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How to Prepare for GCSEs in Year 11

Our first post is about legitimately enjoying year 11. There a lot of stuff going on this year and this advice is based on research which is cross-checked with my own experience and learnings. I'll try to not get you in trouble...

Thriving teens

1. Self-Esteem, Self-Esteem, Self-Esteem

100% number one on this list. Self-esteem is the closest thing to magic I've seen (besides digital technology - we're literally are sending videos of ourselves live across the world here people!). Investing your time into reading about what this is and practising one new technique per week will repay you 1000x, no exaggeration. In fact, under exaggeration.

Self-esteem is knowing that 'you are enough'. There's a lot more to it, but that's the gist.

Try this today: Throughout your day, in every circumstance you find yourself in, tell yourself over and over in your mind that 'I am enough as I am', and make yourself believe it... Because you are enough, who defines what enough is? Nobody but you.

Notice how differently you react, how much calmer you are, how much happier you are.

My own post has inspired me, I shall certainly be writing a post about becoming high self-esteem in the near future.

2. Spend Thirty Minutes Thinking About the Next Few Years

I'm not gonna give you the old school - 'think about your future', with no context. This is a practical blog post with tangible actions that make a difference.

So this year you decide two key career related things:

  1. Whether you go to college

  2. Which college you go to

Let's do a couple of things to plan for each of these correctly, maybe write it down, what's important is that you make your mind think about it.

1. Whether you go to college

With regards to college vs apprenticeship, there's no correct answer here. Both routes enhance your learning, career prospects and life.

I took the college, university, and master's degree route; a good friend took the apprenticeship route. We found that he came into money faster than I did, but didn't have the university experience that I did, but we both grew in our own ways, we both ended up doing well, in completely different fields than what we imagined, it's more down to the person to determine how well you do. With apprenticeships of course, you are put in a workplace, so I think it's a brave decision, whereas with college you stay in the classroom with people the same age. It depends on which you prefer!

2. Which college you go to

I don't know about this one, it depends on your area and if you want to stay with your friend group or make new friends, but what's important is that good GCSE grades are your ticket to choose which college you go to.

The situation you want to avoid is wanting to stay with friends, having them all want to go to the Jokes College, and you not having the grades to!

3. GCSEs are Pretty Important

I'm not going to labour this point because I'm sure it's been drilled into you already. I'll mention it because my co-founder Paolo is a tutor and he'll never agree to publish the article without this section...

The point is, they are very doable, it's a good opportunity to practice some self-discipline. I don't

mean that to come off in a snarky way; I mean it in the sense of - self-discipline is something that you do internally, not for anybody else, and it's a practice that defines every successful and happy person, so you might as well start early.

Example: How disciplined do you think Cristiano Ronaldo is? The answer is 'very', you can bet if he was doing his GCSEs knowing what he knows now, he'd be spending at least 3 hours per day studying and revising.

Ronaldo is an extreme example, you don't need to do that much to do well, but it is a case of the more you revise, the better you do.

There are a variety of tools available to you nowadays to make this as pleasant an experience as possible, for example, BBC Bitesize for your text and learning, and RevisePal for your revising and quizzes. You can track your progression and readiness on RevisePal to see how much confidence you should have.

There you go Paolo, that means no 'WTF!?' texts later today. And apologies for the football references to non-football fans.

So, grab your tools, and you're ready to go for GCSEs.

4. Get Some Sleep

The stats I've read on this are mad, a quick google will show you them, but I'm not here to scare you, but to tell you, it's okay.

Personally, my scale of performance varies like so:

  • Between 1-5 hours sleep: I'm gonna crash at about 2pm, and my brain will be dopey as hell before them

  • Between 5-8 hours sleep: It's okay, won't be at my best, but I probably live most of my life in this range, and its pretty good!

  • 8 hours plus: Wow, this is clarity, it doesn't happen too often, but when it does, it's gonna be a great day, I'm on fire throughout.

So its up to you, but you'll enjoy it more, the more you sleep. Despite the temptations on our phones, at some point at night you call it quits, why not just move it a few hours forward and bounce into tomorrow.

5. Read

I didn't pick this up until way after my GCSEs, but I wish I had earlier. Life game-changer. Some benefits I found from reading:

  1. You become more interesting, because you know more stuff about interesting topics

  2. You become more social, because you want to express your learnings to people

  3. You find your path. You quickly see what bores you and what interests you, then you naturally go towards books that interest you, and the path to fulfilment because clearer, faster

Unfortunately, reading is different to watching videos and scrolling, whereas reading short articles is supplementary to reading books. Reading puts things at your own pace for you to consider, to understand, to develop your brain and personality.

I'm putting a bunch of recommended books at the bottom of this article, if you get through about 4 of them this year, you will be strutting into 2022 as a thoroughly interesting person.


Key Takeaways

  1. Do the self-esteem practice from section one

  2. Stop and consider your next year for 30 mins

  3. Get your tools ready to make your GCSEs easy

  4. Switch off at a decent time

  5. Start a book

Bon voyage and please share this article you have enjoyed it!


Recommended reading

The Richest Man in Babylon ~ George Clason

Outliers: The Story of Success ~ Malcolm Gladwell

Mastery ~ Robert Greene

The Power of Habit ~ Charles Duhigg

How to Raise Your Self Esteem ~ Nathaniel Brandon

The Seed ~ Jon Gordon

Any books on the topic of your choice!


How to get started

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