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Achieve Your Goals with a GCSE English Tutor

Tornike Asatiani - Co-founder & COO of Edumentors

Table of Contents:

What are GCSE Exams in General and Why are They so Important?

GCSE exams are typically taken by students at the end of Year 11, when they are around 16 years old. These exams are a crucial part of the secondary education system. 🏫 They are used to evaluate school performance and enable students to move on to the next stage of their education.

Most students take about 9 GCSEs, although the exact number may vary depending on the student. The subjects cover a wide range of areas, including languages, arts, STEM subjects, and sports. There are three mandatory subjects though. GCSE Maths, GCSE English and GCSE Science. Other than that, Students can choose the subjects that interest them the most. If you’re having trouble deciding which subjects to choose, check out these 5 tips for choosing your GCSE subjects.

After completing their GCSE exams, students can then choose their A-Level subjects, which are often based on their GCSE grades. Some students decide not to go to college and instead enter the workforce, join the Armed Forces, or pursue an apprenticeship.

What Does English GCSE Consist of?

The English GCSE actually consists of two separate GCSEs, focussing on literature and language respectively. Let’s dive into the specifics of each:

📌 The English language GCSE exam tests candidates’ general comprehension of language and their ability to read and write effectively. The exam tests all the skills and content taught during the GCSE English language course. 

📌 The English literature GCSE exam tests students’ critical skills and knowledge of literature. Students study four literary texts chosen from the syllabus and answer essay questions on them in the exam. The texts vary depending on the exam board and school, but will normally include one work of Shakespeare and texts from a range of literary periods. 

It is compulsory for all students to pass English GCSE before they leave school. For this reason, it is vital that students are well prepared for the exam before taking the GCSE English language paper and its English literature counterpart.

How Hard is GCSE English?

The difficulty level of GCSE English can vary depending on the individual student and their strengths and weaknesses. Some students may find GCSE English relatively easy, while others may struggle with certain aspects of the subject. 🤷‍♀️

In general, GCSE English requires a strong foundation in reading, writing, and language skills. Students will need to be able to comprehend and analyse a variety of texts, including fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. They will also need to be able to express themselves clearly and effectively in writing, using a range of grammar and vocabulary appropriately.

One of the main challenges of GCSE English is the amount of content that students are expected to cover. This includes understanding literary techniques and devices, analysing language and structure, and writing in a variety of forms, such as essays, reports, and creative writing pieces.

The Most Difficult Part of GCSE English

The most daunting part of an English language exam is the Unseen paper. 📝 This requires students to respond to a poem or passage that they have probably never read before. It is very difficult to prepare for this exam, as there isn’t specific content to revise from. However, difficult doesn’t mean impossible and there are many ways to prepare for an Unseen paper to ensure that you gain the highest marks possible in your English language GCSE.

The English literature GCSE is also challenging and was rated the third hardest GCSE to take by thinkstudent.co.uk in 2019. The hardest element of this GCSE is the content. It requires a lot of reading, understanding and memorisation of difficult literary texts! Many students also struggle with the amount of writing required, especially under time pressure during the exam. If English isn’t interesting to you, it’s really hard to find the motivation to revise!

GCSE English: How Can You Prepare?

While English is often one of the trickiest exams, it is not impossible to do well. Don’t forget, GCSEs can be passed, as long as you prepare for the exams effectively! Even so, it’s important to stock up on some tips for exams and exam preparation, to minimise your stress and revise effectively. This section will suggest some tips and tricks on how to prepare for GCSE English and what you can do to get a good grade in your exams.

✅ Be Consistent

The key to exam success is consistency. It can be difficult to know how to prepare for GCSEs in Year 10 when you’re just starting the course, but as long as you stay on top of your homework and coursework you should find it easy to succeed. Successful students often print out the specifications for the exams and put them in the front of their folders. This helps you keep track of what you have and haven’t learned and how well you have understood it.

Another clever tip is to start revising early; just because you’re in Year 10, it doesn’t mean that you can’t start doing past papers and creating revision resources. This also means that when it does come to revision in Year 11, you already have a wealth of resources built up, and you don’t need to spend time creating flashcards, revision posters or mind maps. 

✅ Use Practice Tests to Your Advantage

In Year 11, the pressure ramps up. You’ll be taking your mock exams in November, and then using those results to inform your revision for the real exams. It’s important that you research how to prepare for GCSEs in Year 11. Exams are always stressful, but with preparation, they can be easier. There are lots of different methods of revision, but it’s difficult to know which is the best for you. Try taking a learning style test to work out what method of learning works best for you. Make sure you aren’t getting distracted by making beautiful flashcards or posters, but instead are revising in ways that are going to help you retain information.

GCSE English Revision Tips

✅ Tip 1

Have a good grasp of grammar, punctuation and spelling and use a wide range of vocabulary. This is useful when writing essays or coursework and makes it easier for the examiner to understand your work. 

Tip 2

Find out what the exam covers. Which texts are you doing? What themes do you need to know? Make a checklist of all the content you need to know. This will allow you to make a plan and be sure that you know all of the material the course covers.

✅ Tip 3

Practise your timing. You will almost definitely take mock exams before taking the actual exam. Therefore, you should have a good idea of how to manage time during exams. It’s also really important to do as many practice papers as possible. This can help you learn how to manage your time during the exam. 

✅ Tip 4

Get a good night’s sleep before an exam! There’s nothing worse than not being able to concentrate because you’re too tired. A good night’s sleep will lead to a clear head. 

✅ Tip 5

Eat a good breakfast before taking your exam as well. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and this will help to kickstart your brain. Food like bananas and cereal are great because they encourage brain activity and keep you from getting hungry.

✅ Tip 6

Ask for help! It’s important to look after yourself and seek support from those around you, whether that be a parent, guardian, teacher, tutor, or friend. When we’re feeling stressed, it’s easy to keep those feelings to ourselves. Actually, this is not the most effective way to deal with stress! It’s true what they say: a problem shared is a problem halved! 

Consider Getting Someone to Support You During GCSE English Exam Preparations

GCSE English Exam - Support During Exams
GCSE English Exam – Support During Exams

Preparing for GCSE exams puts students under a lot of pressure. It requires a lot of independent studying, without help from teachers or parents. This can be a lot for a teenager to manage. Therefore, it’s hardly surprising that many students find it difficult to get their coursework completed on time or know how to revise most effectively. It’s very important to know how to manage your stress levels and mental health during your exam years, otherwise, the anxiety and pressure can hinder your overall success. 

Additional Help for a GCSE Exam

A GCSE English tutor, online or in person, would be able to offer you exam help and enable you to get the grades that you deserve, as well as offer support during exams to ease the process. 🫂

Online tutoring is not like going to school. It is tailored to your needs and provides a supportive environment in which you can make mistakes, ask questions and develop your learning without feeling worried about the reactions of your classmates. Online tutoring as a form of support has been proven time and time again to make a big difference to students and really help them flourish during exams. 

The optimal way for students to revise and prepare for their GCSE exams is by getting additional support, perhaps with a home tutor or through online tutoring. The English tutor would be able to assist them with their coursework, give constructive criticism and feedback, and ensure that they get the best grades they can so that they can easily progress onto the next stage of their education.

GCSE English Tutoring: Why is It the Best Way to Study for Exams?

An English GCSE tutor will support you with your exams, by helping you consolidate the knowledge you already have and build the skills needed to ace the exam. They can help in a plethora of ways, including revision of content and themes, exam technique, time management, revision schedule, and any other areas you feel you need assistance in.

Online tutoring for GCSE English is the most popular way to access this support. A good tutor will organise sessions online to accompany your schoolwork and revision. You can find English tutors like this on various online tutoring platforms, where the tutors have been vetted and interviewed to make sure they are able to teach safely and effectively. 

How Can a Tutor Help?

A tutor will be able to assess your strengths and weaknesses and help you improve where you need it most. The time you have with your tutor is all about you. Well, you can enjoy personalised, targeted support that will make a huge difference to your grades. 😎

It takes the pressure off of you to structure your own revision sessions or teach yourself content you might have missed, as the tutor will do it for you! Having tutoring alongside your schoolwork is hugely beneficial, as it gives you opportunities to boost your learning and ask questions without fear of judgement. 

For example, let’s say you’re struggling to understand what’s going on in Macbeth and feel scared to ask your teacher in class. You can bring that to your tutor and they will be more than happy to tell you all about it. You don’t understand the difference between a metaphor and a simile? Your tutor does and will be thrilled to be able to teach you the answer in your next session. It’s that easy! 😳

A tutor can also mark your work and give you specific feedback on it! Unlike in a teacher-student relationship, where you hand in homework and then receive a grade, a tutor will be willing to enter into a dialogue with you about the specificities of your work and give you detailed feedback.

What are the Benefits of a Remote GCSE English Tutor?

A remote tutor does their tutoring in an “online classroom” using video calls, rather than meeting you in person. It’s great to have a tutor online, as it’s more flexible and convenient.

Some benefits of online tutoring include: cutting down transportation costs, saving time, flexibility and convenience. It’s easy to slot in remote tutoring around your study schedule. Read more about the benefits of online tutoring here.

Learning at Your Own Pace

Other benefits of online tutors include being able to learn at your own pace. As there are no other students in your session, there is no pressure to keep up with them or make adjustments for things they don’t understand. You can go through content as quickly or slowly as you need to. 

Tutors from All Around the World

As online tutoring is not limited by postcodes like home tutors are, you are able to receive help from the very best tutors in the field, regardless of how far apart you live! This is great for school students, as it means you don’t need to settle for a tutor nearby who doesn’t quite meet your needs or you don’t get along with. As most online tutors are university students, they are younger and more able to relate to your situation than older tutors are. They themselves were in the same position as you not so long ago, so they can empathise with all the stresses of taking exams, as well as share their own experiences to help you learn.

Independent Learning

Tutoring also allows you to be more independent in your learning, as you and your tutor discuss together your academic needs and how you can improve. At school, it’s easy just to go with the flow of the class, but in your tutoring sessions, you are the centre of attention, allowing you to take control of your studies and maybe even find a way to enjoy them!

More Fun

Many students even find online learning to be more fun and accessible than in-person tutoring. Online tutors have all the innovations of the internet at their fingertips and can use this to their advantage when teaching. They make sure that their lessons are as enjoyable and educational as possible. Learning doesn’t have to be boring! 

Where Can You Find the Best English GCSE Tutors?

Meeting and starting with a new English tutor can feel daunting, but it doesn’t have to be! Many students don’t know how to find an English tutor, or whether to use an online classroom or meet them in person. These decisions can seem difficult if you don’t know where to start. 

Best Online Tutoring Platforms

The best way to find a tutor is to use an online tutoring platform. It’s the safest and most convenient way!

Before starting your sessions, you can meet your GCSE English tutor online, to make sure that you get along and that they can meet all of your needs. These first meetings are normally free and are a great opportunity to discuss what you’d like to work on with your tutor. You can discuss the study plan and make sure it works for you.

So, you might be asking yourself what qualities you should be looking for in a good English tutor. Our recommendation would be someone who is passionate about their subject, organised, patient, able to explain themselves clearly and effectively, and gives lots of positive encouragement, as well as constructive feedback. 

Check out one of the most demanded and skilled tutors for GCSE English – Rueben from the University College London (UCL)

Rueben has helped numerous GCSE students achieve their grades. He’s passionate about teaching and can tailor his lessons to any student. He can explain complex topics in easy-to-understand ways. Students love preparing for exams with him. Rueben can even mentor you with university applications!

Check out his tips on how to crack applications to prestigious universities!

Why Edumentors?

Edumentors’ team is passionate about learning and wants to help students to do the very best that they can! They only employ tutors from the best UK universities, who are passionate about teaching and making a difference in their student’s lives. They understand that every student is different, and Edumentors’ tutors offer personalised, targeted tutoring to help them improve in all areas and achieve the best possible grades. 

These tutors are not just academic supporters, but also role models and mentors to their tutees. Being university students, they are in the unique position of being able to relate to their tutees’ situations as GCSE students, while also inspiring them to pursue higher education.

Tutors shouldn’t be teachers, but instead somewhere in between a teacher and a friend. Someone the tutee respects and look up to, but doesn’t feel as intimidated or restricted as they would with a teacher. In this friendly, productive environment, students flourish and can learn to like – or even love – a subject they previously found challenging. 


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