3 Reasons Why GCSE Year 10 is the Make-or-Break Year

woman in yellow shirt writing on white paper

Points to be Covered:

  • Understanding the crucial role of Year 10 in academic success
  • How Year 10 impacts future educational choices and career prospects
  • Strategies and actionable tips for parents to support their teenagers in Year 10
  • Exploring the Five Keys to Success to supercharge Year 10


Hello, wonderful parents!

If you’re reading this post, chances are you’re concerned about your teenager’s academic performance as they navigate through GCSE Year 10. As an experienced academic performance coach with a background in teaching and heading sixth forms, I’m here to affirm that your concerns are entirely valid. Year 10 is not just another year; it’s a watershed moment that can significantly influence your teen’s educational trajectory. In this comprehensive blog post, we’ll explore why Year 10 is so pivotal, the impact it has on future opportunities, and actionable strategies you, as parents, can implement immediately.

1. Establishing Academic Momentum

Why It Matters:

The transition from Year 9 to Year 10 is often underestimated. What many don’t realise is that this jump signifies a shift in academic demands. Coursework intensifies, subjects dive deeper, and suddenly, there are GCSE exams to think about. Students who build strong academic habits in Year 10 set the tone for the rest of their educational journey.

Quick Wins for Parents:

  1. Set Up a Revision Timetable: Work with your teen to establish a revision timetable that covers all subjects and incorporates breaks. Remember, balance is crucial for avoiding exam fatigue.
  2. Incorporate Study Coaches: Ever thought about consulting a study coach? They can be invaluable in identifying gaps in understanding, setting academic goals, and keeping your teen accountable.
  3. Try the Pomodoro Technique: Breaking study sessions into smaller chunks can help maintain focus. Try 25-minute study intervals with 5-minute breaks in between.
  4. Use Flashcards for Memorising: Flashcards can be a great tool for quick revisions and memorising key concepts.

2. Influence on Subject Choices and A-Levels

Why It Matters:

The performance in Year 10 doesn’t just affect the here and now; it has a domino effect. A strong performance opens doors to preferred A-Level courses, which, in turn, has an impact on university choices and ultimately, career paths.

Quick Wins for Parents:

  1. Facilitate Career Discussions: Don’t shy away from discussing the future. Knowing what they want to be can help your teen make informed subject choices.
  2. Teacher Meetings: Maintain an open line of communication with your teen’s teachers. They can provide insights into your teen’s academic standing and areas that need improvement.
  3. Consider UCAS Personal Statements Early: Even though UCAS personal statements are a year or two away, reflecting on achievements and skills now can provide a head start.
  4. Exam Strategy: Help your teen build a strategy for tackling different types of questions in exams, from multiple-choice to essay formats.

3. Developing Core Skills for Future Success

Why It Matters:

I’ve always championed what I call the “Five Keys to Success” — organisation, independence, time management, mindset, and healthy habits. Year 10 is an ideal time to start honing these skills, which will be beneficial not just in academics but in life.

Quick Wins for Parents:

  1. Enroll in ‘Surviving to Thriving’: My hybrid coaching programme offers both modules and one-to-one sessions focusing on these core skills. Don’t just take my word for it; check out the testimonials from parents who’ve seen transformational changes in their teens.
  2. Weekly Check-ins: Establish a routine for weekly family meetings to discuss academic progress, address any challenges and celebrate the victories, no matter how small.
  3. Implement Healthy Habits: Encourage regular exercise, adequate sleep, and balanced nutrition. These aren’t just buzzwords; they significantly affect academic performance.
  4. Time Management Tools: Introduce tools like to-do lists or apps that can help your teen manage their time more efficiently.

The Role of Support During Exams

No teen navigates the stressful exam seasons alone; they need a support system, and that’s where you come in. Your role isn’t just to enforce rules but to be there as a guiding light, offering emotional and academic support.

Quick Wins for Parents:

  1. Revising History and Other Difficult Subjects: Some subjects require special attention. Help your teen identify these early on and develop tailored strategies to conquer them.
  2. Revision Techniques: Explore various revision techniques to see what works best for your teen. Whether it’s making posters or digital flashcards, the right method can make all the difference.


Year 10 is not just another academic year; it’s a pivotal period that can determine your child’s future educational and career success. Now is the time for proactive, not reactive, parenting. As a parent, your guidance, coupled with effective strategies, can make all the difference.

If you’re keen on diving deeper and setting your teen up for success, consider enrolling them in my ‘Surviving to Thriving’ programme. This unique coaching opportunity not only helps teens survive but sets them on a path to thrive.

Don’t underestimate the power of Year 10; with the right strategies and support, it can indeed become a make-or-break year leading to incredible success.

Ready to turn the tide? Let’s help your teen move from merely surviving to thriving