How not to motivate students for GCSE's

23rd July 2014

School may be out for Summer, but the start of term is always around the corner - along with a fresh class of students to prepare for their GCSEs.

We found this Guardian article really useful on how to motivate students, and have summarised the main points below.



  • Messages that combine the value of GCSEs with the importance of avoiding failure, such as "If you don't pass GCSE maths and English you will find it hard to get a good job. You need to work hard to avoid failing," run the risk of overly pressuring and demotivating unconfident students. Such students can then go on to perform worse rather than better. Messages that focus on avoiding failure as a motivational strategy (so-called fear appeals) are an especially counter-productive strategy for unconfident students.

  • The alternative is to combine messages that focus on the value of GCSEs with achieving one's potential such as "It's really important to pass maths and English in order to help get a good job". The simple change in language focuses students' attention on what is to be gained rather than what is lost.

  • Even if a student is able, if they do not believe they are able or that effort in revision will result in achieving their target or aspired grade, then they will remain unmotivated and not work as hard, or prepare as thoroughly for their exams.


GCSE revision, GCSE tips, GCSEs',

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