Mojza Blog


by Zunaira Faisal | 04 April 2023

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As time goes by, more and more students are opting to drop out of school and become private candidates, since it’s much more convenient for them. So, here is a simple guide to managing your studies as a private student. 

To start off, knowing the difference between being a private student and being homeschooled is essential. A homeschooled student is one whose education has taken place at home for most, or in some cases, all of their life. It doesn’t literally mean school at home, but more that your parents and family are involved in your education pretty actively instead of sending you to school. A private candidate, on the contrary, is one who hasn’t necessarily been homeschooled but actually dropped out of school when they reached the grades in which the Cambridge curriculum is usually taught. Most students choose to go to tuitions or private academies to study further, but in registering for the exam, they don’t have any school associated with them. 

With that clear, let’s move on to the general tips for managing studies as a private student. 

Plan the school year ahead of time

If you’re a private student, it’s important that you plan out your entire year up until your Cambridge exams ahead of time. This can be done subject-wise. For this, you need to look at the official Cambridge syllabus whenever you start studying for your subjects and make a monthly checklist for yourself for each subject. If you study from private teachers/tutors, you can also coordinate with your teachers, ask them for their plans for the academic year, and make your checklists according to that.

Follow a daily schedule

One thing that benefits nearly all students, private or otherwise, is daily schedules. In order to avoid procrastination or burnout, study schedules are generally very beneficial. They may seem redundant but research has shown that they lessen stress and help you manage your time effectively. This is best explained in a previously published blog, How To Make a Study Schedule. 

ECRs, Examiner Reports and Past Papers

The best way to get a better sense of certain subjects, or understand the way an exam paper is checked is by reading ECRs (Example Candidate Responses) and examiner reports. Once you’re halfway done with the syllabus, make sure to go through them to understand how the examiner expects you to answer questions. Moreover, another way to secure an A* is to solve as many past papers as you possibly can for every subject. By practicing constantly, not only will you get used to the way questions are asked in the exam, but the information you have learned in the past will continuously be recalled and thus, fortified. 

Here are the links to the extra resources for a few subjects. 


Computer Science




For more resources, use GCE Guide and of course, Mojza’s subject-wise guide on the website. 


Use online lectures whenever needed

A highly recommended method of understanding concepts and revision is to watch online lectures and YouTube videos. There are several websites dedicated to this very purpose. Some very popular ones are Khan Academy, Alt Academy, and Noon Academy. There are also many YouTube channels that can help with various subjects. Zainematics and Mathlete for math, Cognito for sciences, and many others. 

Create a designated space

In order to improve your concentration and retention of the content you study, having a designated learning space is a great idea. If you’re a private student, who is at home for the better part of the day, there is a high chance of you getting distracted by your surroundings very easily. This is why it’s important that you assign a specific space for your studies. This will automatically help you focus better and increase your attention span. 

Consistency over motivation

It’s human nature to wait for that surge of motivation to start studying or to do something great. Being motivated to get up early and study is good, but it’s essential to understand that true success comes from consistency and discipline. If you’re a private student, the best advice you can get is to be consistent. Stop waiting until you feel motivated enough to complete an assignment. If it’s on your to-do list, get up and do it without unnecessary delay.


Holding yourself accountable means engaging in self-discipline to complete academic and personal goals. While this may sound like additional stress, it actually makes your life a lot easier, because it lessens procrastination and increases productivity greatly. A great way to practice this is to get an accountability partner. Choose a reliable friend or senior who can hold you accountable and see that you remain disciplined and don’t slack off. 

Another important aspect of being a private student is your mental health. Staying at home for most of the day, every day can take a toll on your mental health and it’s essential that you take care of that. 

Dont Isolate yourself

Whether it’s in family gatherings, going out with friends, or having a simple conversation with a friend after class, interacting with people is important to prevent complete social isolation. Remember, even the smallest interactions with another human matter!

Participate in extracurriculars

Not only do extracurriculars assist in making a good college application, but they also help you keep yourself busy with activities you enjoy performing so as not to affect your mental health too much. This involves internships, academic competitions, sports, and other activities. This can be done at a sports club near your house, a science olympiad hosted by a local school, MUNs, freelancing, online essay competitions, etc. 

Join online communities

In order to stay up to date on any Cambridge announcements and to stay connected with other students, private or otherwise, you can join online communities on Discord and other online forums. Two of the many great online communities made for this purpose are Mojza’s Community Server and COALI.


Author: Zunaira Faisal
Editor(s): Kanza Ahsan
Proofreader(s): Kanza Ahsan


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Mojza is a student-led organisation aiming to provide quality resources for Cambridge students.

Other than such weekly blogs, Mojza offers resources for your O levels, IGCSE, and A levels journey. We have notes from reputable teachers, our own original notes and a library of other helpful websites and resources!

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Published 04 April 2023
Last Updated: 05 July 2023
Written by Zunaira Faisal