With the Easter holidays on the horizon, many Keystone students are gearing up for those final few months of GCSE revision.
Here are Keystone’s NINE top tips to help you with the process.
- Take responsibility. Teachers, tutors and parents are all on hand if you need support, but remember: no one can revise for you; it’s down to you.
- Be ambitious. Most adults work over eight hours per day. Try to work at least half this amount each weekday, and give yourself the weekend off. Revision techniques can make your revision more efficient (see below), but they will not allow you to neglect your revision. It has to be done; you cannot cut corners.
- Be realistic. Create a revision plan before beginning your revision. Make sure you estimate how long it will take to cover each topic thoroughly, dividing your remaining time carefully before your exams. Remember that a vast and intricate GCSE revision timetables does not necessarily lead to copious and detailed revision. Think about what is realistic, and give yourself regular breaks.
- Be systematic. Ground your revision in the reality of taking the exam. Work out how much of the material you’ve covered at school will actually be tested in your GCSEs. Are there any curriculum gaps that need filling? Discard (for now) any school work that will not be examined. If you don’t know which content will be tested in the GCSE syllabus, your school should have provided you with a GCSE syllabus. Here are the exam boards listed here:
- Be active rather than passive. Revising is remembering. It is extremely hard to remember exam content by just re-reading your file. This is especially the case for subjects that you do not enjoy; if you’re like me, your brain – your soul! – will resist. For this reason, try to make revision as active as possible. Here are three of the best ways:
- Use Mind Maps. Make sure you know how to create them in a way that directly benefits your revision; otherwise Mind Maps can be rather Mind-less. Their modern father (their use can be traced back to the Ancient Greeks!) has some nifty online software for creating them here.
- Use mnemonics. Memory tricks are also ancient; correctly used, they help to turn dry, difficult-to-remember information into rich, easy-to-remember information. Former tutor, Ed Cooke, has created this useful website, Memrise, for memorising. Stick mnemonics and other revision notes around the house to help your memorising.
- Teach – a friend, parent, pet, whoever. By trying to teach a topic to someone else, you make the information active. It is also a good way to discover whether you know the material or not.
- Be honest with yourself. Spending time making your revision plan is not revising. Organising that attractive set of index cards is not revising. Flicking through your file while chatting with your friends is not revising. Make your revision goal, rather than time, orientated so that you don’t kid yourself that just spending time in your room is revising. Remove distractions.
- Maintain balance. Do not hole yourself away. Make sure you balance a sensible revision timetable with friends, exercise and healthy eating.
- Equip yourself properly. Make sure that you have the stationery and resources you need to achieve your revision goals. Most exam boards now publish their own examination guides. Use them.
- Practice past exam papers and questions. Nothing is more effective than regular GCSE exam practice. Afterwards, make sure you review your performance with a teacher or tutor.