To achieve your best grades in your GCSEs in June 2019, you need to know the best way to revise. You need to know how to develop good exam technique. You need to know how to build your confidence. Here we provide some tips, based on knowledge gathered from interviews with former GCSE students:
Create a Timetable. This will be a realistic plan for your revision. Schedule the date of each GCSE exam. Break down each subject and plan the revision for each subject area. Schedule small chunks of revision and vary the subjects to begin building some momentum. And remember: once you start, it gets easier! As with fitness, you need to get yourself to the gym, the rest is easy.
Start revising early. To commit something to memory takes time. Spreading out revision sessions on a particular topic (eg one-hour sessions over 10 days) is more effective than spending the same amount of time in one go (10 hours in one day). This effect, known as ‘spacing’ or ‘distributed practice’ helps because it allows time in between revision sessions to forget and re-learn the material. This strategy is considered one of the most effective in the entire history of experimental research on learning and memory.
Organise each subject. You will be preparing for 8 to 10 different subject examinations. For each subject, gather your notes, exercise books, text books and other resources. Separate piles, separate folders.
Know the exam requirements. Print off a copy of the exam specification for each subject. The Exam Specification will provide you with a breakdown of the topics that you need to cover. It will also help you identify the demands of each of the separate exam papers.
Use memory aids – mnemonics and flashcards as they help to memorise and retain information. Listen to podcasts, watch videos or documentaries on any given subject – it’ll broaden your knowledge and understanding and make it easier to remember. If you like making notes during revision, make sure that by the end of revision all your notes on the subject comprise a single A4 sheet.
Practice past papers. You can access past exam papers online. Make sure you choose the correct Exam Board. Schedule one exam paper each week for each subject. Create your own exam conditions. Mark your own exam papers so that you understand the marking scheme. Ask your teacher or friends for extra help if there are topics you don’t understand.
Look after your body. Take time to rest and relax. Spend some planned time with friends, eat nutritious food, drink lots of water, sleep long and deep.
Build Confidence. Confidence is built on accomplishment, so get things done. Small things to start with. Follow through your revision plan. You will respect yourself if you say you are going to do something, and then you do it. Recognise and reward your achievements.
On GCSE Exam Day – eat a good breakfast. Test yourself, it is one of the most effective ways to improve your ability to recall information. If you find any gaps in your knowledge, go back and re-read your notes. Have all your equipment organised and ready to go. Get to school in good time.
Stay cool, this is just a GCSE exam…