The Opendays.com guide to revision and exam preparation

There are no hard and fast rules to preparing for exams: everyone has their own methods. Some people do little preparation and achieve good results whilst others struggle to achieve. Although many GSCE/S-level and AS-level/A-level/Higher courses have course-assessed elements these days, most are still made up of a proportion of exam assessment as well, so here are a few points to bear in mind.


BEFORE YOU START Make sure that you obtain a copy of the syllabus for every subject that you are taking before you start revising. Find a quiet and comfortable, well-light place and read through your notes, comparing them with the syllabus. Do this about six to eight weeks before the exams (definitely before study-leave) so that you have time to fill in any gaps in your notes.

MANAGING STUDY LEAVE AND PLANNING REVISION You will suddenly find that you have lots of time to revise. How do you manage it?

  • Even if you don't normally plan things, try to devote a certain amount of each day to revision.

  • Most people can concentrate better in the mornings - try not to revise late at night.

  • Plan breaks from revision (such as a full day off every other weekend). A full day off can be worth a great deal more than several periods of 3-hour stints. Certainly don't sacrifice your social life completely - but don't go out every night either!

  • When revising, some experts recommend a 10-minute break for every 20 minutes revision. Some people, however, feel more comfortable with a break every half and hour or forty minutes. Whatever your strategy, don't overwork yourself.

  • Make a revision plan. Prioritise your subjects, concentrating on those subjects that you find most difficult. Use pencil, so that you can make changes, and cross out tasks as you complete them. Make the plan realistic: don't forget to take account of days off.

STAYING ACTIVE Don't just read through your notes…

  • Make short outlines of topics, making notes of all the important topics.

  • Ensure that you have plenty of past exam papers and practise answers to them.

  • Ask people to test you, record your own voice, do what ever you feel comfortable with provided that it is not just reading through notes, which is passive revision - you cannot hope remember as much by just reading.

ON THE DAY Get early so that you have plenty of time to prepare. Have a good breakfast (and lunch if it's a p.m. exam) and arrive at the exam hall early. Once you're in the exam, relax. If you feel nervous, look at the ceiling and suck a mint. Then get down to the test!

 

Best of Luck!

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