Starting their GCSEs can be a very daunting experience for teenagers and yet strangely liberating at the same time. They get to drop all, well some, of the lessons that don’t really interest them any more and have the opportunity to choose subjects that are completely new to them, like media or business studies.
My twins are about to begin their GCSEs and before we went out and did the usual back to school shop I sat down and made a list of what I deemed the essentials for starting GCSEs. I wanted them to be properly kitted out with everything they would need right from the off so they can get themselves into a comfortable school/homework rhythm before they even got close to the actual exams.
Last year I posted my Top 10 Essentials for Starting Secondary School and all these things are still needed, so feel free to check out that post to make sure you have everything. This post contains all the extra stuff I feel are necessary for them to be prepared for these important years ahead and I thought I would share them with you.
A Good Lunch Box To make sure their bodies and minds are active it is especially important that they eat well. A good lunch box with a sturdy lid will mean they can pack everything they need, for snacks as well as a healthy lunch to keep them going. This Sistema Lunch box* is great as it has decent sized compartments so no need to worry about soggy/squashed sanwiches 🙂
A way to express their feelings Teenagers, especially of the female variety, seem to get caught up in a lot of strife and are often filled with angst. A journal is a great way to give them a way to express their feelings and self doubts but sometimes they can concentrate only on the bad and forget to note all the wonderful and funny things. The Rant and Rave book* is a light hearted journal with a twist, it is two sided and gives kids the opportunity to think about the good as well as the bad things about school.
A USB stick A lot of homework is now done on the computer, at least once a week someone in the house needs to make a power point presentation, and they then need to be able to take this work back and forth between home and school. A USB stick is a must and these little minions USB sticks* are so darn cute they are sure to crack a smile when they use it, even if they have hours of homework ahead of them!
Clothes Labels You would think by the time they were doing their GCSEs that teenagers would be able to not lose anything and everything they take to school. I’m sorry to burst your bubble but I’m afraid they are just as bad, if not worse, than the little kids! This nifty little label maker from Brother holds cartridges that are filled with different tape depending on what you want to label, from clothing labels, to books, to well pretty much anything! It at least gives them a fighting chance of bringing home the right jumper!
A drinks bottle Keeping hydrated is really important if they want to stay alert during lessons and vital if they are taking GCSE PE as my two are. This Brita Fill&Go bottle* is not only large enough for their needs, but also has a filter to make sure that whenever they fill it up the water is pure, clean and tasting fresh. Putting it in the fridge overnight will keep it nice and cool too!
Lever Arch folders The girls were told by a friend, who has just finished her GCSEs, that they should invest in lever arch folders for each subject, especially the core subjects like English, Welsh etc. I guess there will be many essays and handouts over the next two years that will all need to be kept safe in one place. These ones from The Works are only £1.50 so I will definitely be stocking up!
Revision guides I remember how hard it was to know how to break down the masses of information that we were being taught into manageable chunks. A good revision guide does so much of that work it can really help teens learn just the important bits. Amazon has a really good range and I will also be looking at getting some Welsh language ones from the WJEC website as trying to translate between two languages at the same time as trying to revise really doesn’t help, believe me I’ve been there!
Index cards Again to help them retain information I think writing things down really helps, well it does for me anyway. These ringbound index cards are really handy to jot down the really important bits of information and the fact they are joined up means they won’t be losing them everywhere! I think I will be getting them one per subject to keep everything all organised nicely.
So these are my essentials for starting GCSEs what would you add to this list?
***Disclaimer: I was sent the products marked with a * to review before choosing to add them to this list and all thoughts are honest and my own***