What to Expect in Year 11

Are you starting Year 11? You're already halfway through your GCSE studies, so you are familiar with the work, but what can you expect at school this year?



What to Expect in Year 11

This is a big year for you, and it's easy to feel overwhelmed and daunted at the prospect of what lies at the end of your Year 11 studies. So, what can you actually expect in Year 11? Here, I talk you through three main things, as well as some of the more common questions I'm asked about studying for GCSEs.

1. Exams, Exams, Exams!

Obviously, this is not news to you! You're well aware that you'll be sitting your GCSEs next summer. However, before that, you'll also have one, or even two more sets of exams, in the form of mocks, as well as several smaller tests throughout the year.

How to cope with this

Mocks are the nearest thing you'll get to experiencing the real thing. It's a great learning opportunity to see how you cope under pressure, how you revise and what works and doesn't work for you. This is your chance to be prepared.

2. Greater Intensity

You will have noticed the increase in workload when you made the change from Year 9 to Year 10. However, now you're in Year 11, expect the intensity to, at the very least, stay the same, but more likely it will increase even more.

How to cope with this

Expect it. Start as you mean to go on. If you have the right mindset and are prepared for an intensive year of work, you're more likely to deal with any pressures.

3. Time will go FAST!

We talk about the ‘school year', but really, it's only nine months. Three quarters of a year. And that time will go fast! Before you know it, you'll be about to sit your exams and it will all be over!

How to cope with this

You need to be willing to make the most of every day. If you are consistent in your approach to learning, including your homework and revision, you'll make the most of every minute and will feel more prepared when the time comes.

Common Questions about Year 11

  • How can I make the most of my classes? You need to turn up ready to learn. This means having not just the right attitude to your lessons, but also the right equipment, books and so on. Be prepared to learn and don't be afraid to ask your teachers questions or for clarification on anything you're not sure about.
  • How much revision time should I be doing? At the start of Year 11, homework should be your priority, with any remaining planned study time spent on revision (at least five minutes per day to begin with). As the year progresses, you'll find the balance between homework and revision begins to swing gradually the other way, so by March or April most of your study time will be spent on revision, with very little homework. To create and get into a good study routine, take a look at the weekly routine of a straight-A student.
  • What should I do if I've missed lesson time? Should I go back and re-learn the subjects? If you've had time off school, perhaps through illness, you might be worried about catching up. For subjects such as maths, it's a good idea to go back and make sure you have a good foundational understanding, as you won't be able to work out more complex problems without that knowledge. For subjects such as history or geography, it's not as important to know what was taught in Years 7, 8, and 9, so concentrate on what you are actually being taught in your GCSE studies.
  • What's the best approach to take towards Science? Try breaking the subjects down into bite-sized chunks, and focus on your weakest areas first by using a ‘Red-Amber-Green' system. This will help build your knowledge, and you will become more confident if you can tackle the harder things first.
  • Can I have my phone with me when I study? Honestly? No! Phones are a huge distraction when studying. However, you can use the timer on your phone to signal when it's time to take a break – just leave it on the other side of the room while you work.

Hopefully these tips will give you more insight into what to expect in Year 11. Best of luck!


Back to School


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This post was originally published as a Facebook livestream. You can view it on Facebook here.

Only going into year 10? Find out what you can expect from the first year of your GCSE studies here.

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