Exam information for parents of Year 2 A Level students at Shrewsbury Colleges Group.
This information is for parents of Year 2 A Level students.
As we are approaching the final revision period for A Level students, we would like to provide you with information that we hope will be useful in the context of this year's exams.
2023 A Levels - a very different experience from GCSE
A Level revision is always challenging, as the students need to revise work from the whole 2-year course in each of their subjects. We recognise that your daughter/son has the additional challenge that due to Covid they did not sit GCSE external exams in the same way.
Secondary schools tackled the TAGs (teacher-assessed grades) in slightly different ways and in most cases, students revised smaller 'chunks' of the GCSE syllabus and were tested at the end of a short, focused revision period. This is very different to an exam paper that tests knowledge from the whole of a 2-year A Level course.
We are aware that some Year 2 A Level students are feeling daunted by the amount of revision they need to do. They haven't had this volume of work to tackle in one go before and are therefore unsure how to approach their revision.
We would like to highlight ways we are supporting Year 2 students and suggest ways you may be able to help at home over Easter and in the lead-up to the final A Level exams. It is vital that all students establish a routine for revision and have a clear plan, so they feel prepared for each of their exams and allow enough time to revise the topics that appear on each paper.
We hope that this information will be useful and supportive to help all our students cope with their workload whilst also managing their own wellbeing through the exam period. We have included key dates for you at the end of the letter regarding exam timetables, study leave and results day.
Support available in college:
- College campuses are open over the Easter holidays so that students can revise in a quiet environment:
- The Learning Resource Centre (LRC) at English Bridge Campus will be open from Monday 3 April to Thursday 6 April inclusive and from Tuesday 11 to Friday 14 April inclusive from 8:30am until 3:30pm.
- The LRC at Welsh Bridge Campus will be open from Monday 3 to Thursday 6 April only from 8:30am until 3.30pm.
- Additional capacity for quiet supervised study will be available after Easter. These spaces will be open to all students, but some individuals will receive emails towards the end of the Easter break to ask them to attend specific sessions based on teacher recommendations.
- Subject specific support continues to be available on Tuesday and/or Thursday lunchtimes. Students can drop in or they may be directed to attend by their subject teachers in which case they should prioritise attending wherever possible.
- Students need to make sure they ask their teacher(s) for help to plug any gaps in their knowledge of specific topics. Teachers are expecting students to ask if they need help.
- Exam papers and mark schemes are available in all subjects. Students should check with their teacher that they have all the resources they need (on Teams, Moodle or on paper).
- Revision sessions are available throughout the exam period to provide a focus for each paper. Details will be shared by individual subject areas.
- Student support tutors are the first point of contact for general support with making a revision timetable, study skills, attendance, or other pastoral concerns.
- Learning mentors provide guided study sessions throughout the week. Students can ask their tutor for a referral if they feel this will help their revision.
- ‘Positive Experience Exam Activities’ workshops to help address exam nerves are already up and running, led by our Emotional Health and Well-Being Team. These drop-in sessions are open to anyone as follows:
- English Bridge Tuesdays and Thursdays in W201 from 12:10 – 12:30pm
- Welsh Bridge: Mondays in P116, Wednesdays in P207 from 12:10 – 12:30 pm
- If your daughter/son is feeling anxious around exams, or anything else during the exam period, they can call our Student Assistance Programme on 0800 028 3766 where a trained counsellor will discuss strategies to help manage any feelings of stress so that they can perform at their best.
- An additional source of help is the My Healthy Advantage App from Health Assured. As well as practical help students can sign up to a 4-week programme to help cope with pressure or follow the guides for sleep and meditation. Students can download My Healthy Advantage from the App Store or Google Play using the college code of MHA249996.
Support you can offer at home
- Discuss a revision plan with your daughter/son to ensure all subjects and topics are covered but also ensure there is time for relaxation and sufficient sleep.
- Encourage them to seek support from teachers, tutors, or exam workshops as needed.
- Discuss with your daughter/son how to approach negotiating reduced hours of part-time work with their employers, from now through until the end of the exam period – time invested in studying to secure higher grades and better progression opportunities will be worth more to them in the long-run than short-term wages in the next few weeks.
- Support their full attendance for all lessons in college up to May half term as well as final revision sessions during the exam period.
- Encourage a regular routine of sleep/getting up throughout the exam period - morning exams start early!
- Provide access to a quiet space to work and/or encourage students to come in full-time to college from Easter onwards to work in the LRC or supervised study areas during the day when they are not in lessons.
- Suggest that they print a copy of their exam timetable (see below) – stick this up somewhere at home so that you can provide appropriate reminders of the exam dates and times.
- Make sure transport to exams is planned and reliable.
- Individual student exam timetables will be available for students on ProPortal from Monday 17 April – these will include candidate numbers, rooms and seat numbers, access arrangements and will show details to resolve any clashes in exams.
- The process for downloading the timetable will work in the same way as for the mock exam week earlier in the year – instructions will be available through tutorial if students need reminders on how to do this.
- Normal lesson timetables continue through next half-term from Monday 17 April until Friday 26 May.
- Half-term is Monday 29 May until Friday 2 June with study leave for Year 2 A level / CTEC lessons beginning from Monday 5 June onwards – teachers are still available throughout this period for supporting students.
- Exams continue throughout much of June. The exam boards have collectively agreed Wednesday 28 June as the final national contingency date. In the case of significant national or local disruption they reserve the right to move the date of any exam at short notice and this is the last such date which they could use. All students must remain available until this date – absence due to a holiday will not be accepted by an exam board as a reason for missing a rearranged exam.
- A Level Results Day is Thursday 17 August – details will be sent out next term for how students will receive their results and the support available to them for progression queries after receiving their results.