As November slowly inches closer, so do GCSE mocks… which means it will soon be time for Year 11 students to start revising! Although mocks aren’t critically important, the grades you achieve in them are used by sixth forms and colleges to make conditional offers, so it is worth revising at least a little bit for them. Besides, you won’t be able to cram everything in right before GCSEs so they are a good opportunity to assess your weaknesses and work upon them before the actual thing.
Here are some of what I consider to be the best revision tips for exam success – whether you’re revising for GCSEs, BTECs, international exams or even end-of year tests!
1. Don’t spend ages on your revision timetable
I think we may all be guilty of this one… but it’s a lot wiser to spend that time revising rather than making your revision timetable look pretty! By all means, make a revision timetable if it genuinely helps you stay organised. Just don’t spend too long on it. And actually follow it. I spent an unnecessarily long amount of time on mine and I didn’t stick to it at all because all sorts of things seemed to come up.
2. Prioritise and Organise!
It’s so easy to focus on the topics that you’re good at and do questions on them and feel satisfied when you get everything right. Don’t fool yourself! This is an utter waste of your time. You’re much better off practising questions on topics that you struggle at and I know just how frustrating it can be to keep getting things wrong again and again, but that’s the only way you’ll learn. The same goes for subjects too, I knew my worst subject was Textiles so I spent more time on it and spent hardly any time on Physics because I was confident with it. Plan your revision according to your confidence in the subject.
3. Breaks are Important
As important as revision is, it’s pretty much useless if you’re doing it all the time. You’ll find yourself zoning out or you won’t take anything in. The key is to revise smart rather than for long periods of time. 30 minutes of effective revision is better than 2 hours distracted revision. To do this you need to take a break at least once an hour – even if this is walking around for 5 minutes or having a quick snack. Staying hydrated at all times is also incredibly important.
Also it is crucial that you don’t tire yourself out – you should be maintaining a healthy sleep schedule anyway (!)
4. Don’t Make Mindmaps for the Sake of it
Do what works for you – don’t just do something because everyone else is doing it. Everybody learns in different ways. If you learn best with Mindmaps, by all means go for it! If you learn better with memory aids like flashcards and Post-it notes, do that instead.
5. Check the Spec!
To make sure you don’t get any nasty surprises in the exam, it is best that you check the specification for the course well in advance. This will help you pinpoint any topics that you have not covered, which you can then talk to your teacher about. It’s also useful to go through the content and identify your strengths and weaknesses before drawing up your revision timetable.
I really hope this helps some of you when it comes to revision! Let me know your top tips to exam success in the comments – I’m always keen to learn about what works for different people.