5 Last Minute Revision Hacks for GCSE and A Level Students

Exam season is notoriously known to be the most stressful time of the year, even for the most hardworking, prepared students. With multiple exams and subjects to revise for, a busy school schedule alongside lots of nerves and anxiety, the last few weeks can feel extremely overwhelming for students. Not only can this last-minute panic have a negative effect on a student’s final revision sessions, but can even impact exam performance overall. Here’s some helpful last-minute revision hacks to help students stay as calm and collected as possible during this high-pressure time and give them a boost of knowledge (and confidence) before the big day.

1. Practice Explaining Topics To Yourself (Without Notes)

One of the most effective revision hacks is practicing explaining topics aloud to test your knowledge. In fact, research has shown that explaining something aloud to yourself makes you much more likely to remember it, because you have to carefully consider the appropriate response and find deep connections inside your brain. If you can take the time a few days before your exam to undertake some self-explanation, it can really give a boost to your memory and find any big gaps in knowledge that may need revisiting.

2. Read Revision Notes Aloud

Another useful last-minute revision hack is to read your revision notes aloud. It has been shown that there is a 12% increase in recall if, when revising, you read information aloud rather than in silence. This is because reading aloud involves a lot more processing than reading quietly, and the more processing that occurs, the more likely you will be able to remember the information.

3. Use Memory Tricks

Often reading through notes during revision sessions isn’t enough to make it stick in your long-term memory in time for exams. Even though memory tricks can seem childish, using rhymes, mnemonics and funny anecdotes can actually be really helpful when it comes to remembering key facts, phrases and statistics. It’s also a quick and easy method you can master just a day or two before your exam to help jog your memory.

4. Alter Revision Environment

Location matters in terms of how much of your revision you actually remember. In fact, it’s been found that recall is significantly improved if the environment you revise in is similar to the exam setting itself. This means by simply turning off music and distractions and making the effort to sit up at a desk can be a last-minute revision hack in itself, especially when it comes to improving memory. Even though it may feel difficult to get off the sofa and sit up for a few hours to revise, it will hopefully pay off in the exam hall.

5. Do Some Drawing

Probably the most enjoyable revision hack for GCSE and A-Level students is doing some drawing in their last few sessions. A recent study found that drawing is more effective than writing when it comes to remembering single words or short phrases. Even though this may not work for more complicated theories, if you’re trying to remember single words, dates or key quotes, then drawing out images associated with the words might help you achieve a better result. This can be a particularly effective technique for students trying to remember vocabulary for a language exam.

Finally.. Think positively! You have done as much revision as you can and are as prepared as you can be. Having a positive attitude will help you much more than being stressed and anxious. Don’t forget- it’s just an exam!