How To Sit GCSE Exams Privately: Easy-to-Follow Guide (2024)

How To Sit GCSE Exams Privately: Easy-to-Follow Guide (2024)

September 28, 2023 | 7months | Exams

Introduction

What are GCSE exams? GCSEs are normally taken by students in the UK when they reach Year 11, after two years of preparation. However, aspirants can decide to sit for these exams in other ways, by enrolling in private courses offering different studying methods and academic structures. Let’s see how sitting GCSEs privately works.

Can I take a GCSE privately? Potential candidates

GCSEs can be taken in the traditional way, which implies studying at schools in group classes, or privately, by enrolling in independent academies that offer innovative studying methods. Students in the UK normally prepare for GCSEs the traditional way, since they can simply continue studying at the same school with the same classmates, but other groups of people may find private I/GCSEs more convenient. This is the case for homeschooled students, adults and foreign students. All of whom can benefit from preparing for I/GCSE exams at CloudLearn and other independent platforms.

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Why sit GCSE exams privately (little-known benefits)

Different academies offer their own learning methods, but at CloudLearn, we believe the most convenient way of studying I/GCSE is online, with virtual materials, and an individual approach, which makes the process flexible and customisable. Students can enrol in as many courses as they wish, studying at their own pace, and take advantage of unlimited tutor support when required.

The main benefits of online preparation are:

  • Studying at your own pace: All materials are available online from the moment you enrol in the course. This allows you to organise your own study schedule and revise topics as much as you need.
  • Save on commuting and resources: Having digital material in the cloud enables you to study from home or anywhere you want, avoiding spending money on commuting and physical materials since all you have to do is access the platform from any device.
  • Unlimited tutoring support: CloudLearn assigns each student a tutor they can contact whenever they need, without having to pay an additional fee.

How much does it cost to do GCSEs privately?

The price for I/GCSE exams is similar, depending on the examination board that will assess them. Five different boards offer this type of exam, each with its own pricing structure. However, the total price may vary depending on the costs charged by examination centres and administrative fees. At CloudLearn, exam fees are always £260 or £390, depending on the composition of the exam, and this price covers all extra expenses. Regarding preparation courses, prices vary greatly depending on the academy where you are studying. At CloudLearn, the normal cost for I/GCSE courses is £310, but this number can be reduced by accessing discounts and enrolling on several courses at once.

Step 1: Start the process

After you have decided you want to prepare for GCSEs privately, there are a few formal steps you need to follow:

Determine how many subjects you’d like to take

At CloudLearn, you can choose between Biology, Business, Chemistry, English, Geography, History, Maths, Physics, Psychology, Science, and Sociology. Students at schools usually take an average of 9 subjects, and their decision depends on their future goals. For instance, different universities require passing specific GCSEs with a minimum grade to access certain courses. The most commonly required subjects are Maths, English and Science, almost considered mandatory in traditional academies. To complete the set of exams you want to sit for, we highly recommend researching requirements from those universities, companies or apprenticeships you want to apply for.

Research available exam centres

Keep in mind that, although GCSE courses can be taken online, exams must be taken at one of the official exam centres, as you would do if you were studying at a traditional institution. Check the private I/GCSE exam centres near you and verify that they accept private candidates, or choose one of CloudLearn’s. When the time comes to book your place, contact CloudLearn to do the paperwork for you and skip the hassle involved. You will simply receive an online form to fill out and an email with what you need to prepare.

Register as a private candidate and pay the fees

Once you have covered most of the syllabus in our course, you have to book your exam and confirm when you will sit for it. We recommend booking your exam at least six months ahead of time. There are two different ways to book your exam: on your own or through the CloudLearn platform. If you decide to book your exam with our help, we will make it easier by organising all the necessary arrangements for you.

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Step 2: How to be successful at GCSE taken privately: Best recommendations and tips

While it is true that studying for exams independently has lots of benefits, it also implies being responsible and organised to achieve your desired results. As there is no established study schedule and nobody taking you through the syllabus, you have the flexibility to create a study plan that quickly adapts to your needs.

Create a study plan

As soon as you know what time of year you are sitting for the exam, create a study plan to determine how many hours per week you need to study to reach the average 120 hours required per exam. Sum up 120 hours per subject, and divide that total by the number of weeks you have left until the day of the exam. This way, you’ll know how many weekly hours you need to dedicate to studying. Having this clear, have a look at the syllabus on CloudPort (CloudLearn’s e-learning platform), and create a timeline with the topics included to separate them evenly over the time available, including regular mock exams and revision checkpoints to make sure to have a clear understanding of all topics to move on to new ones.

Gather study materials

Although CloudPort contains all the materials necessary to prepare for I/GCSEs, some students may want to consult extra material to have different points of view to analyse. These materials can be physical or digital, free or paid. Everything is useful! The most helpful resources can be those found on Edexcel’s website, as it contains past papers with corrections and marking schemes that can help you feel more confident about your skills and knowledge. You can even find YouTube vlogs from students and tutors who explain what the process went for them, to collect information not only on the topics but also on the examination process itself.

Set up a study space

CloudLearn allows students to study anywhere, expanding their possibilities to other locations. Using this to your advantage, create the perfect environment where your study routine can take place. Dedicate a part of your home to set up a desk with all the necessary materials, ideally in a silent, relaxing area where you have no distractions. If this is not possible, you can always visit your city’s library where other people are studying too, creating the perfect atmosphere to focus exclusively on the subject.

Get support from your platform

Distance-learning students have access to online platforms, such as CloudLearn’s CloudPort, which includes everything they need to succeed in their I/GCSEs. Not only can they access their digital materials, take online assessments but also contact their assigned tutors and their peers. Take advantage of all the tools available in the platform to get the most complete experience that will take you to guaranteed passing grades.

Revise regularly

The journey to cover all the topics in the syllabus can be long and intense. Even if our platform offers innovative methodologies and strategies to make this process easier, we recommend returning to previous topics for revision. This way, you can make sure you won’t have forgotten anything by the time you reach the day of the exam. Try different study techniques to make this process suitable to your needs. Some options include quizzes, flashcards, and mind maps, which can help you consolidate concepts when studying and later for revision. CloudLearn I/GCSE courses include lots of formative assessments which are completed as your work through your studies giving you lots of opportunity to measure your progress as you work towards your final exam.

Develop different techniques for every exam

Different types of exams require different problem-solving strategies. It’s not the same to choose answers on a multiple-choice quiz as developing an idea in an essay or open questions. The best way to tackle all these evaluation methodologies is to practise and gain experience in how to solve each of these exams more efficiently. Take the last days before the exam to work on mock exams and find your weaker points: work on writing with fluency and conciseness, detect the most frequently evaluated topics and contact your assigned tutor to further improve your skills. You will submit Mock Exams at the end of the course, which are tutor-marked, and you will be given feedback on your submission. These will inform your readiness to sit the actual exam.

Practice with past papers

Practising with past papers is an invaluable method for exam preparation. Familiarising yourself with the structure and style of questions beforehand can significantly boost your confidence. You can access Edexcel’s website and student forums to collect past exams and use them as mock exams for further practice.

Join a study group or an online community

Studying privately does not mean you have to be entirely isolated. Joining a study group or an online community can provide you with varying perspectives, help in understanding complex topics, and offer motivation during challenging times. CloudLearn facilitates this by providing group chats where students can interact, share resources, and even organise group revision sessions, but you can always visit other online forums or your local public library to share experiences with external students who are also preparing for I/GCSEs.

Final tip: take care of your well-being

It's essential to remember that your physical and mental well-being is just as critical as your study routine. Make sure you maintain a balanced diet, get enough sleep, and incorporate physical activity into your routine. This not only ensures you stay healthy but also significantly boost cognitive functions, improving memory retention and understanding thanks to endorphin release. Especially near the day of the exam, use meditation strategies to reduce stress, avoid eating junk food or anything that could make you feel sick, and try your best to sleep enough at night, which will lead to optimal conditions for the big day.

Step 3: Plan your exam day

Proper planning can make your exam day a lot smoother:

  • Updates: In the last few days before the exam, look out for news from the examination board and centre to make sure there are no changes in schedule or requirements.
  • Arrival: Make sure you arrive at the exam centre with ample time to spare. Plan the route to the venue beforehand and make sure you are well organised.
  • Essentials: Bring all the necessary items: your ID, exam slip, multiple pens, and any other required equipment. We recommend preparing everything at least the day before to avoid forgetting any important documentation. When you make your exam booking, you will receive login details for the Exam Portal. This is sent by the exam centre you have chosen and contains all the information you will need, including exam timetables, addresses and joining instructions.
  • Mindset: Stay calm. Trust your knowledge and all the efforts you have made that led to this day.

Step 4: Post-exam review

After you’ve finished the exam:

  • Self-reflection: Consider what went well and what didn’t. It's a learning process, and all experiences will help you prepare for the future.
  • Stay Updated: Keep an eye out for when results are released. You will be notified by email prompting you to access your grades on the Exam Portal (where you get your timetable and joining instructions.
  • Consider the Next Steps: Regardless of the result, there's always a path forward, whether it's further education or other opportunities. Remember that, if the results were not what you expected, you can always apply for I/GCSE resits.

Why choose private GCSE exams: distance learning vs. traditional institutes

Choosing between online e-learning and traditional institutes depends largely on personal preferences and circumstances:

  • Flexibility: Private I/GCSE exams through platforms like CloudLearn offer unparalleled flexibility. You can learn at your own pace and on your own time, wherever you are, on any device.
  • Cost: Often, remote learning can be more cost-effective, removing commuting and material expenses and often offering more competitive course fees than other private institutions.
  • Support: With platforms like CloudLearn, students can access fully mapped syllabus resources, get personal tutor support, and connect with peers in ways not possible in larger, traditional classroom settings.
  • Environment: Some people thrive better in a self-paced, quiet environment rather than a classroom. For them, distance learning can provide the optimal setting to succeed.
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Conclusion

Opting to take I/GCSE exams privately presents an attractive alternative to the traditional classroom setting, especially with platforms like CloudLearn providing comprehensive support and resources. Whether you're a homeschooled student, an adult learner, or someone seeking flexibility, taking this path could be a game-changer in your academic journey. Dive into the world of private I/GCSE exams and discover the benefits it holds for you!

FAQs

Can you do a GCSE by yourself?

Yes, I/GCSEs can be taken through an educational institution or privately. The best option is enrolling in online courses, such as CloudLearn’s, that allow you to study from anywhere, at your own pace, while having a set-up syllabus and an assigned tutor to guide you through it.

Are all subjects available for private GCSE candidates?

Available subjects for private candidates depend on the institution’s offer. At CloudLearn, students can choose among the most popular and requested subjects, which are Biology, Business, Chemistry, English, Geography, History, Maths, Physics, Psychology, Science, and Sociology.

What are the associated costs of taking GCSEs privately?

Sitting for I/GCSEs privately implies paying for preparation courses, exam fees, examination centre expenses and other administrative costs that depend on the academy you choose. At CloudLearn, there are only two expenses you need to pay for, that compile all these costs to make the process easier: course fees (including resources, tutoring sessions and access our online platform), and fees, which you can pay on your own, or with our help, which also includes administrative processes regarding enrolling, exam centre allocation and collection of necessary documentation.

Is there a deadline for private GCSE exam registration?

We recommend students to book their exams at least six months in advance to guarantee themselves a place and avoid late booking fees. However, students can enrol as late as one week before the exam dates. Keep in mind that, if you book exams less than two months away from this deadline, late fees are applicable.

What happens if I miss my GCSE exam date?

The following steps after missing an I/GCSE date depend on the reason why you couldn’t attend. If you have an important reason, such as being ill or having an emergency, you can talk to your exam centre, who will contact the examination board and find a suitable solution. In case you overslept or misunderstood exam schedules, you will have to wait until the next opportunity to sit for the exam again. Take this as an extra opportunity to continue revising and get even better grades next time.

Is there any age restriction for sitting GCSE exams privately?

Absolutely not. Sitting for private I/GCSEs is the most flexible option, as it allows homeschooled students, adult learners, re-sitters and also traditional students to sit for exams in equality of conditions.

How hard is it to get a GCSE?

I/GCSEs can be challenging, as they require a long-time commitment to studying and usually a lot of pressure is put on the student. However, different alternatives can make this journey friendlier for students. Choose CloudLearn for the most flexible experience studying at your own pace, anywhere you are, with the help of individual tutors and innovative study resources. You can also decide how you break up those 120 hours of recommended study. Some students can prepare in 2-3 months, whilst others take 1-2 years. CloudLearn offers the flexibility to fit GCSE study around our ever-increasingly busy life schedules.

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