5 Tips for Exam Preparation

Whether you are taking an entrance exam or preparing for A-Levels, GCSEs or IB, revision is a very crucial stage. After months of preparing for such important exams, it is important to keep in mind that revision helps to consolidate all of the information studied, gives time to practise key skills, reduces anxiety and increases confidence. For effective exam preparation, follow the tips below.

  • When should I start revising?

It is vital to begin revising at least one month before any exam. You will have learnt a lot of information and studied many new topics, but without revision and practise, it is unlikely that you will be able to apply the information or techniques learned effectively. During this revision period no new information should be studied – this is simply a time for consolidation and practise. Therefore, it is important for the study plan to include, up to the beginning of the revision period, all that should be learned.

  • How to revise?

Past papers and sample papers are key when revising for any exam. At the beginning of the revision period it is a good idea to work through each paper with notes made during lessons and study sessions. Do not try and do these exams without your notes, as at this stage becoming accustomed to the exam and questions is more important. Further, when you feel confident, start writing these papers within the time given and without your notes. This will help you to identify and address any gaps in your knowledge. If possible, go through papers that you have completed with the mark scheme. This will give you a greater insight into the expectations of markers and further your understanding of what is required for the perfect answer.

  • Scheduling

When scheduling lessons and revisions sessions, it is very important to think about when you study best. Research shows that you are more likely to do all of the work planned if you start earlier in the day. However, as this is not always possible, you should make sure that you are at the very least not hungry or tired while revising.

  • No Distractions!

This may seem obvious but many times this is overlooked. Where do you usually study? In your bedroom? In the kitchen? It is vital that you find a place where you will be able to work uninterrupted for a length of time. Bedrooms may be a popular choice for revision, but they are not always conducive to study. Think about where there are the least distractions, where you cannot use any forms of technology (unless you are using them for revision), and where there are the fewest people.

  • Timing

Long revision sessions should be avoided as you will find it very difficult to concentrate. Spending 10 hours over one weekend revising before the exam will not help you, whereas 10 hours over the course of a week is more beneficial and will enable greater retention of information. Research shows that 20-30 minute blocks of revision, with a short break of 5 minutes in between, are perfect because concentration during these periods is much higher.

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