My experience with revision throughout high school is minimal as I had no clue what I was doing or I just didn't see the point. It doesn't make a difference, surely? Well, trust me, it does, especially this year, my results went from being almost top of the class, to mostly low C’s, D’s and even a U. So really, it does make a difference and revision is beneficial, so start as soon a possible.
For those of you taking your GCSEs, your exams (as of the 19th of April 2018, the time of writing) are most likely in roughly three weeks, and you’ve probably already started you revision, but for those of you like me who didn’t know what to do, or where to start, so therefore tried to block it out and ignore it all (which I clearly don't recommend) here are my tips for good revision sessions:
- Prioritise your subjects. If you know the order of your exams,or you know you have subjects that you really need to revise because you aren’t as good at them, spend more time one those subjects and less on the ones with exams later on or the ones you are better at.
- Make a revision timetable, there are many ways to do this and different people may find different setups or methods more useful, so find the one that is most useful for you, different people will be able to works for different lengths of time so make sure you take that into account.
- Make sure to have regular breaks. Studies have shown that the optimum amount of time for taking in new information is 30 minutes, and after that, you won’t take much in without a break, so remember to take regular breaks and space out your revision so that you manage to take in as much information per session as possible
- Make sure you have snacks and drinks with you so that you don't have an excuse to get up every few minutes because you are “hungry” or “thirsty.” Trust me, we’ve all been there, and I’m pretty sure we all know this isn’t helpful at all.
- Don't take hours trying to make your notes “perfect.” Look, I get it, I'm also a perfectionist, but in reality, are perfect notes really going to impact whether the information goes in or not? Probably not. Try to limit yourself to two or three colours so that you don’t get distracted with colouring things in when that really isn’t helping at all.
- If you can, invest in some revision guides. Revision guides can be pricey and when you have a lot of subjects, they can add up to a lot of money, but they really are worth it in the long run, since they cover all of the specification and can help to consolidate any information that you aren’t exactly sure on and a lot of them have questions at the end of each topic so you can test yourself and make sure that you know exactly what the specification requires you to know.
- Use post it notes to your advantage. What I mean buy this is write notes on them and stick them around the house so that you see them regularly and jogs your memory when you do see them.
- Don't revise on your bed. This may be tempting because its comfortable and everyone wants to be comfortable right? Well yes, but revising on your bed is less effective than revising at an actual desk for many reasons. The first and probably most important one is that it means that your mind associates different places with different activities, and if you revise in the same place that you sleep, one of two things can happen from personal experience with mocks earlier this year, you’ll either fall asleep whilst revising and get nothing done, or you’ll get a lot done but when it comes to time to sleep, you won’t be able to fall asleep easily. The second reason for this is that typically, you’ll get less done and you most likely won’t take as much information in as if you were to work at a desk, so it’s important to have a designated place to just revise, as it improves focus and concentration
- Turn your notes into song lyrics. Yes, I know how dumb this sounds, trust me on this, I thought the same when my friend told me to try it, but it actually does work as an effective revision strategy, especially with subjects where you have to learn formulas or quotes.
- Do a lot of past/practice papers. This helps a lot as it helps you to get used to the style of question and what you have to do for each question. Usually if you search “[insert exam board] [insert subject] past papers” then past papers should come up, or just ask your teachers if they have any that you can do, because they will most likely have some for you to try.
On the day of the exam, before you have to go in, quickly read over your notes, just to try and recall key facts and/or quotes, and try and stay away from people who are worried or may cause you to get stressed or freak out, and remember to try your best and all your hard work will pay off.
I hope my tips help you and that you manage to revise efficiently for all of your exam subjects and you survive exam season and get the grades that you want. Just remember that even though it feel like a long time, it isn’t and before you know it all the exams will be over and you’ll be able to relax soon. Good luck!