previous years
  • Previous statistics

How to Read the GCSE number Grades?

Parents and students should know how to read and understand the GCSE grade boundaries. Luckily, the system is not that complicated, and the table below should help you understand how the new GCSE grade boundaries work.

GCSE Grading System
9High A* grade
8Lower A* or high A
7Lower A grade
6High B grade
5Lower B or high C
4Lower C grade
3D or high E
2Lower E or high F
1Lower F or G
UU remains the same

What GCSE Grade is 70%?

The new grading system is somewhat confusing, like most new things. In the old system scoring 70 meant acquiring a lower grade A. from the table above, 70% is equivalent to a GCSE grade 7.

What Percentage is a 7 in GCSE?

A grade 7 in the old system meant scoring a lower grade A. Students who get a grade 7 (lower A) must have scored about 70-82% in their exams. According to the 9-1 grading system, scoring a 7 is a pretty decent score.

What is an 8 in GCSE?

An 8 would have been a lower A* or high A in the previous GCSE grade boundaries system. Students with an 8 must have scored between 85% or higher. Securing a grade 8 also represents the student’s aptitude skills which are useful when solving complex and tricky questions.

What Grades Do Students Need to Pass Exams?

Here is a breakdown of the scores you need to pass the exams;

  • A 4 is required for a basic pass, and a 5 is necessary for a strong pass.
  • A candidate who receives nine grade 4s has passed all the theory tests.
  • Most sixth forms will require students to have a number of grade 5s or 6s as a condition for admission.
  • Government school league tables are based on the percentage of students who received a 5 or higher in English and Maths GCSEs.

Final Thoughts

What you score in your GCSE grade boundaries determines a lot about your future. Understanding the grading system will go a long way in helping you plan your future about the university you will go to and the course you will take.

What Are the Easiest A-Levels?

Every student plans on going to university and pursuing a particular degree. When you get to the A-Levels, you have to make hard choices. Universities look at the A-Levels when deciding on the admissions criteria. The A-Levels are also used to calculate the UCAS points, so you must pick the right subjects according to your preferred university or degree course.

One way of ensuring you get the highest marks is by choosing your favourite subjects. This is where you can get the best grades. You can also mix in a few easy subjects to make your journey to the top easier and increase your chances of success.

If you’re wondering what the easiest A-Levels are, here are some subjects you should consider;

English Literature

In A-Level English Literature, you will study the written word. You will read books, analyse the content, and produce written works with an in-depth overview of the meanings and themes in the books you read. If you enjoy reading, English Literature will be easy and enjoyable.

The course covers legendary writers like Margaret Atwood and William Shakespear. You will have a chance to familiarise yourself with the content and evaluate it. In the process, you’ll understand the significance of their works.

English Literature requires a lot of thought and ample reading time. But compared to the other subjects, it is comparatively light on revision, and the exams are not as difficult. You will likely study two specific books through your A-Levels and produce an essay for grading. This could save you precious time during exam time.

Also, English Literature has a high pass rate, with more than a quarter of all students getting an A or an A* and only 0.04 per cent failing to pass.


Sociology is a subject looking into social change and how people behave. If you’ve picked subjects like economics, politics and psychology, it makes an excellent pair.

Sociology will also teach you transferable skills like research, analysis, and critical thinking in A-Level studying. The subject also covers the role of the family in modern society, the media, and the education system. This subject at the A-Levels is ideal for students that want to find solutions to common societal issues.

With enough study time, it’s possible to get an excellent grade in sociology. Even statistics suggest that this is one of the easiest A-Levels. Over 99% of students who take sociology pass and more than 33% get the highest grades of A and A*.

Religious Studies

Religious studies is primarily a thought-based subject but growing fast in popularity. Like Sociology and English Literature, passing an exam in A-Level religious studies requires you to make and defend a rational argument. It overlaps with subjects like philosophy but focuses on moral issues.

You will study religious traditions worldwide and analyse some key topics when taking this subject. Some of the questions you might encounter in a religious studies exam include “What does it mean to be good?” “How should we treat other people?” and similar questions.

The subject and its exams are designed to test your critical thinking. Religious studies have an excellent pass rate. More than half of the students who did religious studies exams in 2021 got A and A* grades. It is a huge number compared to other subjects. Only a small portion of students don’t get a pass in this subject.

Classical Civilisation

This is one of the lesser-known subjects. It is incredibly interesting. It teaches all about the classical world from Greece to Rome and Egypt. It often overlaps with subjects like Art and History.

This course’s content immerses you in information from ancient times. You get to study the origins of democracy, among other interesting topics. You will take written exams that feature questions that require you to interpret and defend your opinions.

60 per cent of the students that take Classical Civilisation in A-Level get an A or A*. It is almost double the other subjects. For students that want a subject where they can get top marks, Classical Civilisation is a good choice.


Geography is among the most popular subjects in A-Level because of its engaging topics and high pass rate. Students learn about the world around them, from rivers to mountains, to volcanoes and earthquakes.

In A-Levels, the course will also cover how humans impact the earth through the population, climate change and migration. Universities hold this fascinating subject in high regard and could give you an edge when entering your preferred university.

The subject is not just fun but also gives you a good chance of getting a high A-Level grade. In 2021, 42 per cent of the student who sat for geography A-Level exams scored an A or A*. Only 10 per cent got below a grade C. Overall, 99.7 per cent of students got a passing grade.

Closing Remarks

It’s not a bad idea for students to pick an easy subject to allow them better balance and increase their chances of scoring their desired grade. This is ideal if the subject aligns with the course you want to take in university. All you have to do is pick the right subject, and we have highlighted the easiest subjects for your to consider in A-Level.

GCSE Maths Revision Course

The GCSE Maths paper is one of the more important exams you will sit for. Proper preparation and revision are critical in ensuring you cover all grounds and you’re as prepared as possible. One of the resources you will need to revise for your GCSE Maths is a revision course that will provide guided learning and revision.

Most students often prefer to lean on their strong areas when revising. This can be a recipe for disaster because that leaves the weak areas unattended. When creating a revision course, you need to give equal attention to all Maths topics, if not more, to the areas in which you are weak.

Here is a sample GCSE Maths course that you can use as a guideline to create your own course or use as your study guide.

GCSE Maths Topics

A good GCSE maths revision course focuses on all maths topics equally, allowing you to work on your weak areas and continue improving your strong points. Some of the areas where most students struggle that you should emphasise include;


These include multiples, factors, prime numbers, decimals, fractions, percentages, estimating, rounding numbers and surds.


Algebra basics, powers and roots, factorising, multiplying out brackets, rearranging formulas, solving equations, factorising quadratic equations, completing the square, algebraic fractions, sequences, graphic inequalities, iterative methods, proof, functions, real-life graphs and graph transformations.

Ratio proportion and rates of change

Direct and inverse proportions, compound growth and decay, ratios, unit conversions, speed, density and pressure.

Geometry & measures

Angles, polygons, parallel lines, quadrilaterals, congruent shapes, circle geometry, area and perimeter, the four transformations, 3D shapes, enlargements and projections, loci and constructions, bearings, trigonometry, the sine and cosine rules, Pythagoras’ theorem, vectors, and measures.

Statistics and probability

Probability basics, counting outcomes, conditional probability, the AND/OR rule, probability experiments, sets and Venn diagrams, mean, sampling, median, frequency tables, range, box plots, mode, time series, histograms, comparing data sets and scatter graphs.

A good GCSE Maths revision course should give you ample time to work on each of these areas. Not only are they problem areas for most students, but they also get tested a lot. The course should include various activities that will give you plenty of practice for revision, including;

  • Past Papers – The student can work through previous GCSE maths papers for extra practice and familiarise themselves with the question format.
  • Descriptive sessions – Studying and then discussing the topics studied in full to assess comprehension and understanding of the topic.

GCSE Maths Revision Course Outline

Much like tutoring, revision is student-centric. Every student knows the areas where they need to put in more work than others. Therefore, not every student will have a similar revision course outline. However, if you’re looking for some guidance to get you started, here is a quick outline that can help you;

Day 1: Algebra/Numerical – The focus on this day is the technique, layout and tricks that will allow you to make the most out of numerical and algebraic questions. You can also practice converting written questions into algebraic representations like fractions, factorising, indices and surds.

Day 2: Functions and graphs – Start by recapping the main points of what you worked on the previous day. Then the focus shifts to algebraic applications in functions both quadratic and linear. You can also practice representing algebraic expressions which most students struggle with.

Day 3: Algebraic applications – As always, start by refreshing your mind on what you worked on the previous day before getting on with the day’s schedule. On day three, you will be working on singular numerical and algebraic topics, including series and sequences, equations and proportions.

Day 4: Geometry – Depending on the student’s needs, this can include trigonometry and Pythagoras in 2D and 3D. You will also be working towards problem-solving using the techniques you covered on day one. The topics covered can always change based on the needs of the student.

Day 5: Statistics – The student focuses on probability tree diagrams and Venn diagrams. Again, this builds towards problem-solving questions in the context of statistics, particularly those that require strong algebraic ability.

Besides the GCSE maths revision course, a maths tutor is another critical resource you can consider when helping your child prepare for their GCSE exams. Our maths tutors are highly qualified and will work with the student helping them cover their maths revision course or help them create a customised one that focuses on their needs and requirements.

The tutor will help the student stick to the revision schedule, answer questions, and work through the student’s struggling areas.

11 Plus Interview Questions

Most independent schools will ask your child to attend an 11 Plus interview after passing their 11 Plus exam. Securing the interview doesn’t guarantee entry. So, you will need to assist your child in preparing for the interview for the best possible outcome.

The questions in the interview vary depending on the school and the interviewer. But they’re not entirely unpredictable. With the right information, you can prepare your child for the interview, help them keep calm and give them an idea of what to expect.

The Purpose of the 11 Plus Interview

The principal reasons for the interview are the same. It’s important to understand why your child is being interviewed as the foundation of the preparation.

Most schools want to assess the child and determine if the child will fit in academically and socially or display the types of behaviour that the school expects from its pupils.

The interview also assesses whether your child is committed to studying and participating in the school’s extracurricular activities. For the school, the interview determines whether they can meet your child’s academic needs and support them throughout their academic life.

How to Present Yourself

Before you can answer the questions, how the child presents themselves is critical. Like in the real world, first impressions here carry a lot of weight.


The child should be smartly dressed. Shirts should be tucked in, hair tidy, and shoes polished. Stay away from t-shirts and trainers because they have a more casual look that might not sit well with the interviewers.

Eye contact

Remind the child to make eye contact with the interviewer when introduced. A firm handshake is also critical to start the relationship positively and give the best first impression.


Remind the child to sit upright with their bottom to the back of the seat. If there’s a table, tuck the chair under the table. This minimises fidgeting, slouching or leg swinging, which can distract the interviewer. Your child should also keep their hands clasped together in their lap to stop them from playing around with them.

How to Answer 11 Plus Interview Question

Having a strategy for each of the questions is critical. When preparing for the interview with your child, you need to develop an approach to help them stay focused and maintain calmness.

Don’t rush

The first rule is not to rush. It’s harder for students to think on their feet, especially when nervous. The interview might feel hasty, but the student shouldn’t feel rushed to answer. The interviewer won’t mind you taking a few seconds to put your answer together instead of rushing and losing your line of thought in the middle of the answer.

Encourage the student to pause at the end of the question to think about how they respond. A neat technique to teach the child is to practice counting five seconds on their hands. This gives them time to gather their thoughts and develop a substantive answer.

Although the silence might feel scary, rushing to answer the question can lead to a lot of filler words that can distract the interviewer and take away from the substance of the response.

Clarify the question

Encourage the child to get clarification for questions or words they don’t understand. They shouldn’t feel embarrassed requesting clarifications or slight explanations. It is better than giving an unrelated answer to the interviewer’s question.

Avoid repetition

Try and avoid noticeable repetition of words. Try to widen the child’s vocabulary to ensure they demonstrate good vocabulary during the interview. Try to find synonyms for the adjectives you’ve learned at school.

 Avoid short answers

Short answers seem like an excellent choice to keep your responses straight and to the point. But the answer might be too short that it doesn’t give the interviewer the response they are looking for. The best approach is the P.E.E (Point, Explanation, Evidence) approach.

Start by stating your answer, explaining why that is your answer and finally give an example to prove it. This gives a better and more rounded response with better information.

Give balanced answers

There is no right or wrong answer except in certain academic questions. You shouldn’t feel that it is necessary to choose a side. Instead, it’s better to talk through your logic and thought process arguing both sides.

Keep calm and relaxed

It’s important for the interviewee to remain calm and relaxed but not too relaxed to seem casual. The language doesn’t have to be overly formal. It can be a little relaxed with some informal language and slang. You can approach the interviewer as if you’re talking to your friend’s parent. A little more measured, more polite and slightly more focused.

Core 11 Plus Interview Questions

Now that you know what to expect at your 11 Plus interview, here are some of the questions that typically feature in most interviews;

  • How do you like to spend time as a family?
  • What is your favourite thing about your current school?
  • Tell me about what you’re reading at the moment? What are your favourite and least favourite subjects?
  • What interests would you like to pursue further at your new school?

Extension 11 Plus Interview Questions

Some schools have longer interviews that feature more questions. They will cover the questions above and might have some extension questions that follow like;  

  • What do you like to do in your free time
  • How do you like to be remembered?
  • What would you like to do in your adult life?
  • How would your friends best describe you?
  • What are you most proud of in this world?

The interview might also feature some academic questions like a poem, some mental math or another piece of work to test your skills.


Preparing for the 11+ exam is critical for the student. You need to start early because this can be a stressful period. Try to remain relaxed during the preparation and the interview sessions to stay as authentic as possible. The interview is a big deal, but you don’t need to make it bigger than it needs to be.

7 Plus Exam Guide

Every Year 2 students sit for a 7+ exam as they transition into Year 3. Students often sit for the exam in January. However, in some schools, students are expected to sit for the exam before Christmas. You can check the admissions section of the school you intend the child to go to for confirmation of when the child can sit for the 7 Plus exam.

What is a 7+ Exam?

Many schools in London admit pupils at the beginning of year three by conducting a competitive selection exam called the 7+ plus exam. In most cases, the 7+ exam is the first proper exam they will face in their young academic life.

Parents need to learn about the 7 Plus test to help their children prepare for the exam in the best way possible.

What is the Format of the 7+ Exam?

The exact format of the 7+ exam varies between schools. But in general, it involves assessment in English and Maths. In some schools, there is a separate assessment in Reasoning. Most of the 7+ assessments are paper-based and sat in person at the school the child is applying to. Some schools might also have a listening exam and an online assessment as part of their entrance procedure.

The format of the exam might vary depending on the school the student is applying to, but the content of the exam is broken down as follows:


The 7+ exam covers essay and comprehension topics in English. The exams test various aspects of the student’s ability.

  • Essay – In essay, children are tested on how they present their ideas and thoughts regarding the related question. The students are given marks depending on how descriptive, logical and creative their writing is. Grammar, punctuation, spelling and sentence construction are keenly scrutinized. Parents can help their children improve their story writing skills by having them write ten lines daily on topics that interest them or topics given by you.
  • Comprehension – Comprehension requires that a child has a good understanding of a passage to answer questions related to it. Encouraging daily reading at a level above the national average will help students develop a solid technique and improve their vocabulary.

Most of the questions in the 7+ exams are related to simple fact recollection. Some questions can be more challenging, but with adequate preparation, students can tackle them.

What are the Expectations for 7+ English Exam?

The 7+ expectations for Year 2 students is that they should be familiar with the whole of the KS1 curriculum. In some schools, even beyond. The children should read fluently and answer comprehension questions in full sentences.

The students should also have the capacity to write a story at least half an A4 long with a clear beginning, middle and end of the story. Students should also exhibit the ability to use simple punctuation and descriptive vocabulary. They should also comprehend spelling patterns up to the end of the KS1 spelling lists and beyond.


The 7+ exam also tests various aspects of maths, including mental arithmetic, fundamentals of mathematics like addition, multiplication, subtraction and division, timetables, and word problems.

The topics are covered in written or verbal form. Some competitive schools even go beyond the average national level in Year 2. Regular and consistent practice is necessary to give your child the best chance of success.

What are the Expectations for the 7+ Maths Exam?

Students sitting for the 7+ Maths exam should be familiar with the entire KS1 maths curriculum. Some schools will also test on subjects beyond this level.

The exam lasts for about 40 minutes and requires that children be familiar with mental and written calculation methods for the four number operations and have a good working knowledge of timetables.

Students should also have experience with word problems and ample exposure to typical mathematical vocabulary.

Some schools set out a detailed Maths syllabus upon which their 7+ exam is set. This makes it easier for students to prepare for the exams.


Most schools will include Reasoning in their tests. Parents should familiarize themselves with the skills tested in the 7+ exam. Some schools will also include verbal and non-verbal reasoning exams. The exams can be separate or a mix of the two. How you approach the situation depends on whether these topics have been covered in your child’s previous school. You should encourage your child to practice reasoning questions in verbal and non-verbal settings.

What are the Expectations for 7+ Reasoning?

The majority of schools don’t assess Reasoning separately at the 7+ level. But some schools do. In most cases, schools the reasoning questions are included in the English and Maths papers in the following forms;


  • Verbal reasoning features in most English 7 Plus papers.
  • Students should understand age-appropriate vocabulary and even beyond in some cases.
  • Students should understand and be able to decode words in context.


Non-verbal Reasoning appears in 7+ Maths papers in various forms of questions requiring students to do any of the following;

  • Identify patterns and complete a series
  • Identify codes and complete a series
  • Spot similarities
  • Spot the odd ones out
  • Complete basic matrices

It’s important to note that non-verbal Reasoning will be a new skill to most 7+ applicants. Therefore, parents should work tirelessly to familiarize the students with the questions they are likely to counter.

What Can You Do to Prepare Your Child for Their 7+ Exam?

Every parent wants the best for their children. Passing the 7+ exams is a good place to start. You can help your child prepare for the exams by;

  • Encouraging reading to help build vocabulary and reading confidence and comprehension
  • Playing word games at home
  • Setting word related challenges like word searches and spelling lists

Besides your effort as a parent, you can also have a professional tutor with more qualified credentials to work with your child on the more challenging aspects. Tutors have experience working in some of these schools. They understand what most schools test for and can help ensure your child is better prepared for the exams.

How to Tutor Online

Online tutoring is emerging as a feasible profession for many people. It offers almost the same satisfaction as teaching, and the pay is competitive. With improved technology and high expectations from students in a very competitive curriculum, tutors are at an all-time high demand.

Luckily, you don’t need to set up an office or have a location with tutoring. You can do it online. If you’ve been considering online tutoring but don’t know how to do it, this guide will walk you through everything you need to know about how to tutor online.

Getting Started with Online Tutoring

Once you decide to tutor online, there are several other decisions you will need to make in the short term that will enable you to set up your online tutoring profession. You will need to decide what subject you will be teaching and also the tools you will be used for tutoring. Would you like to tutor alone, or would you like to be part of a team? All these choices will determine what trajectory your online tutoring profession takes.

Check out our following online tutoring services:

Online English Tutor

Online GCSE Maths Tutor

Online Maths Tutor

Online Tutoring for Primary School


When choosing the tools to use for tutoring, your primary concern should be how you want to interact with the students. For online tutors going solo, there are various options available for video calling. You need to assess each option and determine how suitable it is for the level of interaction you want.

If you’re working in a collaborative space, or you are part of an online tutoring service, most services have comprehensive tutoring tools that provide you with all the features for long-distance, online tutoring.

Understanding the tools you’re using is critical. At times, you might need to guide your students through how to use them. So only use tools that you’re completely comfortable using and you know inside out. If you don’t, you can take some time to understand the tools. Some tutoring services go as far as having tutorials on who to use their platform, which can be extremely helpful.

Decide on Your Rate

Most tutors charge by the hour. However, the actual rate depends on various factors, including your qualifications and the difficulty of the subject you will be tutoring. Deciding on the rate is critical. It could either get your clients or make them shy away.

If you choose to work with a tutoring agency, you don’t have to worry about the rates because that is already done for you. All you have to do is set up your payment options, and you’re good to go.

Preparing for the Lesson

Preparation before the lessons separates good tutors from great tutors. You should always be prepared for your class, especially when you’re new to tutoring. You might easily forget some materials for your class which could disrupt your flow. Some of the few steps you could take during preparation include:

  • Finding a teaching-friendly spot that is quiet and conducive for both you and the student.
  • Ensure the student is aware that the lesson is happening. Timely reminders are critical and always ensure the student confirms attendance for the lesson.
  • As an online tutor, you will be relying on technology which at times can fail and prove unreliable. Always ensure you have a backup in case technical difficulties arise with your primary option.

Run Some Practice Sessions

You don’t want to wait until your first lesson to figure out you needed something. You can save yourself the embarrassment by running practice sessions before going live with real students. During these practice runs, work on your tutoring skills and troubleshoot various aspects of your tutoring tools.

The practise sessions will also help you determine how to best position your camera, among other important details. Ask for honest feedback to help you improve on weak areas and improve on your material. Don’t take the criticism personally. It will help you offer the best online tutoring services to your clients.

During the Lesson

One of the primary qualities of a good online tutor is adaptability. Working from home means distractions are more likely to occur, and the technology might fail. You have to be prepared for almost every scenario. Some of the most common mishaps include:

  • The student’s camera or microphone is not working
  • The student not being able to access online resources
  • Keeping the student engaged throughout the lesson
  • Refocusing the student after a sudden distraction.

Always have a lesson outline for each session. It will help you take a structured approach to every session and have a clear guide on what you want to achieve with the student.

Simplicity is an often-overlooked quality among tutors. Using the simplest and clearest way to communicate goes a long way in helping the student understand the concept.

You should also know that with video calls, the audio can be slightly unclear. So, you want to take your time and slow down when explaining concepts. You can also try repeating key bits of information which can go a long way in reinforcing the vital information.

After the Lesson

Your work continues even after you’ve completed the lesson. One of the things you should do after a lesson is to provide the client with feedback on the class and give pointers on how they can improve. Most tutoring platforms will have a tool that makes reporting more accessible and faster.

If the online tutoring platform you use gives you the option of recording lessons, consider using this feature. You can record the lessons and send them to the student, who can use them to go over parts of the lesson they are unsure about.

You can also create additional materials like short videos that explain particular topics or problems that the student is struggling with.

Refresher quizzes are another vital resource that you can send out to students before each lesson to help remind them what you covered in the previous sessions.

At the end of each lesson, schedule the next one. It helps with planning and is a reference point for follow-up.


Online tutoring is an excellent profession if you have the skills and zeal to pursue it. It just needs persistence and excellent organizational skills, especially when working with multiple students. With this guide, you have everything you need to start this new journey and become successful at it.

What Happens if My Child Fails SATs?

SATs are an annual event for Year 2 and Year 6 students. For parents, students, and even the schools, it’s an important exam carried in high regard. Most parents dream and work towards helping their child pass the exam.

But have you ever asked yourself what would happen if your child failed the SATs, or worse, if your child just for the SATs and scored low grades? The situation is not as grim as it sounds. There is plenty your child can do to get back to success.

What is the Purpose of SATs?

The best place to start is by understanding the role of SATs. The tests are taken by children at the end of KS1 (year 2) and KS2 (year 6) around May every year.

The purpose of the test is to assess the students’ progress against age-related expectations set out by the National Curriculum. The KS1 SATs are internally marked by the teachers, while the KS2 SATs are external.

The results from the SATs are used for various reasons:

For your child

SATs measure the child’s progress and help alert teachers of specific areas where the child might need extra support.

Sometimes, this might mean the information is passed on from the child’s primary school to their new secondary school for students sitting their KS2 SATs.

For secondary schools

SATs also have a role to play for secondary schools. First, the results from SATs help the secondary schools group the children into streams based on their academic ability. Some secondary schools can also use their own tests like Year 7 CATs to better advise the grouping process.

Secondary schools also use SATs results to figure out their Progress 8 score, so it is also a performance measure of how well students progress between Year 6 and Year 11. The SATs make a good starting point.

Now that you have a clear picture of the importance of the SATs, you can start finding out what happens when your child fails in the SATs.

What Happens When My Child Fails SATs?

If your child doesn’t perform as expected in their SATs, there are plenty of options on the table that you can pursue. Hope is not lost.

Request SATs score verification

The college board scans the accuracy of the SATs answer sheets through multiple quality assurance checks. But even the best systems sometimes fail, especially when the answer sheets are scanned by a machine.

The machine may malfunction or commit errors. That is why you should consider requesting a Hand Score Verification to make sure the SATs were scored accurately. However, before taking this approach, ensure that you filled the SATs with the proper pencil and you have a reasonable doubt in the results that your child received.

Retake the SATs

More than half of the students that retake their SATs get better scores. That is why it is a good idea to consider retaking the SATs if you’re not happy with the score. It could significantly impact your college admission.

Retaking your SATs doesn’t always mean that you will get better grades. Some students get lower scores. If you decide to go down this path, you should buckle down and prepare thoroughly for the SATs retake to ensure you get the best possible grades.

Take the ACT

Most colleges and universities will accept SATs or ACT scores. If you’re not happy with your SATs scores or they aren’t high enough to get accepted into the school you have always wanted, you should consider taking the ACTs instead. It might be better suited to the type of test-taker you are.

The ACTs are not any easier. Like SATs, these are also standardized tests, but they are different. The SATs are aptitude test that is designed to measure your reasoning and verbal skills. ACTs, on the other hand, are achievement tests. They test everything you have learned in high school. If you believe no amount of SATs retakes will improve your score, opting for an ACT is the best decision.

But remember, while you can take the SATs an infinite number of times, you can only take the ACTs up to 12 times only.

Apply to a test-optional school

You can also try applying to a different college or university. This means you will have to give up going to the school you have always dreamed of attending, but you don’t have to worry about getting a rejection letter in the mail.

Many community colleges accept applicants with less than stellar SATs. However, when making these applications, you have to ensure the rest of your application is strong since the admissions officers will be looking for something that catches their eyes other than the SATs.

Final Thoughts

Just because your child doesn’t do well in their SATs is not the end of the world. You still have plenty of options on the table that you can consider depending on your child’s strengths. However, you need to make sure that whichever decision you make, you make it with your child and you prepare your child adequately for the next steps.  If you decide to retake the SATs, hiring competent and quality tutors is one of the best decisions you can make.

Best 10 Grammar Schools in London

Grammar schools have carved out a niche in our education system by focusing on academically-abled children. Many of the country’s celebrities, politicians, and top business people are products of grammar schools.

At the moment, there are 164 grammar schools in England that produce more than half the total number of A grades in A-Levels. Although these are considered the cream of secondary state schools, some are better than others. In this guide, we look at some of the best grammar schools in London.

  1. Queen Elizabeth’s School, Barnet

This is undoubtedly the best grammar school in London. It is over 450 years old and through that time, it has built a reputation as the best secondary school aiming for academic excellence.

The school, also known as QE Boys, provides a state school experience unlike any other for both pupils and parents. With approximately 83% of all grades awarded at the previous GCSE the highest grades, it is easy to see why QE Boys is considered the best grammar school in London.

The school performance equally well at the A-Level, with more than half the grades awarded an A*.

  1. Nonsuch High School (Girls)

Nonsuch is an all-girls grammar school in Sutton. Like QE Boys, Nonsuch has a stellar academic record in GCSE and A-Levels. Its Progress 8 score of 1.04 is just as impressive as the academic outcome.

The Progress 8 score indicates that the student will make significant progress by attending Nonsuch. Getting into Nonsuch is quite competitive, and parents should know the school has a two-part 11+ procedure for getting into the school.

The candidate has to pass the Selective Eligibility Test (SET) first. Successful candidates will be invited to the school to sit a second test set by the school, after which successful applicants are selected.

  1. The Henrietta Barnet School

HBS as it is also known as a grammar school situated in the Hampstead Garden Suburb. It is a non-denomination school for girls that was founded in 1911 and became an academy in 2012.

HBS isn’t a fee-paid school which makes its exclusivity all the more enviable. HBS has high expectations for joining students, and the competition for joining the school is high.

In 2019, the school received over 3000 applications. Only a small portion of these would get accepted.

The school defends its stature with 87% of all GCSE results being grade 8 or 9 in 2020 and 50% of A-Levels being A*. In 2022, the school has only 104 entry places, but you can expect thousands of students to compete for those 104 places.

  1. Michael’s Catholic School

St. Michael’s Catholic school for girls was founded in 1908 in North Finchley. It is a voluntary aided three-form entry secondary school that sits under the Congregation of the Sisters of the Poor Child Jesus. The school also admits boys in 6th Form.

It is a Catholic-based school that imposes a strong catholic ethos in addition to the high standard of learning and broad curriculum.

The school holds its 11+ exams earlier than other schools and is often scheduled on the 10th of September every year. In the coming year (2022), the school only has 128 places available and the competition to secure a spot is extremely high.

  1. Wallington High School for Girls

Wallington and Nonsuch High School are sister schools. They use the same 11+ entry system. The school is located in Sutton and offers a comprehensive curriculum that supports students to achieve the highest results possible.

The school was established in 1888 by a group of nuns. Currently, the school accommodates approximately 2310 students and has a Sixth Form college.

Although the school hasn’t published the number of grades awarded for the past two years, it has a record of excellent performance over the years.

  1. The Latymer School

The Latymer School is a selective, mixed institution in Enfield that was founded in 1624. It is ranked among the top 10 best grammar schools in London. Most of the students that attend these schools secure places in some of the country’s most prestigious universities.

It has a rigorous 11+ exam that is staggered over three consecutive days. Despite its exclusivity, the school preserves 20 spots for exceptional musically talented students.

  1. The Tiffin Girls School

In 2020, 85% of all GCSE grades at The Tiffin Girls School were either 8 or 9. More than 35% of the grades at the A-Levels were A*. It is easy to see why this grammar school is considered one of the best in London and the larger country with such a performance.

Competition to secure a spot in this school is enormous. The spots are available in Year 7. With only 180 spots open for 2022, the competition is on for the best female students in London to earn their place.

  1. The Tiffin School

This is a sister school to the Tiffin School for girls. The Tiffin School is located in Kingston-upon-Thames. It is a selective all-boys grammar school known for its outstanding performance and is considered one of the best in London. It performs just as well as the girls’ school, but the GCSE and A-Level results aren’t as strong as the girls’ school.

  1. Wallington County Grammar School

There is the Wallington High School for Girls and the Wallington County Grammar School for boys. The original WCGS, as it is known, was founded in 1927 with 71 students. It is currently situated on Corydon Road in Sutton, where it has been since 1935.

Like other prestigious and exclusive grammar schools in London, the spots to get into WCGS are highly coveted, and the competition is exceptionally high.

  1. Newstead Wood School

Closing out the list for the best ten grammar schools in London is Newstead Wood School. It is a selective all-girls school with limited slots for potential students.

The school was founded in 1957 by the Kent Education Committee and became part of Bromley in 1965. Besides its remarkable performance, the school also has a record of providing good value.

Closing Remarks

These are the most desirable and highly coveted grammar schools to get into in London. And while the number of applications and open spots paints a grim picture, the brightest students often find overcome all the entry requirements to join these schools. Having a tutor at hand could help your child better prepare for the 11+ exams that most of these schools require.

How to Revise for English Literature GCSE Tips

English Literature features some of the greatest pieces of work ever written. As fun as it can be studying some of the best authors, revising for the English Literature GCSE exam is slightly different, and for most students, it can be confusing.

In most cases, the exam will ask you for your opinion in a short essay format instead of the multiple-choice or formula questions you’re accustomed to.

If you are constantly banging your head against the wall, wondering how to revise for English literature, this guide covers the most important revision notes you need to get started.

Understand the marking scheme

Before you even start revising your English Literature GCSE exam, you should first understand the mark scheme. It varies depending on your school’s exam board. After finding out which exam board your school falls under, scour for the mark scheme and use that as a starting point for your revision.

Check the criteria and create a list of the items you need to revise. This way, you will cover everything the exam board is looking for.

Create your own guide 

If you don’t have the time to create your own guide or aren’t sure of how to make one, there are tonnes of premade guides for various literature texts that you can find online. The guides are packed with notes and annotations that can help you memorise and understand the plots, characters, and themes of your chosen texts.

However, you shouldn’t base all your English Lit revision on ready-made studies. Although these are great fodder for new thoughts and ideas, they aren’t substitutes for the original texts. You should also take time to read and understand the original texts because they are what you will be tested on.

Use examiner’s reports

Examiner’s reports are a little-used but highly essential tool in the revision of English literature. Although the reports don’t directly cover what is in the texts, they explain the most common mistakes in the previous year’s exams. They also highlight where the students were most successful.

Such insight can prove helpful in your revision, especially when you have the past papers that the reports are talking about. The report can help you iron out areas you didn’t think you had a problem in, fine-tune your approach to questions, and plan your argument better.

Most importantly, the reports will prevent you from making the same mistakes that previous students made and fine-tune you to give better, well-rounded responses that contain what the examiners are looking for.

Load up on past papers

Mastering the marking schemes and reading through all the original texts and any substitutes you find is a great strategy. However, you need to test yourself to see how well your revision is working. Past papers give you this opportunity.

Try working on as many past papers as you can. You can easily find example questions and old exam papers. The beauty of literature is that the questions are almost similar. If you do enough past papers, there’s a chance you will stumble on a similar question in your GCSE exam.

Engage your teacher

Most of the revision work is done at home, and while there’s no doubt you’re making great improvement, it can be difficult to identify areas where you need to improve. This is where your teacher comes in.

Most literature teachers are more than happy to jump in and help you in any way they can. When you complete any extra work at home or even complete a past paper, you can hand it to your teacher to mark it.

You can get a clearer picture of the grade you would likely get by having your teacher mark the exam, and if there are any places the teacher thinks you can improve, they will gladly provide you with feedback. Equally important, they can help clear out areas you find most challenging.

Hire an English Literature Tutor

Another crucial revision resource is a tutor. English tutors have gone through the same system and performed exceptionally well. Most of them are University Graduates who have pursued English and English literature specialised courses. They have the information, knowledge, and experience you need to succeed in your English literature GCSE exams.

Hiring a private tutor means you have access to a wealth of knowledge at your convenience. Also, English GCSE tutors do more than help you revise and stick to your schedule. They help you build confidence and learn tips and tricks on how to approach different questions and make the most out of your time in the exam room. Such information can prove vital in helping you get a few extra marks that could earn you a higher grade.

Bottom Line

Preparing for your English Literature exam doesn’t have to feel frustrating and time-consuming. With these revision tips and guidelines, you will have a much easier time knowing what you should revise. But don’t forget that the hard part is sticking with the revision schedule and getting some work done. There are no shortcuts to success, just hard work, and consistency.

How to Pass the 11 Plus Exams: A Guide for Parents

Year 11+ exam is one of the most important exams your child will do if you want them to join an illustrious grammar school.

Getting your child ready for the exam and ensuring they pass should be a priority. But passing the exam is more than just knowing the material. Sometimes, the student has to make some extra effort to give them an edge over the thousands of others competing for the same spot. Here is what you need to know about passing the 11 Plus exam.

Find Out What Exam Board Will Administer the Test

Your first challenge will be to find out which board will administer the test. It shouldn’t be hard considering there are only two boards that administer the test; The Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM) and Granada Learning.

The board that administers the tests depends on where you live. Typically, the format for the tests from each board is similar, but there are differences in the material, which is why it’s critical to know the board so you can determine which material your child will need to start.

Start preparations early

It’s easy to get caught up and push preparations for the exam until it is too late. Getting started on revisions and preparations early is critical and could give the child an edge.

A study plan is a great place to start. You should have it months in advance will give your child plenty of time to identify and work on their weaknesses and strengths.

Most parents get carried away with the preparations and overload the child with too much study. Space out the learning into small chunks over a long time. That way, your child doesn’t become overwhelmed.

10–11-year-olds have a concentration span of around 30 minutes. Your structured study plan should be about half an hour long per night is all your child needs.

Cover all your grounds

Regardless of the exam board that administers the test, your child will be tested on the same subjects: English, Verbal and Non-Verbal reasoning, and maths. The schedule you put together should cover each subject comprehensively.

The English exam will cover the following;

  • Grammar
  • Spelling
  • Literacy
  • Vocabulary
  • Sentence structure
  • Comprehension
  • Punctuation

It’s important that your child practices on all these subjects comprehensively in both writing and reading.

In non-verbal reasoning, the child is tested on shapes and spatial awareness. Studying mirror images, maths games and using objects to master addition and subtraction will help prepare your child for this section.

For the verbal section of the exams, there are different types of possible questions. While studying, focus on building vocabulary. Practice papers are an excellent resource to help your child improve their verbal reasoning skills.

For the maths section of the exam, the child will need to have good numeracy and math concept skills. Covering the Key Stage 2 Maths curriculum should help students cover all their bases.

Focus on practising both question formats

There are two question formats covered in the 11 Plus exam. There are multiple-choice and standard questions.

In multiple-choice, the child is expected to select the correct answer from several options. The standard format requires written responses.

Your child should practice both question formats, especially if they are both tested by the school that the child is applying to. Don’t assume that multiple-choice questions are easy, it’s a mistake most parents make and often regret. Be sure to work on both equally.

Build a support network

Parents who have already gone through the 11 Plus exams are an excellent resource. They can provide you with the best advice on what to expect during the exams. You don’t have to know such parents on a personal basis; there are forums where parents share vital information about the exams that could help you prepare your child better.

Some of the information you can get include what the examiners test, what the pass mark is and how many spots the schools are offering.

Hire a private tutor

Hiring a tutor shouldn’t be a last-minute consideration. Most tutors have probably helped a child or two prepare for their 11 Plus exam and will most likely do an exceptional job with yours.

With a private tutor, your child will get undivided attention from someone with experience and skill in this area. Finding a good tutor can be hard, so starting the search early will save you from a last-minute rush and give you a better chance of getting a good tutor.

Tutors are particularly important if you can’t dedicate enough time to your child. They also ensure consistency, and through training, they can better help your child work on their weak areas.

The Bottom Line

As a parent, the pressure to pass the 11+ exams is as high as it is on your child. Helping them succeed is as important as the passing. Using these tips will help you do a better job at helping your child prepare for the exam.