In this article, King Education explain why it’s so important to do adequate revision for GCSE exams, and tips on how best to prepare.
Your GCSE results are a very important step in your academic journey, and will affect which qualifications and subjects you take at A-level, your eligibility for your chosen university and course, and even your career prospects later down the line. Many employers require job applicants to meet their minimum requirement in Maths and English at GCSE level.
With exam schedules changing as a result of Covid-19, it is possible that exams may take place in October/November for those GCSE students who are not satisfied with their teacher assessment grades. This means the summer will be an ideal time to factor in revision, both through self-study and through booster revision courses such as the Kings GCSE summer camp.
Why is GCSE Revision Important?
GCSE revision involves re-visiting all the content that you have covered for each GCSE subject throughout the course.
GCSEs are designed to test students on all that they have learnt throughout the units and modules of each subject syllabus, from the start to the end. Given that GCSE courses can span up to two years, it’s likely that much of the knowledge gained during the first part of the course will no longer be as fresh in your mind, hence the need to revisit it before sitting the exam.
Doing a thorough re-cap of the content from course books, reference materials GCSE revision resources and your own notes and projects will make sure that you are re-familiarised with all that you have learnt in time for the exam.
Below are some of the most important reasons why it’s vital to revise for your GCSEs, and ultimately achieve the best possible scores.
- To make sure the knowledge is at the forefront of your mind
- To make sure you have correctly understood the first time
- So that you can identify any gaps in your knowledge and address them in time
- To make sure you feel as confident as possible going into the exam
GCSE Revision Tips
There is no one method for revision and self-study which suits everyone as each student has a different way of learning, and a different capacity and way to retain knowledge. The revision tips below do however provide the basis for a successful revision strategy for most.
Tip #1: Make a study plan and use different approaches
Making a GCSE revision timetable or study plan is a great way to get organised and ensure that you cover everything required before the exam.
Use a range of approaches to stimulate different areas of the brain, building connections and varied interactions with the content. Strategies could include: summary notes, revision guides, revision cards, creating presentations, question writing, using colour to highlight or group ideas, recording oral notes.
Tip #2: Attend a revision course
You will, of course, have the best of intentions, but it can sometimes be difficult to get started and to take a systematic approach to revision and exam preparation. Dedicated revision programmes such as the Kings Summer Booster Camp can help address these issues, providing tailor-made revision of core subjects and useful exam techniques.
Tip #3: Start well in advance
Make sure you start revising well ahead of time so that you can cover everything you want to in depth and avoid pre-exam panic setting in!
Tip #4: Practise, practise, practise!
Build your understanding of what the examiner is looking for by using past papers with plenty of practice questions, this way you can familiarise yourself with the question formats and develop your strategies to answer them.
Tip #5: Don’t just revisit your favourite topics
As already referenced, the reformed GCSE format requires a comprehensive understanding of the whole syllabus. Consider starting with the area you find most difficult to build confidence and a sense of achievement.
Tip #6: Keep your body as active as your mind
Exam revision can be intense, so its important to off-set the hours of study with some all-important physical exercise. It will get the endorphins flowing and most likely make you even more productive when you pick the books up again!
Tip #7: Find a quiet place
This is essential as it will help maintain concentration and avoid distractions. If you work to music, it’s a good idea keep the volume down.
Tip #8: Use family and friends
Practise sample questions with friends and compare notes on your answers. Give family or friends your revision notes and ask them to test you. This is a great way of identifying any remaining knowledge gaps or inaccuracies, and hopefully give your confidence a boost!
GCSE exams are generally taken in May/June, although this year – because of the Covid pandemic – students will assigned a final grade that reflects their overall performance and attainment throughout the GCSE course. Teachers will work closely with the exam boards to ensure that the results assigned are accurate and fair. It’s possible that any students who are unhappy with their assigned grade may be able to sit exams in November.