At Shoeburyness High School, we run a linear curriculum. This means that content you are learning in each year builds in preparation for your final examinations. Revision therefore is essential for all year groups to embed the knowledge and understanding required to perform well and it is advisable that good study skills start as early as possible. We know that ALL students want to do well in their exams and in order to do so, you must revise – and you need to start revising now! However, some students aren’t too sure how to get themselves started on revision or how to get it organised properly. To guide them therefore and help them succeed, we have produced this guide on ‘how to revise effectively’
Revision simply means going back over what you already know and looking (vision) at it again (re): revision.
For GCSE and A Level students, please go to the 2020 Examination Timetables to help you structure your revision timetable.
How to revise effectively
- To revise well:
- There are no short-cuts – you will have to work
- You need to organise your time, so you know what you are going to revise and when
- You need to revise regularly – little and often is much more effective than big efforts late
- Start your revision NOW!
- Sit down and write yourself a revision timetable
- You need to revise 3 subjects every night for up to one hour each (with 5 minutes’ break between)
- You should also being doing 3 hours’ revision on Saturday and on Sunday
- Have 1 evening per week to do a completely different activity (sport, music, drama, cadets… )
- To write your revision timetable (tick them off when you’ve done them):
- Use the link below for a blank template that you can use to plan your timetable
- Write a list of all the subjects (and topics) you’ll have exams in (English, Literature, sciences…)
- Draw a grid for each two -week revision period; name the subject you’ll study in each session
- Also, start putting in the topics you need to cover in each of those subjects
- Now add what type of revision you’re going to do then (note taking, read + test, post-its…)
- Check that, over the remaining weeks, you’ll cover all the subjects and all the topics you’ve studied
- To revise effectively, you need to put away your phone and find somewhere quiet - then:
- Break your subjects and topics down into manageable chunks before you begin your revision
- Read through your notes carefully and highlight the key points you need to know
- Write out key points (still as notes/bullet points) in your own words; maybe write them on posters
- Display those posters around the house where you are bound to see them and take some notice
- Discuss the topics with friends and test each other to see what you can remember
- Stick to your timetable, with only the scheduled breaks, and take regular exercise to keep alert
- In the end, you need to find a method of revising effectively that works for you and stick to it
- To help you remember and recall the important information for the exam, you need to find revision techniques that you think are fun and you enjoy using; there are many of them. Try:
- Using highlighters and coloured pens to identify vital key points
- Making up rhymes that help information to stick (eg “…i before e except after c…”)
- Inventing acronyms (= words made up of initials), eg VAT = Value Added Tax
- Drawing mind maps: tree-shaped diagrams may help sort out ideas and create links in topics
- Writing notes on revision cards: carry them with you so you can use any spare moments to revise
- Sticking post-it notes with key points on them wherever you are most likely to see them at home
- Asking people at home to read your notes and test you on them (not friends – they will just chat!)
- Going back over what you have revised in your mind just before you go to sleep
In the exams
Now you have sorted out all your revision and you know absolutely everything about all the topics, all you have to do is to get a great mark in the exam.
Doing well in exams is very straightforward: you just need to know the right techniques for doing well.
Exams are NOT (and never have been!) a test of how clever you are. They simply test how good you are at doing this exam. In other words, do you know how to do well in this exam? Yes, of course you must know all the information about the subject and the topics in the exam, but then the trick is to know HOW to use that information most effectively.
- Make sure you’ve got what you need (black pens etc); don’t rely on school for these
- Everyone gets nervous before exams, that’s fine – you wouldn’t be normal if you didn’t
- Just breathe deeply and remember you’re there because you CAN do the exam
- When they say “You may begin…” DON’T!!! – at least DO NOT BEGIN TO WRITE YET
- Instead, get your highlighter and read through the instructions and the questions
- You must answer the question that’s been set, not the one you wanted them to set!
- Read the question you are going to answer first very carefully and highlight key words
- This means you will know what you’ve got to do when you actually start writing
- Think about it: if you don’t know what the targets are how can you hit them?
- Remember: answer the question that’s been set, you’ll lose the marks if you don’t
- Now spend a few minutes planning how you are going to answer that question
- Write notes; plan paragraphs; list key points (only cross them out at the end, ONCE)
- Then, when you know what to do, start writing – take no notice of what others are doing
- Make sure you know how long you’ve got to answer each question; watch the clock
- Write your answers NEATLY and CLEARLY: other humans have got to read your writing!
- If the examiners can’t read your writing how can they give you a mark? Communicate!!!
- If there’s more than one part to the question, make sure you answer them all
- Use brief evidence and examples to support all the points you are making: don’t waffle!
- Don’t waste time copying questions; only write words that will get you extra marks
- Remember, just ONE extra mark could move you up into the next grade, so keep writing
- Use all the time you are given to answer the question; there’s no bonus for finishing early!
- At the end, check your answer quickly: spell any words on the exam paper correctly
- Just imagine that day in August when you’ll open the envelope and get great grades!!!