How to revise for GCSEs. Top 10 Tips for GCSE Revision

Last Updated: 30 Apr 24
GCSE students in their exam hall, doing their GCSE exams | Teachers To your Home

"Just believe in yourself. Even if you do not, pretend that you do and, at some point, you will."

- Venus Williams

As the GCSE exams approach, the pressure to excel can feel overwhelming. However, with the right approach, with hard work, and a touch of self-belief, you can achieve your best. Here are some revision techniques and tips from former GCSE students which have worked for them.

Top 10 Tips for GCSE Revision

1. Start early, ... and believe in yourself

"Start early" is more than just a mantra; it's a strategy endorsed by all top achievers. Create a timetable. The first step is to create a realistic plan for your revision. It doesn't need to be pretty or high-tech; a piece of paper will do. Schedule when each GCSE exam will take place. Break down each subject and plan the revision for each subject area. Schedule small chunks of revision and vary the subjects to begin to build some momentum. Once you start, it will become easier … as the inertia reduces. Believe in your ability to succeed, even if you're not feeling confident initially.

2. Organise your materials

Organise each subject. You will be preparing for 8 to 10 different GCSE Examinations. Gather your notes, exercise books, textbooks, and resources for each subject in separate piles and folders. Knowing where your materials are will streamline your study sessions and reduce unnecessary stress.

3. Understand exam requirements

Familiarise yourself with the exam syllabus for each subject. Know the exam requirements for each exam paper. Ensure you know which exam board you are preparing for and print off a copy of the syllabus (specification) for each, which you can find here:

The exam specification will provide a breakdown of the topics you must cover and help you identify the demands of each separate exam paper. Identify the topics you need to cover and the format of each exam paper. Knowing the exam requirements will guide your revision strategy and ensure you're adequately prepared.

4. Make effective notes

Make notes. Go through your school books and begin to make notes. Write notes again and again, each time more condensed. If you only read to revise, you will retain some of the content … if you write notes to revise, you will retain much more. Use memory aids, mnemonics, and flashcards if you find them helpful. Listen to podcasts, watch videos or documentaries, moving to a new study area. By exam week, your notes should have been condensed to just one side of A4.

5. Move around

Getting away from your desk is the most productive way to spend your study break. Exercise for revision can improve focus, memory, and the chance to readdress any hard topics with a fresh mind. A simple walk around the block can be all it takes to improve your quality of learning.

6. Practice, practice, practice

You can access, download and print past GCSE exam papers and (marking schemes) in our exam library.

Make sure you choose the correct exam boards (Edexcel, OCR, AQA, Eduqas, WJEC, IGCSE). Schedule one exam paper each week for each subject. Create your own exam conditions. Mark your own exam papers so that you understand the marking scheme. Ask your teacher or your friends for extra help if there are topics you do not understand.

7. Take care of yourself

Revision is demanding, but don't neglect your well-being. Look after your body. Take the time you need to rest and relax from your studies. Spend some planned time with your friends. Eat nutritious food. Drink lots of water. Sleep long and deep. Finding a healthy balance is essential for sustained focus and energy.

8. Build confidence through action

Build confidence. Confidence is built on accomplishment, so get things done—small things to start with. Follow through on your plan. You will respect yourself if you say you will do something and then you do it. Recognise and reward your achievements.  A confident mindset will carry you through exam day with poise and assurance.

9. Prepare for exam day

On exam day, eat a good breakfast. Read through your single page of notes a few times to calm your nerves. Have all your equipment organised and ready to go. Get to school in good time.

10. Keep perspective

Remember, GCSE exams are just one part of your academic life. Keep things in perspective and maintain a positive outlook. Regardless of the outcome, your efforts and dedication will pay off.

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