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Exams are approaching - top 5 revision tips

Secondary Schools

It`s that dreaded time of year once again - for thousands of pupils across the country, the exams that were safely far away in the future are now are very real and immediate prospect. The GCSE and A-Level tests are fast approaching! Indeed, they are just over the horizon, and coming closer with each passing day. It`s revision season - all the knowledge amassed over the last 2 years must be revivified, and made immediately accessible to the mind. Pupils need to have everything they have learnt ready and at their fingertips; two years of learning distilled into a two hour exam. But what are the best ways to ensure you make the best use of the study time left? Should you cram nonstop, reading textbooks during every waking moment? Should you obtain audio files for your subjects, and listen to them while you are asleep? probably not, but here are a few things you can try to get the most out of your revision schedule:

1. Be clear what you specifically need to revise for

This is vitally important - you don`t want to waste precious time studying up on topics that have no chance of being in the test. Try to obtain a copy of your subject syllabus, and consult any exercise books from the past year. The syllabus will clearly specify which topics you will be examined on, and your exercise books will show you how your teacher set out to teach parts of the syllabus.

2. Construct a revision timetable

If you don`t organise your time you may fall into the trap of spending the most of your revision schedule on the subjects you enjoy the most, which will probably mean you waste precious days and weeks on parts of the syllabus you already have a good understanding of. First of all work out which parts of each subject you need to do the most work on, and make sure you apportion the majority of your time to these areas. Work out how many hours each week you can give to your revision - if you are allocated study time at school make sure you include this in your plan, along with time after school and at weekends. It may seem that the next few months of your life will be nothing but revision, but the next section will assuage that fear!

3. Ensure you take regular breaks

No one is able to read and study non stop for hours on end - even the most studious individual will reach a point where their brain will be unable to assimilate any more information, unless they are permitted to take a well earned break. The danger is though that once `recess` times are permitted, the student will take them whenever the going gets though. Struggling to understand a particular part of calculus… time to take a break! getting tired of all these irregular french verbs… time to take another break! Without a good structural plan to the revision timetable the student may well reflexively take a break just at the very point where they are struggling with something difficult. For this reason break times should be written into the revision schedule, with a 15 minute interim every two hours or so.

4. Seek out videos online to help

These days there is such an abundance of online video educational content, be it from students themselves helping share their knowledge in an approachable way, to world famous lecturers from prestigious schools and universities all around the world. Many students can be mentally fatigued by studying the endless pages of their textbooks - videos can make learning come alive, and the right online teacher may engage the student, and help them understand concepts they previously couldn`t come to grips with.

5. Obtain past papers

A student may have a thorough and in depth knowledge of their subject, but unless they are able to apply and express their comprehension under exam conditions their true capabilities will not be reflected in their grade. For this reason students should actually practice taking exams, in order that, when the day comes, they are not intimidated and anxious, and can perform to the best of their abilities. Past papers can be easily obtained from the respective subject`s syllabus - the student should sit some of these exams under the same strict conditions they will have to adhere to when they take the real exam. This will allow them to become acclimatised to exam pressures, while also allowing them to calculate their own `predicted grade,` and identify any areas they need to study up on.

3 years ago