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The beginning of KS4 can be both a daunting and exciting experience for students. Whether you are nervous about your GCSEs or looking forward to getting started, we have some tips to help bridge the gap between KS3 and KS4. 

And if you’re looking for support throughout your GCSE years, at Your Favourite Teacher, we offer online GCSE courses for English Language, English Literature, Maths and Science. All courses include video lessons, practice worksheets, quizzes and much more.

To learn more about our platform and the features we have to offer, you can watch a guided walkthrough video.

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What is KS4?

KS4 stands for Key Stage 4 and refers to the years when students are studying for their GCSEs. It is a term that helps schools follow the correct national curriculum for a school year or age group. This can vary from school to school however.

What year do you start your GCSEs?

Typically, students start learning GCSE content for all subjects no later than the start of Year 10. However, studies have shown that 56% of students begin learning the GCSE curriculum for most of their subjects during Year 9. 

The decision is ultimately up to the school. But whether you begin learning GCSE content in Year 9 or Year 10, rest assured that you will be more than prepared either way. 

KS3 to KS4 Transition tips

We understand that starting your GCSEs can be a daunting experience, especially when you’re not sure what to expect. So, here are some tips to prepare you for KS4:

1. Don’t panic!
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Often, a lot of students think that there will be a massive jump in difficulty from KS3 to KS4. This is not the case! It’s true that as you progress through your GCSE subjects, the content might be more challenging than what you’ve come across in KS3 at times. 

However, you will not be thrown into the deep end. If you have studied the subject in KS3, all you’ll be doing is building upon what you already know!

You might also think you’re going to be swamped with homework and revision. Admittedly, you might find that you get more homework, but this is usually a gradual process. Our top tip is to complete your homework on the day you receive it, as this will help you stay on top of it. Download our free homework planner to help stay on top of it all. 

2. Engage in your learning and focus on understanding new topics
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You won’t start your GCSE years being exam-ready, which is entirely normal. Instead, the main focus for starting KS4 will be digesting all the new topics that you’ll be introduced to. This means you should try your best to focus in your lessons and ask questions when you need to.

By taking the time to understand the content, you’ll spend less time having to catch up when GCSE exams do come around, and revising will be so much easier.

3. Make useful notes or revision materials
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Some students prefer to have a structured approach to their GCSE revision materials closer to exam time, and that’s okay. It is not essential to start making revision materials so early on (although if you’re keen to, then that’s great!). 

However, one thing you can do that will really help you later on is to make useful notes during lessons. Then, when you do start revising and making your revision materials, you’ll have everything you need in one place. It’s never too early to be organised during KS4! 

4. Revise for mini-assessments and end of topic exams
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One way that you will be tested throughout your GCSEs is through classroom assessments. For example, you might have a small assessment after finishing a topic. This is just so you and your teachers know exactly where you’re up to. 

Our top tip is to always revise for these mini-assessments. Though you might not think they are important, they will help you to identify gaps in your knowledge so you can go over what you don’t know. Additionally, it’s great to test out different revision methods, so you can learn how you revise best.

5. Enjoy your time at school!
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An important thing to remember is that you are in your last years of secondary school when you reach KS4. Although you need to put in the work to achieve the grades you want, you should also enjoy your time at school. 

Keep up with extra-curricular activities, play sports or spend time with friends. Most students say that KS4 flies by, so make sure you have a healthy balance of work and free-time throughout your GCSE years.

Have a smooth transition into KS4 with Your Favourite Teacher

Your Favourite Teacher can not only help your transition into KS4, but will be there throughout your GCSEs to help you learn and revise. 

We offer GCSE Maths, English Language, English Literature and Science courses which are suitable for Year 9 to Year 11 students. You can sign up for a free trial and start learning today. Or you can watch our guided walkthrough video to explore our features and ensure that you make the most of your subscription! Watch Video Now