With exams just around the corner, the time for preparation and revision is nearly at an end. You probably feel like you’ve been revising forever but there is still time to make a big difference if you use your time wisely.
Use a small amount of time before the exams to get organised so you know when your exams are, where they are and what you need to take with you. This will reduce how nervous you feel immediately before the exam, and reduce the chance for last minute panic if you can’t find something you need.
Make a timetable or calendar of the exams and display it prominently. Build in time for revision of subjects as the exams come up within your timetable, but avoid spending so much time making your timetable that you don’t have time to revise.
Top-up your revision
Even if you have revised everything you need already, it is important to keep this information in your immediate memory. You can use your notes to go over the key points but you are more likely to retain the information if you interact with it. Creating bullet point lists, flash cards or summary posters will help. In addition you could use one of the many online resources available to check your knowledge.
If you find it difficult to revise for written sources, you just have to get more creative. Prepare and deliver a presentation to friends or family about a topic that you find difficult, or hold a small group class where you teach the skills you need. Being able to teach something requires a very detailed knowledge, so if you can do this you will easily cope with any exam questions. If taking a language GCSE, then spend time only talking in that language to help increase your confidence. Another great tip is to read a newspaper or magazine written in that language. What is most important, whichever revision method you choose, is that you regularly dip in and recap so it is at the forefront of your mind at the time of the exam.
Target your revision and preparation
It is not uncommon for students to spend hours revising for a subject with little gain. If you ever feel like this happens, it might be because you’re not choosing the right revision. For example, when revising Maths, students will often ignore the most difficult topics and practice questions on topics they know that they can do. This is good way to boost confidence, but it doesn’t actually help develop the skills required to overcome difficult questions. Effective revision should ensure you spend more time working on the things you find difficult, than the stuff that comes easy.
One way of overcoming this is to aim for a particular grade. For example, if you are working comfortably at a B grade you should target the skills or knowledge needed at an A grade and focus your time on those. Ask your teacher or tutor for guidance if you are not sure what is needed at the grades you aspire to.
Practice exam style answers
There is a difference between knowing information, and answering questions in an exam. In the exam it is important that you are able to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding clearly. Make time to practice writing out full answers to past questions. This will help you feel more confident that you can repeat this in the exam itself.
Manage your stress
All of these activities can help with last minute revision, but you also need to consider your emotional wellbeing over this period. As the exams draw closer, it is perfectly natural to start feeling nervous and anxious. Keeping organised and calm during your revision and preparing for the exam are all part of this. If you know what is coming and that you have the knowledge and skills required, your stress levels will be lower and, as a result, you will do better. With this in mind, it is equally important to build in downtime so you can relax. Build in a regular, daily time for other activities or hobbies within your revision schedule to make sure you have a break, if only for a short time. Prioritise a healthy diet and getting a good night’s sleep also, as all of this will get you both mentally and emotionally prepared for the exam period.
Spending the time to organise yourself and making the right choices about your revision at this stage will make a big difference to your success in the exams. Remember that quality is better than quantity so revise well and prioritise sensibly so that you can achieve your goals. Good luck!
If you have any other suggestions or ideas about revision, why not share them in the comments box so others can benefit from the things that work for you?