Exam Techniques, Tips and Tricks

Revising for exams can be pose a multi-faceted challenge.

A common way to learn facts, concepts and vocabulary is to read revision guides and make notes.

Research on how the brain works, however, shows that this is a slow and ineffective way of learning. This is because it doesn’t develop high level thinking skills like being able to link concepts from different topics.

As the revision period nears, it is important to equip yourself with the skills for effective, independent study. Here a few good starting points:

  1. Allocate one A4 folder to each subject. Use dividers to separate the topics and include insert a copy of the specification at the start. Highlight each learning objective once it has been reviewed to make sure that you don’t miss anything!

  2. A revision timetable should be sufficiently detailed to make sure that you know which learning objectives will be achieved in each session. This will help you to structure your time and work efficiently.

  3. Q&A cue cards can be useful if you are a visual learner or benefit from explaining concepts out loud. Test yourself or work with peers during focused group revision sessions.

  4. Use the educational resource www.memrise.com to revise and test your knowledge of keyword definitions. The glossaries of most classroom textbooks are already uploaded to the website.

  5. Take breaks! Taking 5 mins away from the computer screen every 30 minutes will help you to stay focused.

Last year, I worked with a number of students in the final weeks before GCSE and A level exams. We timetabled the content of tutorials to complement independent study time. This meant that my students were prepared for the tutorials and ready to ask questions! It was rewarding to see them follow a clear pathway of progression and, when the results came out in August, it showed that a structured approach to revision is invaluable for students to achieve their potential.

Hannah Titley, BYT Tutor

Hannah graduated from Oxford University in 2012 with a 2.1 degree in Biological Sciences. She currently teaches Science at a South West London school and achieved an outstanding rating for my PGCE teaching qualification.

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