The Ultimate Guide to GCSE Revision

GCSE exam season is right around the corner, meaning there’s never been a better time to get prepared when it comes to revision. 

In fact, thinking about exam revision sooner rather than later can positively affect 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 six steps to success! From learning when you should start revising to mastering how to effectively revise, we have you covered. 

Answers to Important GCSE Revision Questions

We know you’re starting to feel a little anxious about specific and important GCSE dates, so you can prepare for the exam properly and know when to expect your results. Don’t worry! We have all the answers that parents and students should know first!

When Should You Start Revising for GCSEs?

GCSE revision should ideally start six months before the actual exam. Most exams take place in May and June, so GCSE revision should ideally start in January. Aim to start revising as early as possible.

However, everyone is different and schedules vary. Parents should work with students and start revisions based on the child’s specific abilities. Look out for communications from your child’s school during the run-up to exams. 

The sooner you start revising, the better. You never want to underestimate the subjects you’ll need to cover for the exam, or you could be putting yourself in a time crunch that increases anxiety. A little last-minute revision won’t hurt, however! 

When Do GCSEs Start in 2024?

For 2024, the first exam takes place on 9th May and the final GCSE takes place on 19th June

When are GCSE Results Released?

GCSE results are usually released in the third week of August. The 2024 Results Day is the 22nd August.

Step By Step Guide to GCSE Revision

Step 1 – Set Detailed Goals

Before thinking about revision, it’s important to write down some goals to 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 and the question formats used. This means you can plan out your revision sessions effectively and keep track of the progress you’re making. For example, for your GCSE maths revision, you might note down all the topics in the syllabus and which areas you struggle with the most or need extra help with. 

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 2 – Understand Your Learning Style

Studying for an exam doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all approach. Everyone works, prepares, and learns in different ways. Understanding your learning style and whether you’re a visual, auditory, or kinaesthetic learner will make revision much easier.

Once you know the method of learning that suits you best, adapt each revision session by choosing more effective study methods to remember and recall information faster.

Step 3 – Create a GCSE  Revision Timetable

Perhaps the most important step for GCSE revision is building a solid GCSE revision timetable. Having a detailed plan will not only add structure to your studying but also allow you to organise your time in the way that is best suited for your schedule.

We work with students to create the perfect revision timetable to remove the stress from your revision sessions.

Things to keep in mind when building your revision timetable include:

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 4 – Start Revising! But How?

Sometimes, the most crucial part of GCSE revision is to just get started. We know, that with higher grade boundaries coming into play and revision expectations causing increased anxiety, students can easily feel overwhelmed and avoid revising. Knowing how to revise for GCSE will help you to not only get started but revise with confidence throughout the revis

Fortunately, we’re GCSE revision experts and love helping students mitigate stress during exam season. With the tips below, you can quell exam stress, finally get started with your studies, and keep the momentum going!

Use Mock Exam Results as a Starting Point

The GCSE mock exams, usually held a few months before the real GCSEs start can provide a lot of insight into strengths, weaknesses and exam technique in general. Mock exams are as close to the real deal as possible and a great way to benchmark the understanding and knowledge of specific subjects. 

Deal with Procrastination Like a Pro

Procrastination is something we all have to deal with at some point. Sitting down and focusing on one topic can be a struggle when you have the whole world at your fingertips. Everything can be labelled a distraction from social media to your current environment. 

You have to be able to refocus your attention back on your studies and deal with revision procrastination head-on. With the tips on our comprehensive blog post, you’ll get really helpful tips to help kick-start your revision.

Make Use of the Resources Available to You

There are various resources out there to help you prepare accordingly for your GCSE exam and the revisions in advance. We recommend using only reputable information sources for updated and relevant data. After all, you can’t trust every single source you come across on the internet.

Get Your Hands on Some Practice Papers

If you have access to past papers, try and do them under timed exam conditions as often as possible. Your teacher may be a good resource to consult regarding past papers for various subjects you can use.

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 simultaneously. 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. Check out our top five below and pick which one works best for your learning style.

Some examples to help you include:

These websites can help you reach your target results and prepare you to take your exam with confidence.

Step 5 – Adopt Healthy Study Tips

Once you are on a roll with your revision sessions, it’s vital that you avoid burnout by trying to do too much at once. Keep these helpful study tips in mind to ensure you balance leisure and revision time equally. Doing so will make you much more productive and motivated in the long run, increase your confidence, and help you revise more effectively.

Take Regular Breaks

Studying for long periods 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 time per day. This way, you’ll have more productive bursts of revision, rather than trying to cram multiple subjects for hours on end and potentially create more stress for yourself.

Mix Things Up!

Mixing up your study habits is a great way to stay motivated 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.

Stay Positive

Your words have power, and positive affirmations can go a long way in helping you with effective GCSE revision. Before you start revisions, have a few positive sayings to use when you’re feeling unmotivated or overwhelmed, including:

  • I can do this.
  • I’m capable and smart.
  • I can, and I will improve my results.
  • I believe in myself.
  • I can handle anything I put my mind to.

Remember, be kind to yourself. The worst thing you could do is start revisions with a negative mindset.

Step 6 – Overcome Exam Anxiety

When exams are just around the corner, anxiety and stress levels can increase. Worry can affect revision and exam performance and 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 help decrease stress and keep your worries at bay.

For last-minute revision tips to help calm nerves and release pressure during this high-pressure period, this blog post has you covered.

Prepare and Conquer

There you have it! Our six steps to GCSE revision success all in one place. Make sure to check out all the linked blog posts for more detailed information to assist you on your revision journey.

Don’t forget to prepare yourself for results day too! Remember, by following all the tips above, you will have done all you can to set yourself up for success. Relax, take a deep breath and rip open that envelope. We wish you all the luck in the world and are here for you every step of the way. 

To get help with GCSE revision at any stage of the GCSE journey, find a local tutor today. We have the knowledge, skills, and experience to help you master any subject.