Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Exam Revision Tips & Techniques


As my AS level mocks are next week, I was pondering my revision methods and thought I'd make a post to share them with anyone who may be struggling, whether it be for their GCSEs, A levels or any other exam. I like to think I'm a bit of an expert on revision - I have done more than my fair share of exams and always prepare as thoroughly as possible, and I tend to do pretty well (although I do naturally have an insanely good memory). However, you can never know absolutely everything about a topic, so if you have any other tips I'd love to hear them in the comments!
  1. Make a rough schedule - Organisation is absolutely key in so many walks of life, and revision is not an exception. I emphasise rough because, if you plan out your revision to the last second and then a plan changes, you can often find yourself missing out on large chunks of time and it will throw everything off course. It is important to work out what topics you need to cover and how much time you have to spend on each, and allocate days when you'll have the time to properly cover them, but make sure it is lenient and open for adjustment. Prioritise subjects which you feel are most important, but don't neglect the rest.
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  2. Start early - Firstly, make sure you give yourself plenty of time to prepare for an exam, i.e. don't start revising in the end of May for an exam in June (you might be surprised, but I know lots of people who do this)! Secondly, if possible start revising earlier in the day, when your brain is more active and you can't make any excuses about wanting to relax in the evening.
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  3. Consider your revision environment - Make sure you are in a quiet room with all distractions out of the way. Have a glass of water and a snack with you, so you don't need to get up. Sit at a proper desk or table is possible, as you will be doing the exam at a desk so you need to get used to it (DON'T revise in bed - it can be bad for your back and you'll get distracted or tired quicker!). One thing I do is revise in different rooms, as if I stick to one place it can sometimes throw me when I have to recall facts in a completely different environment such as an exam hall.
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  4. Do past papers - You need to get used to the structure of the exam and how examiners expect you to answer a question; do you have to write in full sentences or just state the facts? Doing a past paper and comparing your answers to a mark scheme is a great way of doing this, plus it's not quite as scary when you get the paper put in front of you in the actual exam as you know how it's set out! Sometimes exam boards use the same questions but re-word them, so it is definitely worth trying the questions. Make sure you set yourself the time limit you'd get in the exam, so you make sure you're pacing yourself correctly!
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  5. Make visual aids - In college they call these "graphic organisers" but can also be mind maps or just brightly coloured posters with the information on. This is great for revision as you are writing things out which will help you to remember, then allocating it a colour which will hopefully create a link in your mind, then setting it out in a memorable structure.
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  6. Revise effectively - You may think all you need to do is read over your classwork, but you will remember things so much more easily if you have written them out a few times, reinforcing them in your brain. If you don't like writing, try explaining a topic to a friend or relative in your own words - if you are going to make them understand it then you have to understand it first!
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  7. Put things up around the house - It is useful to put your "graphic organisers" up on walls in rooms you spend a lot of time in, for example I have all of the French tenses up on the wall opposite my bed so I read them whenever I am in my room. For GCSE vocab learning, I labelled everything in my house with post-it notes and the French translation for what it was, even the floor and walls! Make sure you ask your parents first though, as my mum almost had a heart attack when she came home to religious quotes all over our kitchen for my RE revision!
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  8. Take breaks - Every hour, give yourself a break of 5-10 minutes. This is proven to help your concentration levels as after a certain amount of time of straight revision, you absorb information much more slowly. On a larger scale, take a break of an entire afternoon to see your friends or do something else you enjoy - there's no point depriving yourself of all happiness for the sake of a few little exams!
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  9. Don't worry - Try not to panic about your revision, and remember everyone else is in the same boat as you. In the grand scheme of things, exams only count for a miniscule amount as there are so many other possibilities and other chances in life. Don't stress yourself out over nothing, as this will actually be worse for your concentration. Before an exam, try to breathe slowly and deeply, and take a bottle of water in with you. Don't do any last-minute cramming on the morning of an exam - if you haven't learnt what you need to by then, you have no chance of understanding it and it will just put you off what you do know.
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  10. Stop procrastinating - Turn off your phone, log out of social media and FOR GOD'S SAKE stop writing blog posts on how to revise! Get off your bum and put some work in!

9 comments:

  1. haha so true this post especially with procrastination ! I have exam too in the end of the month so i will try some of the tips ^_^

    BubblyBeauty

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    1. The fact I managed to put off revision by writing a blog post about revision was a new level of procrastination! I hope these tips help and good luck with your exam x

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  2. So true about the last point :P good luck on your revision and exams!

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  3. I nominated you for the Infinity Dreams Award! Check it out here: http://callmehappiness.blogspot.be/2015/01/infinity-dreams-award.html

    - Inès xxx

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  4. I've got my GCSE in May/June and the days just seem to be creeping up- I mean it's almost February! My revision is already in fall swing and I agree with literally all of the things you listed. So helpful!

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    1. Good luck! I'm really glad my tips are helpful - thank you! x

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