So, you have your GCSE or A-Level exams this year…
Is the threat of exams looming over you? It may feel like every single spare second is meant to be dedicated to revision for your exams in May. Or maybe you feel like they’re so far away you don’t actually need to worry yet… No matter what you’re thinking, there’s a way to make sure that you can revise while still enjoying the last few months of school!
Revision is important
I’m sure you’ve heard your teachers say that your exams will be here before you know it… And while there are a good few months before they officially start, it’s important to start thinking about revision now and get a head start on everything.
You might be thinking that you don’t actually need to revise; when it comes to the exams, you’ll just be able to remember everything and ace it, right? Unfortunately, that is not the case for the majority of students. Plus, revision actually has some great benefits for both your academic and your personal improvement.
By practising continuous revision, there will be constant opportunities for you to reflect and review the content that you would have covered so far. This means that you’ll be able to identify any problem areas early on and work through them long before your exams actually happen.
Another benefit to revising is a simple one. Confidence. If you’ve put in the time and effort beforehand to prepare for your exams, you’ll walk into that hall knowing that you’ve done everything you can and that you’re ready for whatever that exam throws at you. Even if you don’t know all the content, feeling confident can help you to answer as many questions as possible with as much detail as possible, something you may not have done with no revision.
So, revision is really beneficial in helping you to secure the grades that you want.
But breaks are really important too
While revision is really important, it’s vital to take breaks. Constant revision can actually do more harm than good, and lead to burn out. While exams and academic life is important, your mental health is also incredibly important and deserves to be looked after.
When revising for long periods of time, it’s vital that you take breaks often to allow yourself to take a step back and have a breather. Personally, I like to take a small 5 minute break every 30 minutes to have a drink, grab a snack if I need it and to stretch my legs. More often than not, when I sit back down to continue working, I feel much more motivated and able to complete my task. While this may not work for everyone, it’s a good starting point and you can always adapt from there.
It’s also important to schedule yourself in rest days. It’s widely known that working out at the gym seven days a week without a break is not great for your body, so why would you do the same to your brain? Scheduling a rest day where you don’t think about revision will not only help your productivity but will also help you to not hate the work. Non-stop revision could lead to a resentment of the work when, in reality, it’s not all bad.
So, what is the balance?
A big part of making sure your revision runs smoothly is to create a timetable. One of the best ways to do this is to start with your exam dates and work backwards. For example, let’s say you have your Maths Paper 1 on the 19th of May. In the run up to the exam, one of the easiest (and sometimes most effective) ways to revise is to practice past exam questions or papers. Therefore, it would be good to schedule in some past paper practice a few times a week from April until May. Working backwards from that, you can then schedule in yourself a few sessions a week that address the different topics you would expect to see on this paper. For example, maybe this week you start with algebra, then next week you work on probability. As you go through the weeks, make sure to space out the learning. Remember, little and often is the most effective way to revise.
It’s also important is to make sure you’ve found the right revision technique for you. Some of your classmates might prefer mind-maps, others may create posters or maybe they use flashcards. Regardless of what they prefer, it’s important to find what works for you. It may take a little while (and a little bit of trial and error) or maybe you already know the right techniques for you. Whatever they are, make sure the revision is active and not passive. This means that just reading your notes will not be enough!
Finally, it’s good to make sure that you’re keeping it interesting. Students in the past have found that using rewards has an incentive to keep motivated with their revision. For example, every time you complete a topic or spend 30 minutes actively revising, you get a chocolate bar! This can make revision a little more interesting. Making the tasks more fun can also help with revision! This could be as simple as using an app instead of doing it on paper. Remember to keep taking regular breaks, and if you need a day off, then that’s okay. By starting now, you’ll be able to give yourself plenty of rest time before the dreaded exams.
It’s important to make sure that you’re making it as fun as possible. Education doesn’t have to be boring, and it can actually be quite interesting once you find the right methods for you. Remember, everybody is different; what works for your peers may not work for you. And, frustratingly, some don’t have to put in as much effort.
But, if you’re struggling to manage it yourself, our tutors are able to help with almost every subject, and they’re also great at helping to create revision timetables and developing study skills too! Contact us here for more information!