GCSEs. Horrendous for most, great for some.
Yet regardless of how we feel about them – or at least felt about them at one point or another – we can all agree on one thing: like all exams, the stress it brings for its candidates is often immense. It requires hard work, hard work and… you guessed it, a little more hard work.
For starters revision is a long, tiresome process – one which many students avoid as much as possible, choosing instead to procrastinate by watching a little TV, flicking through their social media accounts, playing on various types of consoles and so on.
The good news is that it’s almost never as hard as it seems at a glance. You can also reassure yourself by thinking about how there are thousands of other candidates – some teenagers, some returning students – that are going to be sitting the very same exams you are. There’s also the fact that pretty much everyone you encounter in your life has also sat similar exams, no matter what the form.
Now for what we came for: the much-awaited revision tips that – if followed diligently – will help you smash those exams. Of course there are also some other tips that have been scattered across previous articles such as “A Beginner‘s Guide to the ‘Wishy-Washiness’ of GCSE English”, “Concentration of Children”, “Coping with the Final Year”, “Supply Teachers and Self-Awareness” and “The Importance of GCSE Maths” but you can never really have too many.
Just remember: always pick up on what works for you.
Although these articles are varied and aim to support as many students as possible with their studies, not everyone learns the same way so it’s important to pick and choose the hints and tips you adhere to.
1.Try Revision Books
A simple search into your favourite search engine – whatever that may be – can lead to you discovering millions of textbooks: all published and printed and ready to be used, designed specifically for students such as yourself. Textbooks may not work for everyone, but they can be a great starting point – especially since nowadays they usually come with practice questions and answers as well as online ebooks or printable flashcards.
2. Make the most of Holidays
In particular: Easter. I’ve found that for year 11 students, Easter is the best time to step back and reflect, but also to get your head down and do some hard-core revision – even a couple of hours is fine. You’ll still have more than enough time to go out with friends or snuggle into the sofa.
3. Be Sure You Understand it All
The key to getting the best grades is to be prepared for whatever is thrown at you. Now the best way to do this is through application. Find as many questions as possible – from as many different sources as possible to check whether you are able to answer questions pertaining to a topic regardless of the form in which the question presents the topic. That’s how you will truly know whether you understand that particular topic in depth.
4. Keep Calm and Breath
Don’t let the stress get to you. If you’re struggling that’s fine. Just get help. Although for some people it isn’t as simple as that but always remember that there are people out there who will support you: whether it be by choice like with your friends and family, or if it’s part of their job.
5. Never Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Of course this one kind of links back to my previous point. But it’s kind of important. Whether you’re struggling with a topic, a question, or with managing the stress: always remember that – as cliché as it may sound – help is never too far away.
6. Know the Exam Board
Teachers and tutors can help with this one. Knowing your exam board and understanding what they want to see is the easiest way to secure marks. Mark schemes are useful when it comes to this. For example for Biology, there’s usually simple phrases that examiners look for when awarding marks – look for patterns in previous exam papers and other sample papers to help with this.
A trend with students is that they prefer to revise the subjects that they’re good at. Yes it’s still important to revise that particular subject – as long as it’s not at the expense of other subjects.