GCSE season is fast approaching. The exams you’ve been studying for the last two years are on the horizon, and if you haven’t already, it’s time to start revising. Now we know it’s a scary prospect. After all, everyone learns in different ways, and there’s no one correct way to revise. To help you out, we’ve given you some tips on how to revise successfully, including eating properly, making sure you take enough breaks, and having your friends for support.
1. Go offline
There’s nothing more distracting than seeing that you’ve got a new Snapchat, your best friend has posted on Instagram or that you’ve been tagged in a meme about attempting to revise. Get all the information you need from websites first, and then sit away from all phones, laptops and tablets. You’ll probably receive a lecture from your parents about how they had to revise “in their day”, but at least you’ll be able to focus.
2. Revise what you actually need to revise
It’s easy to look up a topic online on a random revision website, however everything in that section might not be relevant to you and your studies. Make sure you fully understand the exam/assessment criteria, check what is likely to come up in exams and most importantly – always read the question! One word as simple as ‘can’ or ‘can’t’ could change the meaning of the question.
3. Rise and shine – literally
“I’ll just play FIFA for half an hour then I’ll start”, or “I’ll just watch one more episode” are famous last words when it comes to making time to revise. Your brain is most active in the morning, meaning you’ll be more productive and find it easier to focus. Not to mention that once you’ve got your revision out of the way, you’ve got the rest of the day to binge watch Netflix to your heart’s content.
4. How do you like your eggs in the morning?
As well as being an early riser, you’ve got to make sure your brain has the right fuel to focus. Foods such as wholegrains (brown bread, rice and pasta) release glucose slowly into the bloodstream, giving you lasting energy. You could even have an almost fry up for breakfast with some oily fish, tomatoes and eggs, and then a handful of nuts for a snack. Hungry for something else? Find out what other foods will get your brain working here.
5. Take regular breaks
Of course working hard is important, but for the sake of your sanity, make sure you take breaks every 30-45 minutes. Even if you just go for a quick walk round the garden or make a cup of tea, give your brain a short rest to recharge, and stretch those legs.
6. Get up and go!
Exercise is vital for a healthy brain. Physical activity increases your heart rate, making blood circulate around your body faster, ensuring the brain gets more oxygen, reducing tiredness and stress. Not to mention it’s a great release for any built up tension you may have.
7. Get creative
Spending hours staring at a word document or black and white cue cards is enough to make anyone’s eyelids start to drop, so why not jazz up your revision with some colour coding, stickers, and maybe even some glitter. You could even change the words to your favourite songs to help you remember facts and figures.
8. Go with the flow
Once you’ve got creative with your revision, how about creating some flow charts, diagrams, charts, and timelines, these are especially good for people that find it easier to learn visually, and are especially helpful at learning dates and percentages.
9. I’ll be there for you
Who said you’ve got to go through this alone? Your friends can either be a distraction or a massive help, but getting a small group of you together to revise the same thing can be a huge help, as they might understand something differently to you. Compare notes and test each other, who knows – you might even have some fun and learn something at the same time.
10. Read past papers and assignments
You can look on exam board websites, or ask your teachers for the previous years’ papers or coursework criteria. It’s unlikely that similar questions will appear again, and you can have a go at a few papers in your own time to see how you get on, and where your strengths and weaknesses lie.