It’s that time of the year again where students hit the revision books. Our future leaders, teachers, bookkeepers and nurses are about to sit their GCSEs or A Levels. After two years of hard work, you must be itching to show your exams who’s boss, and our home learning students (of all ages) will be sitting the exact same exams too!
But before you charge in like a bull, we’d like to share 11 exam revision tips to get you off to a racing start.
One major skill you should know is how to set revision goals. With a distinct target in mind, you can effectively plan how you’re going to get there by using the acronym SMART. It’s a tried and tested method that will help you create successful, achievable goals in no time!
You’ll be a SMART learner by making your goals:
Specific: State your revision aims and focus on them
Measurable: Set indicators to determine your revision progress
Attainable: Break revision sessions and work into bitesize chunks
Relevant: Only revise content you’ll use in the exam
Timely: Exams have time periods. So, should your revision!
Timetables are amazing at helping you find time to revise, plan sessions and topics to study, but most notably when to sit down and actually revise with a solid structure. If you let it, timetables can work around your commitments, too, such as dropping the kids to school or walking the dog. Think of it as a diary where you mark down all those juicy revision sessions to come.
We’re going to go out on a limb and say some learners aren’t big fans of revision, right? The secret to making revision fun is to make if feel like a game… Set yourself mini-challenges and draw up a progress bar to colour in when you complete each task. Once the bar’s been filled, you move up a level, from newbie to pro – one step closer to passing! It’s like Candy Crush, only the stakes are higher and infinitely more rewarding.
Maybe you’re not a gamer, but we’re pretty sure you’re completely into treating yourself to something special after revising. Whether that’s a cheeky choccy, a glass of fizz, or a long soak in the tub. It’s nice to reward ourselves when we’ve done well. Just ensure you’ve bested the tasks before indulging. Once you’ve finished your exam, maybe you get an even better treat. And if you pass… a brand-new car?
Mnemonics are tools that help you to recall things, such as lengthy lists and facts, by linking info to an image, rhyme, song or word. For example, in science, do you have a hard time remembering the planets in order? Well, the famous mnemonic ‘My Very Excited Mother Just Served Us Nine Pies’ to remember the planets Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, works like a charm. Go find one that works for you or better yet, make up one yourself!
You’ve three exams on the horizon… what do you do? If you’re thinking ‘focus on a task at a time’ then you’re right! Studies have shown that multitasking hampers your productivity. So, don’t fall into the trap of revising everything at once. Focus on one task to avoid confusion and possible errors. Imagine trying to answer a question on Shakespeare but thinking about the perimeter of a square because you’re jumping between various revision tasks.
Okay, we said in the last point that multitasking was counterproductive… and that’s very true IF you’re trying to revise everything all at once. However, maximising your time is doing multitasking right. It’s cramming revision into sneaky moments you know exist but didn’t think to use. It’s as easy as listening to audio books in the bath, reading a paragraph while the kettle boils or memorising cue cards or notes while waiting in a queue.
For the average GCSE and A level student, you’ve got to sit exams for five to seven subjects. That’s a lot of revision! By starting well in advance, you eliminate the pressure, the stress, and you can take your time to focus on tasks at a good pace. You wouldn’t set off to the airport late, would you? No because you’d miss your holiday. Now think of you GCSEs and A Levels in that same light – revise correctly to pass exams successfully. Otherwise you’ll end up like Spongebob working overtime.
This means steering clear of the latest Kardashian uploads on Instagram, episodes of Game of Thrones on HBO, or boosting your Gamerscore on Xbox. Better yet, block all social media, disable any chat bars and notifications, and only use the internet to research or revise. Trust us, it’s the best course of action. Once you’ve found your dream study location, ensure that you’ve all your study tools (and snacks) in reach.
Tests (and quizzes) identify gaps in your learning and show how well you grasp your course materials. Knowing where you need more focus helps you allocate revision time to specific areas. For example, Duolingo, which teaches languages, often tests your skill to recall and speak words before you progress. By quizzing yourself often, you’ll slowly eliminate those gaps in your knowledge, strengthen your memory, reduce forgetfulness, and make future revision sessions easier to manage.
Your course materials and set texts are designed to give you everything you need to pass your GCSEs and A Levels. But it never hurts to do some outside research to boost your understanding and empower your ideas. Imagine how impressed your examiner will be if you’re the only learner who expands their arguments. Not just with additional research but accurate research or research that shows you’re well read, know how to interpret various texts and shape your own opinion, logically and rationally, on the exam topic.
Revision doesn’t have to be a chore. GCSEs and A Levels are not mountains to climb. Your course materials were written and designed to give you the best chance of success, so start looking at your revision for what it really is – the tool to your success!
Perhaps you’ve missed the chance to get your GCSEs and A Levels the first time round, or you’ve sat your exams but missed out on the grade you needed. It’s not the end of the world. We help students like you all day, every day, to get the grades they need to turn things around. We genuinely care about helping our learners and we’ll even guarantee a pass!
If you need your GCSEs or A Levels have a chat with our advisers! Our award-winning services and 96% pass rates speak for themselves. Studying her Functional Skills (GCSE equivalent) with us, Ashleigh completely turned her fate around – read her story of how she nearly missed out on her dream university course.