Help!

This section is here to help you with any concerns that you might have about learning a language at GCSE.

Help! Did I make the right decision?

After just a few lessons of learning a language at GCSE everything may seem a bit confusing and complicated. The lessons might be moving too fast for you and you may feel that you’ve forgotten any language you knew over the long summer holidays...perhaps you're thinking of changing subjects. Give yourself time to settle into the lessons and get used to them. All lessons at GCSE are a step up in pace from what you learn in years 7-9 and it's perfectly normal to feel a little lost at the beginning of term. Try not to let this get to you - let your teacher or form tutor knoew that you don't understand and that you feel you made the wrong decision. Your teacher might be able to help you by going slower in class or explaining things in more detail. Students often struggle at different times and in different subjects. If you stick with it, you may well find that this is your strongest subject and that you absolutely love it!

Help! Got any good advice?

If you’re finding yourself in a tongue-twister when speaking, feeling snowed under with accents and homework is driving you mad, check out our top tips reading, writing, listening and speaking; they're full of great advice for improving your language skills and grades. If revision is getting you down, why not look at our exam preparation sections for the reading, writing, listening and speaking exams, staying motivated, and what next? sections to give you some inspiration.

Help! Revision ideas?

In a revision rut? No problem! We have loads of advice to help you get ready for the exams. Revision shouldn't be stressful and take up all your time, but it is important that you do it. Finding a way to revise that suits your learning style is key to doing well in exams. Follow our top tips on improving your 4 skill areas to help make revision more fun - you needn’t spend all the time with a head in a book. There are plenty of fun, interactive activities online that you can use to help revise.

Help! I’m worried.

Are your exams coming up soon? Starting to feel a bit nervous? We all get worried, nervous and stressed before any examination and the language exams are no different. There’s a lot to remember but it needn’t be a struggle. This website has plenty of ideas and strategies that we used when feeling anxious just before the exams. Look at the different sections for tips on improving your reading, writing, listening and even speaking skills which will hopefully put your mind at ease.

Help! Does anyone else find learning languages hard?

Yes! Of course they do, but everyone learns things in different ways. The great thing about learning a language is seeing the progress you make in it, you can really see how your knowledge and skills are growing as you start to be able to express yourself more confidently and understand more and more of what your teacher says. Take a look at our different types of learning section to work out how you learn things best and start using some of the suggestions in your own language learning; they’ll probably make things a whole load easier. Language learning is a challenge, but one with a massive reward.

Help! Is anyone out there? I’m stuck!

There are lots of forums on the internet that are great for talking through your worries with other students who may feel the same. Also, don’t forget about the support that’s already around you. Your teacher is your first point of call when you feel like there’s something you’re not understanding and if you feel you need a bit more time to get to grips with it - why not see if there are any catch-up sessions you could go along to. Never feel like you’re the only one dealing with the problem - you’re most certainly not!

Help! I just don’t get it!

Everyone has felt like this more than once when learning a language, so you’re not alone on this one. If you don’t get something, the best thing to do is go back to the start and work through it again. If you’ve still got no idea ask your teacher - they’re there to help you so don’t be afraid to ask. Chances are that you won't be the only one who doesn't understand!

Another option is to look the problem up in a book or online as you may just need it explaining in a slightly different way. The internet is full of online learning guides which are topic specific so you can read through some different explanations and try putting them into practice with a game or activity. If you’re still not sure you’ve got it, go and see your teacher outside of lessons so you can chat through it.

Help! I can’t be bothered.

Is your motivation missing? Learning a foreign language requires time and effort to ensure that you remember new words and grammar, as well as improving on your 4 key skills. This doesn't mean that you have to spend all your free time learning a language though! Little and often is the best strategy for language success. Check out our section on tips for staying motivated

Help! My exam is tomorrow morning!

Don't worry! Make sure before you go to bed that you have everything you need (pens, water bottle, tissues...) ready for the exam and that you get plenty of sleep too; you want to go into the exams feeling confident and fresh.

Doing well in exams is not just about learning the subject, it's also about making sure that you understand the questions and write good answers. So check out the getting through the exam section for hints and tips on what to expect for each exam. This should help calm you down a bit.

Help! I find languages boring

Everyone has different interests and we are all good at different things. Some of you may find learning languages fun and a spot of colour among the grey of a normal school day - and others not. It is easy to get confused - there is a lot to learn! Many of us find things boring when we don't understand something. You should let your teacher know that you are finding learning a language boring; see what they or you can do to make the classes more fun and varied. Don't give up in class or on homework - you many find that you learn something that really interests you. Try out some of our hints and tips to liven up learning a language at home. Test your knowledge of foreign languages on our language game, or have a look at our fun language facts and myth buster sections. You’ll be amazed at what you’ll read and see just how fun and important languages really are.

Help! How do you study?

Everyone studies in their own way, so check out our sections on how to study listening, reading, speaking and writing to see different strategies on areas of language learning, then try a few out to see which works best for you. When it comes to revision, knowing what type of learning you are can make a different to your revision plan; look at what type of learner are you to see what methods suit you.

Help! How do I remember key words/phrases/grammar?

Everyone has different methods that can help them to remember things so this bit is up to you. Once your teacher has taught you a phrase, a tense or some grammar, think of ways to easily remember what you've just learnt. Try putting what you’ve learnt to a tune that you can sing to, draw pictures that look like the words for inspiration, learn the words whilst playing a sport...the options are endless.

Another great way of remembering them is to surround yourself with them! Provided your parents don't mind, write up verything in lists and stick them up around the places you go often in the house. Use the bathroom mirror and you can revise while brushing your teeth, or on your kitchen cupboard so that you'll review the words again when you go to open it. This is great preparation before your exams and there is enormous satisfaction in taking them all down afterwards!

Help! What’s covered in each exam?

Each exam board is different, so make sure you know which exam you will be doing - ask your teacher. Normally the exam boards include similar topics and have similar structure for their exams. You'll cover topics on hobbies, holidays, school and work. You will need to know past, present and future tenses and apply these to each topic you learn. Look through our getting through the exam section for ideas on how the exams are set out. Ask your teacher to find out what you will be included in the exam.

Help! How do I remember it all?

Just like you remember everything else! If you’ve followed our hints on doing vocab learning little and often and on splitting up your workload into manageable chunks then it’s already embedded in your brain. In the exam you’ll have a few ‘light-bulb’ moments where awesome phrases and brain waves come to you, and that’s when you know you’ve remembered it all.

Help! How do I fit it all in?

It may feel like you’re fighting a losing battle with all the work you have to do and the actual time you have to do it in, but you’re not. Use a revision planner to organise your revision into achievable, 'bite-size' pieces. Make sure you pick a time of day to revise that suits you. Not everyone wakes up early on a Saturday morning feeling ready to get up and revise so don’t worry; work out when you revise best and stick to that.

It’s also really important to take regular breaks during revision; it's more effective to do 30 minutes and then take a 10 minute break then it is to work solidly for 2 hours. Don’t forget to write your breaks into your revision planner and set a goal that you want to achieve by the end of each section. This means you’ll have a target to aim for and a way of measuring whether your revision was successful.

Help! I did well, where can I go now?

Your language learning doesn’t have to stop because you’ve finished your GCSEs. You never know when you might need to use your language skills so don’t lose them. Check out our ‘what next’ section to see what other options are open to you to carry on with languages - you won’t regret it.

Help! I can’t concentrate...

Make sure there are no distractions around you. Sit in a quiet and tidy area where you know you work well and let whoever's at home know that you're doing your homework. Take a 5 minute break every half an hour - have a drink or walk around. You'll find it much easier to work if you split the homework up into manageable chunks.

Help! I don’t have time for my homework...

Socialising and hobbies are extremely important, but so is your homework. Include time for your homework in your daily routine so it feels a normal part of it, not something you have to make specific time for or a chore. You can even arrange with your friendsto do it together so that you'll all be free together afterwards too!

Help! I’ve got too much to do...

Break it down into smaller parts - this will make it seem much more manageable as you won't be tackling lots of things at once. If you keep organised with a list or homework planner, you can work out what to do when more easily.