Exam Preparation

How to Revise for GCSE and A Level Exams

One of the most common questions we are asked by students is ‘How do I revise?’. Revision techniques aren’t always taught at school, partly because the effectiveness of strategies depends on personal preference. We would recommend that students try a range of revision strategies, so that they learn which methods work for them. Here is our step-by-step guide for GCSE and A Level students on how to revise efficiently and effectively.

Take 1 hour (no-more!) to create a revision timetable for the exam period

Include the details of each topic you will study and dates of your exams. Re-evaluate the timetable each month, as your priorities will change. On average, GCSE students study for 4 hours/ day, and A level students for 5-6 hours/ day, over the Easter break and study leave period.

Studies show that children learn best using a “little and often” approach. Breaking revision sessions into 40 minutes will improve concentration.

Remember to get out of the house for some fresh air too! This will maximise the efficiency of your study time. Rewarding yourself after a successful revision session will also help to maintain motivation and a positive mindset.

Identify what type of a learner you are and select your revision techniques accordingly

If you are a visual learner, creating mind maps or cue cards, using colours and diagrams, for each topic, may be the most effective approach. For auditory learners, it’s a good idea to record yourself reading key points, dates and arguments. Listen to these recordings each day to consolidate your subject knowledge. For tech-savvy students, EdTech platforms like Seneca or GCSE pod are good ways to learn online, test yourself and track progress.

Vary your revision techniques to improve attention

It may be a case of trying and testing a few in the first week to see what works for you – each student works differently! Collaborative learning with peers allows you to discuss ideas, debate and share knowledge. Essay-based exams will ask for two opposing points of view, so it can be useful to debate these arguments with peers beforehand.

Test yourself and track progress

Complete past papers and textbook practice questions under timed conditions. Marking past papers yourself, using a mark scheme, is a very effective revision strategy. It helps students to understand the language examiners expect and will familiarise you with the exam format. Preparation is key!

Look after yourself

The revision period can be a stressful time. Looking after yourself so that you can be in the best frame of mind for your exams is important – remembering to eat and sleep well (and relaxing!) should help you to get through and achieve great results.

If you need any guidance with revision or exam technique, ask an expert. School teachers and tutors are on hand to support you through exam season, so please do get in touch. Best of luck.