Revision Advice and Guidance
Download a revision support booklet
By making a plan and organising your time, you can divide your revision into manageable chunks. This will increase your chances of remembering the important facts, and help you avoid last-minute stress.
Find out what you need to know
- Make your revision plan as early as possible. This will allow you to work out how much time to spend revising each day and, just as importantly, when to take breaks.
- The first step is to get organised: find out when your exam is, and work out how much time you have until then.
Write a revision checklist
- Start by dividing the number of days you have until the exam by the number of topics you need to revise. Ask your teacher for a list of topics, or make your own by going through your notes.
- Think about any topics that will need more revision time – perhaps you covered them in more detail, or you found them more difficult.
- Look at your work, realise what you need to learn and divide it into the topics. Don’t just stick to what you’re good at (and find easy to remember).
Make a revision plan
When you know how many days you need to spend revising each topic, you’ll be able to make revision part of your daily routine. However, you need to be realistic:
- set aside time on your plan for things you need to do, like going to school and mealtimes
- split the remaining time into half-hour slots
- break each topic on your revision checklist down into chunks that you can cover in 30 minutes, and fill your slots with these chunks
- It gets easier once you actually do something.
Revise in the best way for you
- The most futile way of revising is to sit down and read. It’s so passive that after about five minutes you will probably have switched off.
- Find something that works for you — if you need to walk around, do so.
- Or if you just need to sit at your desk making notes, do that instead.
- Most of all practice questions after revising a topic
- Get hold of past papers and involve friends and parents if you need to. Saying answers out loud may help you to imprint them on your brain.
Find out about anything you don’t understand
- Ask someone to explain it to you (Teacher, friend or Parent).
- Regular breaks are important if you’re going to stay alert while revising.
- A five-minute break every half-hour is better than a 30-minute break after five hours.
- Get up, make a drink, tidy your room, check your email – you’ll come back refreshed and ready to carry on.
- Breaks will also help you absorb the information and avoid overload.
Look after yourself
- Make sure you include a leisure activity in your revision plan twice or three times a week.
- It’s important to set aside time to take your mind off exams.
- A healthy mind needs a healthy body, so look after yourself.
- Lots of sleep and regular exercise will help you stay alert.
- Your body needs fuel, so eat plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit to help keep your energy levels up.
Remember to turn up
- Check when and where your exams are. Don’t let that revision go to waste.
Useful revision websites:
Get Revising: http://getrevising.co.uk/
GCSE Bitesize: http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/
S-Cool Revision: http://www.s-cool.co.uk/
O2 Learn: www.o2learn.co.uk/
Revision World: http://www.revisionworld.co.uk/
How Stuff Works: http://www.howstuffworks.com/
School History: http://www.schoolhistory.co.uk/revision/
French Revision: http://www.frenchrevision.co.uk/
BBC Student Life Revision and Skills: http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/studentlife/revisionandskills/
BBC Coping with Exam Stress: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/advice/factfile_az/exams_stress
- Revising for exams is about more than just reading through the notes you made in class.
- It also means knowing how to answer the questions for real when you’re in the exam.
- Practising with old exam questions can improve your chances of doing well.
Preparing for the exam – why it’s important
- Revision works best when you practise what you’ll be doing in the exam – and that means answering questions.
- By writing out what you know as exam answers, you’ll be making it easier to remember what you learned in class.
Knowing what you will be examined on
In the exam you’ll be expected to answer questions on the subjects you studied in class. This means you’ll need a full set of notes to revise from. If you missed some classes, your notes may not be complete.
To make sure your notes are up-to-date, check your notes against the subject revision checklist (if you haven’t got one, ask your teacher). If the checklist shows you are missing notes on some subjects, ask your teacher which chapters of the text book you need to read, and make notes to fill in the gaps.
Get hold of past exam papers
- You’ll usually start getting copies of old exam paper shortly before you sit the exam. These are an ideal way to practise answering exam questions.
- But you don’t have to wait until then to get some practice: most text books have example exam questions.
- You can also download practice exam questions, along with answers (known as the mark scheme), from your awarding body’s websites. Awarding bodies are sometimes known as ‘exam boards’. The three GCSE and A Level awarding bodies based in England are:
- Oxford, Cambridge and Royal Society of Arts (OCR)
- Assessment and Qualifications Alliance (AQA)
Use exam papers to organise your revision notes
- Past exam papers are very useful when organising your revision notes.
- Arrange your notes in the same order as the topics appear in the exam paper.
- Once you’ve done this, try to list the key facts for each topic.
- You’ll find that organising your notes makes them easier to remember.
Have a go – practise doing the exam
- Passing exams with top marks means knowing what to do, and also what to leave out. Getting this right needs practice.
- Before you start writing, check the number in brackets after each question. This tells you how many points each question is worth. It also gives you a clue to how much effort is required.
- For example, a three-mark question means you’ll probably have to make three points or show three workings. A question worth more marks will need a longer, more detailed answer or workings.
- You might also find clues in the way exam questions are worded: what exactly is it asking you to do?