Exam season is just a few weeks away, meaning there’s never been a better time to get prepared. In fact, thinking about exam revision sooner rather than later 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 the ultimate guide to GCSE revision, with everything you and your parents need to know. Follow our seven steps to success!
Step 1- FAQ’s
Here’s a few important questions that parents and students should know first!
When should GCSE revision start?
GCSE revision should ideally start around January. However, when students start their revision depends on a child’s specific abilities.
When do GCSE exams begin?
The GCSE exam period generally runs from around 14th May to 22nd of June for Years 10 and 11.
When are GCSE results released?
GCSE results are usually released in the 3rd week of August. The 2019 Results Day is the 22nd August.
Step 2 - Set Detailed Goals
Before thinking about revision, it’s important to write down some goals as it 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 that’ll be used. This means 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 or ask your teacher for the grading specifications. They will tell you exactly what the exam board is looking for and what you have 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.
Step 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’re a visual, auditory or kinaesthetic learner 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.
Step 5 - Create a Revision Timetable
Perhaps the most important step when it comes to GCSE revision - building a solid 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. Our blog post fills you in on all the benefits.
- It’s important to create a realistic schedule and keep in mind 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.
Step 5 - 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.
Make Use of the Resources Available to You
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.
Step 6 - Study Tips
Once you are on a roll with your revision sessions, it’s important that you avoid burnout by trying to do too much at once. Keep these helpful study tips in mind to make sure you balance leisure and revision equally. Doing so will mean you’ll 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.
Step 7 - Overcome Exam Anxiety
When exams are just around the corner, anxiety and stress levels can increase. 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.
There you have it! Our seven steps to GCSE revision success all in one place. Make sure to check out all the linking blog posts for more detailed information to assist you on your revision journey.