Posts Tagged ‘exams’

Mock exams

Gabe 

Gabe has finished the first week of mock GCSEs. His preparation featured some focused revision sessions, but they were neither as frequent or enduring as I would have wanted. Christmas in Scotland was a blank and he didn’t return rapidly to his books on getting home. But he does seem to have done some meaningful work targeting specific activities – like learning quotations from set tests. Testing him on his notes, his capacity to absorb, retain and reproduce information impresses. He also has a strong grasp of everything we have looked at together. 

He reports satisfaction with how the eight exams sat so far have gone, pleased that he’s completed all tasks and used all the time available. He has shown no nerves, but has taken the initiative to get to bed early and asked to be woken earlier than normal. He has also enjoyed the freedom to come home immediately his day’s exams are finished.  

Robin

Robin’s closest friend, A, has found a passion greater than football: skateboarding. Gradually Robin has been lured towards it, too. Initially, in A’s garden and then taken to the centre where A practises. Robin, in borrowed gear, started off in a beginners group, separated from A (although with some other boys he knows). After just three lessons, Robin feels that passage to that higher group is within reach. 

He finds skateboarding thrilling, describing to me (as I’ve not yet seen him in action) the tricks and manoeuvres, lapsing into skateboard slang, which leaves me guessing. With A and he headed to different schools in September, and A’s commitment to the football team wavering, it may become their shared passion that keeps the friendship running. 

Eliza

Eliza has declared a commitment to environmental issues. Why, she wonders, won’t people cut down on environmentally damaging activity? I score well with her for changing our energy supplier to a renewable-only provider. School – geography, I think – has planted these ideas. She’s also considering vegetarianism, but acknowledges there are meats she likes to eat. She thinks she may want a career doing something promoting the environment – “if it’s not too late by then” she worries. 

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Smashed it

Robin

Robin’s preparation for the 11+ exam, begun in earnest around Christmas, has not been smooth. He often resents practice sessions, slumping on the table when asked to attempt some questions, and he has shown no real breakthrough with his results. He sat a practice exam at a local tutorial college. When I picked him up he had his fixed, stony look. He walked past me and headed towards the stairs out of the college. On the stairs, he turned fist clasped, “Smashed it!” he said with great satisfaction. 

His results arrived later that week and he had indeed performed well, exceeding the average and scoring in the ‘likely to pass’ range. Since then, propelled by this confidence boost, his attitude at home has improved, but he’s still prone to sighs of complaint when summoned for a little practice and can dash off his answers to hurry back to screen or ball. 

Gabe

Gabe sat his first GCSEs – part one of his science qualification. He finally engaged in some revision activity, although only with any real commitment if he was being quizzed by L or I. He felt he did OK in the exams. Interestingly, he spoke enthusiastically of the ceremony of exams, the build-up and formality of taking a public test. He had found that exciting – which bodes well given how many times he’ll be doing it in the coming years. 

Eliza

Eliza has finally got her way: she no longer walks to school with Gabe. Her release has come about because she has come to an arrangement where her friend walks an indirect route to school, a mirror image of which Eliza follows, so they can meet outside the park and from there make their way, chatting, to school. 

GCSE options

Gabe

For weeks since the announcement of the GCSE options Gabe has pondered his selection and sought advice and a sounding board. The scope for choice was limited but Gabe did seem to consider every permutation. He quickly set himself against triple science, but there were voices at school telling him that a bright lad should do this, so he wavered. Music and history were two choices he stuck to throughout. A second modern language could only be taken outside of school hours. This Gabe also committed to – far more strongly than the school, who would review depending on take up. The mandatory technology had to be cookery as all the rest were too boring. The final choice oscillated between RE and Business Studies and sometimes triple science. 

We talked about finding an easy subject to counterbalance the work of an extra language. PE suddenly entered the picture. But what if the school won’t offer the second language, challenged L – that’s a lot of non-academic subjects. And so, with school’s approval we submitted alternate options, depending on the second language: PE with it; Business Studies without. 

Eliza

Eliza has up to seven books on the go at a time. One she reads on her kindle, another she reads herself at home (usually an old favourite), one she reads with L, one she reads with me. One or maybe two for different purposes at school and a seventh somewhere in the mix. 

Robin

Robin is a noisy blighter. From being summoned to bath until being coaxed into bed, he sings, squawks, repeats catch phrases in silly voices – all to himself unless he can find a companion. I wonder if the relative quietness of the rest of us oppresses him?