Revision tips from GCSE students

Last Updated: 18 May 23
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    

You must know how to revise to achieve your best grades in your GCSEs. You need to understand how to develop sound exam techniques. You need to know how to build up your confidence.

Former GCSE students suggest some revision techniques and tips which have worked for them:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Know the Exam Requirements. Print off a copy of the Exam Syllabus/Specification for each subject. Ensure you know which Exam Board you are preparing for (Edexcel, OCR, AQA, Eduqas, WJEC, IGCSE). The Exam Specification will provide a breakdown of the topics you must cover. It will also help you identify the demands of each separate exam paper.
  4. 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 the exam week, your notes should have become condensed to just one side of A4.
  5. Practice Past Papers. You can access past exam papers online. 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.
  6. 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. Find a healthy balance.
  7. 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're going to do something and then you do it. Recognise and reward your achievements.
  8. 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.
Keep things in perspective; this is just a GCSE Exam...

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