A-Level exams can be a very stressful and overwhelming time of year. These tips have been delivered so that your revision can be more manageable.
1. Have a structure
Following two years of studies, you will have covered many topics. To ensure you have not forgotten any of them, especially the ones right at the beginning of your A-Levels, go back through your course books and pick out the titles.
Creating revision timetables can be highly beneficial, however simply putting 'Business' as something to revise on Monday is not the way to getting the most out of this method. Instead, 'Business', should be broken down into further specific topics in the business course - such as leadership styles - so that your revision is more manageable and you can feel a sense of greater accomplishment once you have tackled a specific topic.
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This will make you more willing to get over that initial hurdle and start revising as it doesn't seem so daunting.
2. Focus on the challenging topics
Procrastinating is not productive. Likewise, the temptation to revise the topics you already know, giving yourself the feeling that you have properly revised, can also be counter productive..
Instead, start with the topics that you find the most challenging, and then revise those that you’re more confident with, at a later stage.
3. Prepare for the longer questions
Multiple choice and short-word questions may help solidify your eventual grade, but it is the longer 9-mark and 18-mark questions, found at the end of exam papers, that will ultimately decide your grade. A lot of subjects feature these longer questions so it is highly likely you will need to prepare correctly for them.
A good tip is to look at previous exam papers to understand questions that have come up before; how they have been phrased; and how they have been expected to be answered (look at the mark schemes). A key part in answering longer questions successfully is ensuring you get the right structure to your answer, offering up supporting and opposing arguments if required, as is the case typically with business-related questions.
Flash cards can be highly valuable in remembering key factors for potential longer questions. They can also be used to remember the correct terminology for questions which can further illustrate your knowledge on the question, particularly handy for science examinations.
A key area that many people struggle with when addressing the longer questions, is my time management. Typically it is advised that exams are one mark per minute. Therefore, when practising, you should stick to this time frame to ensure you are able to answer all the questions in the exam.
4. Form study groups
Revising can be a lonely, isolating experience. You might be sat in your room or alone at school with headphones in, but that doesn't always have to be the case. Form a group with friends where you can all motivate and support each other.
Forming these groups means you can test each other, in particular on each member's most challenging topic. Further still, members are able to share their revision tips that they may have discovered whilst revising for GCSEs, that will also be of benefit to you.
Study groups are also great as it means you are not alone both at school, but also at home. Using technology such as Skype or Facetime, you are still able to discuss pain points and test each other to ensure you are fully prepared. The practice of recalling information out loud is one that is most advantageous to a lot of people and thus study groups are the way to go.
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5. Find a quiet place
Your room is the obvious one. However sometimes change this up if possible, for example a study or dining table. More importantly, a quiet place is wherever your phone isn't in sight and can not be heard. Put that thing away! It will only distract you.
6. Don't spend too much time making your notes pretty
Mindmaps, diagrams and flashcards are all useful and completely valid revision methods. It definitely does help to colour code and highlight key words so they stand out instantly (especially as the majority of us are visual learners). However, this does not mean you should spend more time on the colour aspect of your notes than of the detailed knowledge within them.
Use colour systematically and productively to aid your notes, not to hinder them.
7. Have breaks
Breaks. Breaks. Breaks. Need I say more.
Your brain can only retain a certain amount of information in a single sitting, so don't overload it. This will do it more harm.
I hope this helps you to take the systematic steps to revise effectively.
Most importantly, good luck!
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