Here are our top tips to help you revise
Make out a timetable that is realistic but allows you to cover all the topics you require. You should revise in short episodes with plenty of breaks. Experimental psychology tells us that our attention span deteriorates rapidly after 45 minutes of study. Allow for 45 minute sessions with 15 minute intervals.
Your timetable should allow you to study in blocks. Ideally in the morning revise from 10 -1 each day (i.e. 3 x 45 minute periods). You should use your time in school or college productively; do not waste time during the day so that you have more time to relax in the evenings. Make sure that if you are not studying, your parents/guardians are aware that this is your allowed rest period.
There is no point in spending a long period of time revising material that you are comfortable with, whilst ignoring that which you are finding more difficult. Keep a record of the topics covered, this is much more important than the number of hours spent studying.
Try to stick to revising the topics that you find difficult and are not comfortable with. There is no point in going over easier material that you already know.
Closer to the start of the examinations period, concentrate on past papers. Test your understanding by trying questions from previous exams on the topic you are working on. If it is proving too difficult, use your notes and your books until you can complete past paper questions. Stick to this method. Closer to the actual exams, it is essential to focus intensely on responding to exam-style questions rather than attempting to go through all your notes again.
If you learn well by listening, dictate your revision to tape or mp3 then listen to it when it suits you. Other ways are to write notes or use mind-maps to summarise ideas. Only a very small number of students learn through reading alone. Revising actively rather than passively is the best policy.
Summarise your notes as your exam date approaches. Condense the notes into bulletpoints. Predictions are risky and could leave you vulnerable on examination day. What is good is familiarizing yourself with past paper questions and practice them. Try these to test conditions i.e. under time.
Physically prepare yourself for the oncoming exams. Do not start a diet, or go out late partying. Aim to have plenty of sleep and try not stay up late studying or using TV/music/computer games. Perhaps relax this practice on the weekend or while doing an evening job. Keep a healthy diet, especially breakfast. Exercise regularly, it will help you to sleep and relax.
If the stress is too much, make sure to tell someone. There is always help at hand; a teacher, a parent, a friend, and you should always use whatever support is available.
Phone a friend. If there are topics that you are unsure about, discuss these with your friends and share your ideas and knowledge. To explain a difficult concept means that you have to know and understand it.
Check your examination equipment and timetable, always allowing plenty of time to reach the exam hall.
Bring all the equipment you will need. Do you need a calculator, a new pen, pencil, ruler, tissues etc?
If you are feeling ill the days before or on the day of the examination, you should inform your teacher and special consideration might be awarded to you. For this, you will need a doctor's note. Unfortunately coughs and colds are unlikely to come under this allowance. If you are ill in this way, take plenty of sleep, take on plenty of liquids and allow yourself more time to get to the exam. Take a supply of tissues and lozenges with you and you can ask to sit near
Exams are not designed to trip you up. They want to test your knowledge of a topic and this is what you must try to show.
Arrange your time according to the mark allocations given for each question. Why write a long spiel for a two-mark question when you could be using that time to answer a longer question with more marks available? It is better to answer three questions well than to answer one very well and leave the other two rushed and poorly answered.
Relax. Yes, this is easier said than done, but being confident in your own ability is the first step to helping you relax.
Reading over your notes just before you enter the exam room can be both relaxing and reassuring. It is best to have lists or short summaries that you can easily look over.
When your exam has started, familiarize yourself with the questions and read through the first question slowly and carefully. Only then should you start to answer. Begin with the easiest question first. Make sure that you know what the question is asking you.
Generally if you feel that you know the answer, you probably do! Write it down. If you really do not know, don't panic and try to remember something your teacher said during class and at least attempt it. If you really haven't got a clue, forget it and move on quickly to the next question.
If you have to write essays - use an essay plan and allow yourself time to structure this response. Refer back to the question in your answer. Always answer the question that has been set, not the one you wish had been set. Highlighting key words in a question should help you to focus on your answer.
Good handwriting, spelling, punctuation and grammar are important. With hundreds of scripts to mark, an examiner is not going to spend a great deal of time trying to read poor handwriting and sloppy presentation.
Avoid post mortems if at all possible. It is better to divert your energies into the next exam on your timetable than to get concerned about something you may or may not have done.