Revision is boring and there are so many more things that you can find to do instead. It is just the perfect time to tidy your room, colour code your revision timetable or make a snack. As a former teacher, my students would often ask me exactly ‘how to revise for GCSE’. This post will provide and explain the techniques that really work.
Revision needs to be done. It might be 20 years ago now but I remember the distraction techniques I used. I would get all my stuff together, look at the weather and think that I’ll go revise outside, cue my papers blowing all over the place so I got fed up and would take a break. Does this sound familiar? Today’s students need to revise but often say they don’t know how to revise for GCSE exams.
I wrote a while back about 7 tips to help your teenager study and today wanted to look at methods for studying. As parents, we do have a role to play. We often tell our children to go and revise, but what does that mean? what should they actually do? As parents, this is where we can really help. Find them the resources they need and print off the past papers. Once completed use the mark scheme mark their efforts. Get the young people marking their work too as this is invaluable for seeing what the markscheme requires.
Do You Want to Know How to Revise? Use these proven strategies for success.
1. Read through your notes, copying out keywords or phrases onto cards.
This method does have a place it is great for learning definitions, for learning how to spell key words and for remembering quotes. Definitions are especially important for mix and match type questions. Many papers start with these type of questions and they are the marks that students really need to bank. Stock up on Silvine Revision and Presentation Cards as these are a good size and do the job.
2. Getting someone to question you – ideal job for mum or dad.
Having to explain something to someone else ensures that the person explaining really understands their stuff. If they cannot clearly and concisely explain it you they don’t fully understand it.
3. Mind maps
These are useful for drawing ideas together and are especially useful for visual learners. Visual learners will remember the mind map and its links. This is a good way for preparing for essay questions. Make the mind maps colourful and add symbols or doodles if they help you remember ideas.
4. Past papers
This is simply the best way to revise, no doubt about it. Completing past papers ensures that you are using the correct terminology and the mark scheme means that you can see exactly what the examiner is looking for. Thankfully OCR, AQA and the other exam boards all have past papers and mark schemes that you can print directly from their websites. make sure you know the exam board you are using and then find past papers. A google search will lead you to the right place. You can also buy revision guides that have past or typical questions in. I recommend the Letts GCSE Practice Test Papers they are available from a number of subjects and are very affordable at around the £5/6 mark.
5. Start revision early
You should be revising well in advance of the exam. You are not learning the content otherwise just trying to memorise it. That isn’t enough to ensure success
These simple methods are what really works. I am a teacher with many years classroom experience and there are no shortcuts. It just takes time and some clear strategies. Take a look at my when to start revising for GCSE post whilst you are here.