When are the summer exams, or “am I on schedule”?

One of the most common questions that I’m asked is “am I on schedule” or “am I behind your other students?”  Hopefully, this post will go some way to answering these questions.

Exam timetables have been published for a long time

Firstly, exam timetables for Summer 2017 are already online.  I’ve put links for the different exam boards in the footer. [1. AQA GCSE, AQA GCE, Edexcel GCSE, Edexcel GCE, OCR GCSE, OCR GCE.]  Indeed, exam timetables for Summer 2018 will be finalized in February, so there really is no excuse for not knowing when your exams are well ahead of time.

Pacing and scheduling is a very individual problem.

Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to say how long something should take a person: we’re all very different, and so it will naturally take us all a different amount of time to learn new things.  As a rule of thumb, though, you should not be learning anything new after Easter.

This is easier to specify for A-levels that GCSEs, as most modern A-levels still have leftovers of the modular structure, even though modular examinations have now gone.

It’s very simple to split the course up into sections, and make sure you’ve completed each section in a given time.  For example, for A-level Physics:

Autumn Term AS Spring Term AS Autumn Term A2 Spring Term A2
(based on AQA)
Particles and QM
SHM and Circular Motion

Nuclear Physics
Thermal Physics

It’s slightly harder to split up A-level Maths, as you need to have three slots rather than two, however it is still possible:

Autumn Term AS Spring Term AS Autumn Term A2 Spring Term A2
(based on Edexcel)
Core 1

Core 2

Core 2
(trigonometry)Statistics 1
Core 3
Mechanics 1
(equations of motion)

Mechanics 1

Core 4

Of course, there are other ways to split the modules, these are only suggestions.

GCSEs are more challenging

GCSEs are more challenging to schedule, as they have never had a proper modular layout.  However. every exam board splits their syllabus up into topics, which should be evenly distributed throughout the year, so you should have no problems working out for yourself whether you’re ahead or behind.

When should I worry about being behind?

If, by Christmas, you’re more than a topic behind where you need to be to finish by Easter, you probably need to take some action, possibly including independent study, or talking to your tutor!

Hopefully, this is helpful to you all – post in the comments if you have any questions!