Exam revision made easy
As each year passes, the stakes unfortunately get higher for students sitting GCSE and A-Level exams. Competition increases, whilst fewer university places are offered for top courses in medicine, engineering, law, computing and maths.
Never have the stakes for achieving top grades been higher. Whether you child needs the best grades to get into college to study A-Levels or is trying to gain university entry, there is a light at the end of what can seem like an awfully long tunnel and starting revision sooner rather than later is the key to success. Even for those not seeking to go to university, getting decent GCSE grades in English, Maths and Science can unlock access to many vocational courses leading to a brighter future.
Every year, it never fails to surprise pupils how quickly the exam revision season arrives. As most GCSE and A-Level pupils are fully into exam revision mode by now, we hope the following suggestions serve to reduce stress and to make this nerve racking period easier.
1. Remind your child to keep revision in perspective. By the end of June, all the exams will be over and the long summer holidays will begin. Revise hard now so the summer can be used for long guilt free days filled with sports, play, fun or sunny beach holidays
2. It is best to start revising early on so there is time to tackle the subjects first that your child doesn't like or is weak in. As the saying goes: "preparation is the mother of success" and your child will be more confident to do well the longer they give themselves to get ready
3. Help your child to create a revision timetable and help them stick to the routine. Revision can be a lonely task and it is very easy to go off track and allow distractions to take over.
4. To avoid the above happening, try to revise in short thirty minute time periods which is far more productive than hours spent ploughing through long passages.
5. Build in plenty of breaks in between revising and use the time to exercise, walk, clear your head, breathe in fresh air and to think about all the fun you will have once revision and exams finish.
6. The best form of revision to help with recalling and applying information is to use past exam papers. Answering plenty of exam questions helps with applying the knowledge your child has learnt in the way that the examiners are looking for. Plenty of practice is the secret to successfully achieving that top A Star grade. You can go to exam web sites and download free of charge past exam papers, marking schemes and examiners reports which are full of useful advice about pitfalls to avoid when answering questions and where students typically go wrong. Please help your child to make good use of this freely available material
7. Remember to practice those all important skills your child's school teachers has been talking about all year, such as: reading and following instructions, keeping to time, answering the question by applying the relevant facts, looking at how many marks each question is worth, spending more time on six mark questions vs one mark questions.
8. Practice good hand writing because your child will get fewer marks if the examiner is unable to read illegible work. In fact, your child is likely to get more marks by writing neat and grammatically correct sentences because marks are awarded for this too. These extra few marks could make all the difference by turning a C into a B grade or even an A into an A Star.
9. Encourage your child to use and stick to the best revision technique(s) which works best for them with recalling the material. And nowadays there are so many to choose from, including: using flash cards and Post-Its to make notes, watching short internet video clips, recording and listening to their own voice, mind mapping and plenty more.
10. Revision done properly is hungry work, so keep the fridge well stocked with plenty of their favourite treats to reward your teenager during breaks for all their effort. Finally, minimise time spent playing computer games or watching TV and plenty of sleep is recommended to keep concentration and energy levels high.
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As each year passes, the stakes unfortunately get higher for students sitting GCSE and A-Level exams.