The first and BIG tip is to not leave it too late as your memory won’t be able to cope. So ... start NOW!
Revise efficiently ... a good way to start is to work for 45 minutes, then have a 15 minute break every hour.
You will need to make short term sacrifices but it will be worth it! So pack away the Xbox or PS4.
You should be aiming to revise at least 4-5 hours a day during holiday periods and about two hours per evening in term time, but be realistic ... don't plan a schedule you can't manage! You also have to be disciplined and stick to your plan.
Make sure you are organised as it will make your life easier and then you will be happier.
How do you organise yourself? Use a calendar and revision timetable. Make sure you have a designated revision space – without any distractions! Collect all your revision materials and make sure you have all the relevant information e.g. books, revision guides, and knowledge organisers, past papers/practice questions and quote flash cards.
Don’t forget to use GCSEPod! Ask your teachers and check you have everything to help you.
Follow these steps to success:
- Complete the end of topic audits so you know where the gaps are: red/amber/green each section and start your revision with the red areas.
- Update your revision timetable to show what topics/subjects you want to revise in each revision session.
- Revise: revise the topic you have selected using the techniques highlighted in purple on your revision techniques sheet.
- Test: check your understanding using the techniques highlighted in green on your sheet.
- Review: use the test to identify areas you need to do more revision on.
Ways to revise:
- Mind maps and revision clocks: start with a central theme and organise the information from it, grouped into subtopics. Label the branches with the relationships. To summarise a whole topic after revising it in detail. Only put in the key words, everything else should come to mind when you read it.
- Index/flash cards: for key information and facts. You can carry them around with you and test yourself anywhere. Use it to remind and test yourself on key knowledge (quotes/equations/facts) or a sequence of simple events.
- Read-Cover-Recall-Check: read the information you want to remember. Cover it up, write out what you remember. Check to see how much you forgot. Use it to test yourself on key knowledge (quotes/equations/facts) or a sequence of simple events.
- Key word cards: include definitions on the back. You can test yourself on the definitions, sort them into scientifically relevant categories, and put them into a sequence.
- Watch videos: GCSEPod and HegartyMaths
After you have revised you must test yourself to see what you have learnt and areas you still need to review and revise. Then go back over it and retest again.
How to test:
- Online quizzes or revision guide exam questions: answer the questions, note down your score, and revise the topic some more, have another go at the questions later. Did you improve? Use it to test yourself on simple scientific facts and processes.
- Past exam questions and analysis: complete some past exam questions. Mark your answers. Fill in the answers you missed. Go through the paper and colour code each topic (Red - need to revise, Amber - need to go over a few bits again, Green - I’ve got it). Use it to test your ability to: recall the information you have revised, to answer the question asked, not just write down everything you know, to follow the command words in an exam.
It is important whilst you are working so hard that you do look after yourself too. Make sure you take a break, do something you know that will make you laugh, take a soak in the bath or take some exercise. This will help your stress levels.
How can parents and carers help and support?
The secret to doing well in exams lies in planning. You can help your child to create a clear revision plan and method of studying that will make them feel in control of their work.
Revision planning tips for parents:
- work out a revision timetable for each subject
- break revision time into small chunks - hour-long sessions with short breaks at the end of each session often work well
- make sure your child has all the essential books and materials
- help with stationery, highlighters and pens to make revision more interesting
- time your child's attempts at practice papers
- support them attending intervention after school for extra subject support until 4pm
- ensure they get plenty of sleep during the exam season and that they eat well to feed their brain