It’s that time of year when back to school pictures flood our news feeds. Pristine condition uniform, new pens, new bags and new shoes. But for many it’s the start of preparation for their GCSE’s or the beginning of their final year. I’m going to talk about some things that helped me pass my exams (and survive the final daunting years of high school!)
The final school years are tough for everyone, although some people pretend they aren’t affected and that terrifies the worriers even more! I best get started with some tips.
- Revision timetable
I set aside 3 hours every night for 3 subjects and interspersed them over the course of 2 weeks. I believe that it was crucial for me to have one night off and that for me was a Friday which coincidentally worked very well with my hobbies. Although, being totally honest, there were some nights when I got home and I couldn’t think of anything worse than revising at that moment! (But I did stick to it 90% of the time!!!)
Flashcards were my saving grace, they worked incredibly well for me and had me with the knowledge of those hefty textbooks! I found that completing my flashcards as each topic came along was massively beneficial (over the course of year 10 and 11) When it came to exam season so many of my peers were stressing having not got all of their flashcards prepared or revision material but I however, didn’t suffer that problem. I would hugely recommend making revision notes/flashcards (whatever works for you) as each topic comes along. It’s extremely helpful.
- Mock exams
Do not think that what you get in your mock exams is what you’re going to get in your final exams. Should that have been failing and having the embarrassment of being called out in class for getting HORRIFIC results or succeeding and teachers applauding you left right and centre. It doesn’t quite work like that. There’s still plenty of time to improve but also lots of time to fail. Some of my peers did extraordinarily well in their mocks so became overly confident in some subjects (so began to revise less in those subjects) and that led to them doing worse than expected in their final exams – however vice versa for some of my other peers!
- Leisure activities
No matter how much you think you must revise, it is not good for you to spend your whole life revising. Getting out and exercising is very important. Exercise releases a hormone in your body called endorphin’s and this helps to reduce stress. Taking some time for yourself is crucial.
- Eating and drinking
Particularly during exam season (although it’s important ALL the time!!) it is vital to eat and drink healthily. Eating well reduces strain on your body and therefore making you feel better overall, the same applies for drinking – drink plenty of water. As a result you’ll feel much healthier and therefore that means no missed days at school (this helps to ensure that you’ve been present in all your lessons assuring you better results)
It’s very important to set a place for yourself to revise in – preferably at a desk or table and not in your room. Revising in your room leaves you open to more distractions which is not beneficial. Consistency is the key when revising so try to ensure that it is in the same location. It’s also useful to keep all your revision and school materials in one place to ensure that you don’t lose any.
If you’re studying languages, a whiteboard will become your best friend. I found that for my languages speaking and written exams when you have to learn at least a full A4 page of a foreign language off by heart. A whiteboard quite literally saved my back. Continuously repeating the same line and writing it out again and again ensures it stays in your memory (unfortunately I can still recall some of my German paragraphs that I did back in year 9, I know – tragic, but at least it works!)
There is an app on the app store called Gojimo (I’m not sure about android phones – sorry!) It’s a useful app and it has a variety of subjects on it and it is very useful for a quick revision session on the go. I often used it as I often go on long car journeys and it can always be something to do when you’re bored at home or in public (it’s also a discreet way of revising as you don’t have sizable folders and sheets of paper)
- Revision techniques
It’s vital that you understand what works best for you when revising as everyone is a different learner. For me it was flashcards and repetition. It’s best to find out this sooner rather than later as that way you can make sure that when you’re revising it is actually beneficial. If you spend hours on end revising and nothing goes in – then perhaps that just isn’t the method for you.
Do not stress yourself to the core, it simply isn’t worth it. Your life doesn’t depend on an exam result – there are always other paths to take.
I wish you all luck with your GCSE’s and I hope that you all do as well as you hope.
All the love, Jess x