Even though exam season may seem far away, there’s never been a better time to get prepared. In fact, starting to think about exams sooner rather than later can make all the difference when it comes to revision, and can have a positive effect on performance and grades. Not only will you have more time to study but you’ll be able to adopt a more balanced approach to revision, set clear goals and plan out study sessions in advance. Here’s 7 handy revision tips to help prepare for your GCSEs over the next few months.
1. Set goals
Setting goals is a great place to start, as this will set the tone for the next few months. 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, techniques and the marking criteria the examiner will be using in the grade band you’re aiming for. Doing this will mean you can plan out your study sessions effectively and keep track of the progress you’re making.
2. Create a realistic revision timetable
Building a revision timetable will add structure to your studying and allows you to organise your time in the way that best suits you and your schedule. As you will be mapping out study slots for each topic, if you identify a GCSE subject that you want to spend more time on, you can add these extra sessions in. It’s also important to create a realistic schedule and know there are limits to how much work can effectively be completed in a day. Balancing leisure and revision equally means you’ll be much more productive and motivated in the long run and be able to revise more effectively. Just 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 but an hour per day, that’s okay- everyone will be slightly different!
3. Understand your learning style
There isn’t a one size fits all way to study as everyone works in different ways. Understanding your learning style and whether you’re a visual, auditory or kinaesthetic learner will make revision so much easier! Once you know the method of learning that suits you best, simply tailor each study session by choosing more effective revision techniques that will make remembering and recalling information much easier.
4. Take regular breaks
Taking regular study breaks is so important when it comes to GCSE revision. Studying for long periods of time can be counterproductive as the brain becomes tired and you can easily lose focus, meaning you’re not actually revising effectively. 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 much more productive bursts of revision rather than trying to stay alert covering multiple subjects for hours on end.
5. Practice papers are your new best friend!
One of the best revision tips to help you prepare for your GCSE exams is to do as many practice papers as you can. They will help you become familiar with the exam format, question style and time restraints, so when it comes to the real thing you’ll already know what to expect. Completing old exam papers is also a good way to test your current knowledge and help you identify any areas you’re struggling with. Ask your teachers for a few years’ worth of papers and schedule one or two a week into your revision timetable.
6. Work in study groups
If you’re finding revision too much to tackle on your own, then working in a study group is a great way to find support. Collaborate with your classmates and create an after-school study club or join a GCSE revision group online. Not only will it enrich your learning as you can explore the thoughts and ideas of others, it will also help you improve your communication and collaboration skills. You can quiz each other, share notes, discover new ways of memorising things and explain topics in new ways to each other that may be easier to remember. Sharing knowledge is powerful!
7. 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.