Most parents of teens (and teens themselves) are looking for extra online resources for GCSE revision and learning right now. It’s been a weird old time for all of us, of course, but for those studying for their exams it’s been doubly difficult. Because our exam system is sset to a very rigid structure; it’s a simple system, which has been worked out over decades to create the best results for the overall population.
But of course, our teenagers are not the ‘general population’. they’re ours. individuals, unique, and they really don’t all work the same way.
in normal times, having a teacher over a two year course is enough for the basics – but even then, finding online resources for GCSE revision and learning support is a help for certain sections.
In a global pandemic, those online resources can make or break a student.
Because not every home is set up for a school day on the computer. And not every student can settle into learning via the Zoom classes.
But fear not! Because I’ve actually been home educating teenagers through GCSEs and A level exams for a few years now – and yes, they’re successful (our eldest is 22, works in the tech industry and has just landed his first management role. He did his GCSEs at home, and then re-entered school for 6th form)!
So whether your kids are back in school and floundering with lost knowledge, sailing along but aiming to pep up their grade, or just starting down the exam route and you’re looking to widen their knowledge, here’s our round up of the best online resources for GCSE revision and learning support (and A levels too).
• YouTube – free online GCSE resources
I know, I know. But trust me – YouTube is genuinely the parent of a teenager’s friend. Whatever your teen is stuck on, or revising, just head to youTube and search for it, with ‘GCSE’ or ‘A Level’ on the end.
Search for ‘An Inspector Calls’ and you’ll get clips of the movie, and amateur theatre productions. Which are potentially handy. But search ‘An Inspector Calls GCSE’ and look at the results.
There’s ‘top set analysis’, there’s a rundown of important quotes, there’s two minute revision bursts, there’s a model answer run through… so useful.
• Seneca – totally free online GCSE course
Seneca is the backbone of most Home Educating families free exam resources. Over 4,500,000 students use Seneca to learn – it’s not just GCSEs, you can use Senecea for KS2, KS3, GCSE & A Level. And it’s free!
No matter what other resources my teens are using, Seneca is always there in the background. There are almost 450 free GCSE subjects – and for just £5 a month you can access all 1,000 subjects.
The content is all directly curriculum based, and aimed solely at getting your kids through their exams. Sign up as a parent, and you can connect to your child’s account to monitor their progress.
• Online Learning & Tutor Portals
No matter how motivated and driven your teen is (or, more often, isn’t – let’s keep it real), there’s just no replacement for a ‘real’ teacher providing guidance advice and feedback.
And that’s where the online learning portals step in: usually cheaper than a local home tutor, always well qualified, with the benefits of a large company to back them up. The best (we personally use ICS Learn) work with the main exam boards, though they may offer iGCSE rather than the GCSE standard in schools, and they combine traditional curriculum content with online classes and real tutor feedback, plus past papers to practice. They can even provide mocks.
They’re not free – but if you’re sticking with Home Education, or need a stroing tutor back up to help your child, this is the way to go.
• Stairway for STEM subjects
If your child needs a little nudge in the Maths and Science department, then Stairway is a go-to free resource.
It’s not a full course study, but as a revisiuon aid, topic refresher, or help with particularly tricky concept, it’s a marvel. Small micro-lessons, quick quizzes and simple, engaging content. It’s a win from us.
• History Chappy
Yes, obviously, it’s just History. But there’s nothing wrong with being a specialist – and that’s exactly what the History Chappy is.
Excellent toolkits, tutorials, and quizzes – everything you need to gain that extra grade.
• BBC Bitesize
It’s been around seemingly forever – but don’t dismiss it, because BBC Bitesize is properly excellent.
Exactly as it says on the tin, it’s bite-sized chunks of help, perfect for a teen brain to rapidly digest and engage with. The site is bright and clean, the graphics catch the interest (no groaning from my teens on the site design, so that’s a win for a start), and it’s not just topic content; there’s a library of helpful tips and tricks on revision techniques, exam prep and the like.
If you’re still struggling with the whole concept of hone learning, then take a look at our tips on stress-free homeschooling – even when the kids go back to school these will remain relevant and helpful throughout their learning. And if you’re in exam season, then our Top 10 (Real Genuine Science-backed) Study Tips For Revising might well be of some use.