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Highdown School
and Sixth Form Centre

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 1. Create a revision timetable

Building a revision timetable can add structure to your revision and help you to identify which subjects you need to prioritise to get better marks.

Research shows that shorter periods of revision (about 30 minutes) work best, because your concentration is much higher. Therefore take regular short breaks. You can also mix the order of the subjects. The example below shows what a revision day might look like in the run up to your exams:

9.00-9.30 Subject 1
Break 5 mins
9.35-10.05 Subject 1
Break 5 mins
10.10-10.40 Subject 2
Break 5 mins
10.45-11.15 Subject 2
Break 30 mins
11.45-12.15 Subject 3
Break 5 mins
12.20-12.50 Subject 3
Break 1 hour
13.50-14.20 Subject 1
Break 5 mins
14.25-14.55 Subject 2
Break 5 mins
15.00-15.30 Subject 3
Break 5 mins
15.35-16.05 Subject 1

 2. Revision must be active!

This does not mean that you have to run around your bedroom when you revise. It does mean that whatever revision technique you use it must involve you actively manipulating the information you are learning. This could mean making revision cards, mind maps, practice questions, a quiz with a learning partner or making a podcast.

 3. Exercise

Physical activity is really important, especially during intense periods of revision. Even a little exercise after a day of revision can improve your well-being. Physical activity increases the heart rate which makes the blood circulate faster. This in turn ensures that the brain gets more oxygen which increases productivity whilst reducing tiredness and stress.

 4. Find a quiet space

This is simple, but so important. You must have a space where you can work uninterrupted. This might be your bedroom or the library. Set up your revision space so you have everything you need. Don’t set yourself up to fail at revision because ‘I need to look for my text book’ or ‘my pen has run out of ink’. Get rid of things that will distract you while revising, for example, turn the TV off and leave your phone in another room!

 5. Eat a frog for breakfast!

Question: If at some point in the day you have to eat a frog, would you eat it for breakfast, lunch or dinner?
Answer: Breakfast.
Why Breakfast? Because the horrible thing, that you know you have to do, is done. You can then get on and enjoy your day.
Therefore start your revision in the morning, (at weekends) or when you get home from school. Then when you have completed some quality revision you can do something you enjoy, guilt free.

 6. Use mind maps to connect ideas

Mind maps are an alternative way of setting out your notes. They can be great for connecting ideas and making associations. Adding colour and drawings to mind maps is another way to help you visualise them in an exam so that you can ‘retrieve’ the information you want.

 7. Do plenty of past papers

Get past papers or past paper questions from your teachers. You can also get them form the exam board websites, (make sure you know which exam board and specification you are studying).Great exam technique can be the difference between grades. Know how long to spend on each question, how much detail you need, when description will do and when you have to explain, evaluate, analyse and use own knowledge.

 8. Make summary notes

Once you have made revision notes, make them again, perhaps in a different style. Can you take a large amount of information and reduce it to notes and then reduce it again, and again? This can be very tedious, but research shows that it can be very effective.

 9. Adapt revision for different exams

Different exams require different skills. Therefore adapt your revision technique to fit your exam. Flash cards might be great for learning key terms for a languages exam, an online quiz might be great to test maths skills and mind maps might be great for learning case studies for geography.

 10. Reward yourself

It cannot all be about work. You must treat yourself sometimes too. This is important to help stay motivated and reduce stress. Getting the balance right between study and leisure will help you get top marks. The motto here is, work hard and play not quiet-as-hard.

 11. Think Positive

Having an ‘I can’ rather than an ‘I can’t’ attitude is really important. Revision is difficult, but by chunking it up into manageable sections you will soon be able to see the impact of your hard work.

 12. The day of your exam

Reduce your anxiety by having prepared for the exam well. Arrive in good time and have all the correct equipment with you. Attend the warm up session if one has been provided.