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GCSE Revision Tips...
GSCEs are looming
So…it’s nearly that time and you hate exams. You were advised to start revising in January after mock tests and now it’s April!
You loathe the agony of revision and you can think of a million other things that seem a good idea…and anyway your plan of being a YouTube millionaire or a Business Entrepreneur doesn’t seem to depend on your ability to get a good handful of school qualifications.
It’s rare that financial success is an overnight sensation. Often people need to learn more skills or learn new information to make things happen.
The bottom line: it’s easier to learn and pass essential qualifications in school (English and maths) rather than going back to college and re-doing it when you are older.
Here are some tips to help you on the run up to your exams:
1) Don’t Cram – it’s rare it works effectively unless you are lucky enough to have a technique or a photographic memory, instead PLAN
Create a Revision Timetable
Having a detailed plan will not only add structure to your studying but allows you to organise your time in the way that best suits you and your schedule. Our ‘how to create the perfect revision timetable’ blog post gives you all the information you need.
Things to keep in mind when building your revision timetable:
- The earlier you start your revision the better
- Create a realistic schedule and keep in mind that there are limits to how much work can effectively be completed in a day
- Plan your study time out depending on what works best for you - so if this is 5 out of 7 days a week, or 7 days a week, that’s okay - everyone learns and retains information at different rates
2) Set Detailed Goals – committing yourself to a goal is a proven success motivator*
- Start by writing down the GCSE subjects you’re studying for and the grades you want to achieve.
- Underneath each subject, write out the list of topics you’ll need to understand as well as question formats that’ll be used.
- This means that you can plan out your revision sessions effectively and keep track of the progress you’re making.
Top Tip: Always look at the marking criteria. Usually you can find these online on the exam board’s website or ask your teacher for the grading specifications. They will tell you exactly what the exam board is looking for and what you need to include to achieve specific grades. Arming yourself with this information can be very useful and make you aware of things such as the importance of linking your answers directly back to the question.
3) Understand Your Learning Style
- It’s important to remember there isn’t a one size fits all way to study - everyone works in different ways.
- Understanding your learning style and whether you lean towards a visual, auditory or kinaesthetic style (or a blend of them) will make revision so much easier! For more information about the learning styles, check out our helpful blog post.
- Once you know the method of learning that suits you best, adapt each revision session by choosing more effective study methods that’ll make remembering and recalling information much easier.
4) Start Revising! But How?
With higher grade boundaries coming into play and revision expectations causing increased stress, students can easily start to feel overwhelmed and avoid getting started.
Here’s everything you need to get started with your studies and keep going!
Deal with Procrastination Like a Pro
Procrastination is something we all have to deal with at some point. When you have the whole world at your fingertips, sitting down and focusing on one topic can be a struggle. Our blog post all about how to handle revision procrastination has some really helpful tips, which is sure to help kick start your revision.
If you have access to past papers, try and do them under timed exam conditions as often as possible. This way you know the type of questions you’ll be asked and roughly how much time you can allocate to each section. We guarantee it will build your confidence and test your knowledge at the same time. You may even start to identify areas you need to revise a little more!
Use Websites to Keep Revision Varied
Make use of revision websites to keep your studying sessions varied and interesting. Have a look at our top five below and pick which one works best for your learning style.
- BBC Bitesize
5) Study Tips
Avoid burnout by trying to do too much at once - balance leisure and revision equally to be much more productive and motivated in the long run and be able to revise more effectively.
Take Regular Breaks
Studying for long periods of time can be counterproductive as the brain becomes tired and you can easily lose focus. Instead aim for 30-45 minute sessions with short breaks in between and ideally no more than 4 hours of study per day. This way you’ll have more productive bursts of revision, rather than trying to cram multiple subjects for hours on end.
Mix it up!
Mixing up your study habits is a great way to stay motivated, inspired and keep your brain alert and active while revising for your GCSEs. Try alternative methods such as listening to a podcast, watching videos or documentaries, working in a group, creating revision posters, moving to a new study area or using different coloured paper for each set of revision notes.
For study tips backed by science, check out this insightful blog post.
6) Overcome Exam Anxiety
- Anxiety can not only affect revision and exam performance but can cause trouble sleeping, loss of appetite and even depression. If you’re feeling nervous about your GCSE exams, our blog post all about how to overcome exam anxiety has everything you need to keep stress levels low and your worries at bay.
- If you just want some last-minute revision tips that will help you feel calm and collected during this high-pressure period, this blog post has got it covered.
On a final note, I didn’t learn until my mid-forties a little tip which has helped me a lot in all sorts of scenarios. You can trick your brain into swapping the feeling of anxiety for excitement. Next time you are anxious, try telling yourself that the scary thing is actually very exciting. The more you repeat to yourself that you are excited about it and hype yourself up; it actually starts to really feel like excitement! Try going into your exams happy and excited about them. (The BBC have a handy link to illustrate my point: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p051vh2c )
There you have it! Our pointers to GCSE revision success. It’s not too late either; if you feel you need some help structuring your revision, or need support deconstructing a concept, Tutor Doctor Gloucester can find you a tutor who will come to your home and help you.
Claire Bagnall-Hunt www.tutordoctor.co.uk/gloucester 0333 577 7755
*Psychology professor Dr. Gail Matthews, at the Dominican University in California, led a study on goal-setting with nearly 270 participants. The results? You are 42 percent more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down. https://www.inc.com/peter-economy/this-is-way-you-need-to-write-down-your-goals-for-faster-success.html
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