Tutoring a candidate to resit GCSE and A-level exams

by Emily

The news that a resit is necessary is not something any pupil or tutor likes to hear and the preparation for the second attempt can be as much psychological as academic. If one of your pupils has to resit GCSEs or A-levels this winter, how can you help them achieve their full potential?

A student's confidence can be knocked by the need to resit exams, so it is important that you work with them to understand it as a second opportunity to show off their full potential. Maybe there were extenuating circumstances last time, or maybe they were simply under-prepared - either way the resit is a brand new situation, and the previous experience can only help to improve the pupil's chances of reaching their highest possible grade the next time.

If it is possible to get hold of the previous paper, this is obviously a great asset. However, in most cases this will be very difficult, so your starting place should be a frank discussion with the student about their previous exam experience. What do they think they did well on? Where did they struggle? Try to ascertain if their problems stem from academic weak points, or a problem with exam technique, as this will tell you where your focus is to lie.

This conversation will form the basis of your tutoring plan up until the exam. Allow time to revise all key areas of the curriculum, but do allocate extra time for those areas of particular weakness. Throughout the study period your key task, beyond providing academic preparation, will be to motivate and inspire your student as they prepare to retake their GCSEs or A-levels.