Daisy's Ulitmate Guide To GCSE and A Level Revision

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Daisy's Ulitmate Guide To GCSE and A Level Revision

Exam season is rapidly approaching us and that means teenagers across the country will be frantically revising in hope of getting the best grades possibles. However, it's often hard to tell what is an effective revision method and what is counterproductive, ultimately being a waste of time. I wanted to share some of my revision tips with you today, all of which have been useful for me, and hopefully this will assist you with figuring out which method of revision is best for you.

Although I've done a few posts like this already, I thought it'd be valuable to share this advice as my revision tactics have definitely changed after sitting my GCSEs last summer. I've discovered new methods and techniques, as well as discovering what works best for me, all of which I aim to share with you in this post.

Utilise Youtube Revision Videos

Many teachers, examiners and even past students have created revision videos for each specific subject and exam board. These will be tailored to your specification and so will contain all the knowledge you'll need to know in a condensed and easy-to-understand format. There are plenty out there to search for, so if you're struggling with a particular concept in Maths or don't understand a particular character in English Literature, this is the best place to look for a step-by-step guide that makes sense and is taught by an expert.

By far my favourite Youtube channel for revision videos is Mr Bruff for English Literature. His videos are extremely in-depth and contain a lot of higher-level analysis that's useful for getting the top grades. I honestly owe my GCSE English Literature grade to Mr Bruff, as his poetry analysis was extremely helpful and the exam technique videos ensured I knew exactly what the examiner was looking for when marking.

Download Revision Apps

It'd be a lie to say that, as a teenager, I don't spend a lot of time on my phone. I've discovered that there are some great apps for on-the-go revision, some of which I couldn't live without. My holy grail revision app is Chegg Flashcards, which allows you to make online flashcards to test yourself on knowledge. I use this religiously for learning terminology for English Language and also found it very helpful when revising for GCSE Science. The flashcards are incredibly quick to create and you can effectively test yourself to see where any gaps in your knowledge are.

If you're studying a language, I'd highly recommend downloading the Memrise app. I used this every day leading up to my GCSE French exams and the game-style layout made it feel more like a reward than revision. I'm certain that I learned more vocabulary from this app than from just reading over my class notes, so I'd highly recommend it. The BBC Bitesize app is also really useful as it has quizzes for each topic, meaning you can test yourself on the important knowledge and practice exam-style questions.

Colour Code and Highlight Your Work

Daisy's Ulitmate Guide To GCSE and A Level Revision

Revision notes can often seem like a sea of writing and can be really daunting, which is why I recommend breaking it up through the use of colour. Highlighting topic titles and keywords can help to focus your attention on the most important details, as well as making your revision more colourful and visually appealing. In the image above, you can see that I used different colours in my John Donne book for the different themes in the poem, whereas in the revision notes it was for the different sub-topics. I also have these brightly coloured sticky tabs and labels which are great to use for annotating books in English Literature and organising it by theme or character.

Complete Past Papers and Look at the Mark Schemes

Daisy's Ulitmate Guide To GCSE and A Level Revision

It's important to get as much practice at questions as possible and perfect your exam technique before it's actually time to sit the test. In no time, you'll become well-versed in how exam questions are phrased and inferring what they're looking for based on the question, meaning you're more likely to access the higher marks. Completing past papers also allows you to see any gaps in your knowledge and focus your revision on these areas. I'd recommend going through the papers at a steady pace, as you wouldn't want to rush through them a year before your exam and then find that you have no past papers left when you actually need them.

Don't Just Rely On One Source of Info

Although it's easy to simply revise by opening your textbook and copying down all of the information, this won't be an effective method to use. You never know if the book you're using has missed out important topics or if it's too brief in explanations, which could hinder your knowledge. I'd recommend using as many sources as possible when compiling your revision, including class notes, textbooks, revision guides and online resources. This will ensure you have a wide range of information to consult, meaning that everything you could possibly be asked about will be included in your notes.

Buy Revision Guides for Each Subject

Daisy's Ulitmate Guide To GCSE and A Level Revision

The CGP revision guides are honestly a necessity for all of your subjects, with the content being tailored to each exam board and specification. They contain all of the important details in an easily understandable way, and the fun diagrams and colourful layout make revision much more manageable. Although they aren't as useful for some subjects, I found them to be vital when I was revising for my science and RE GCSEs.

For English literature, I've discovered that the York Notes revision guides are the best ones to purchase. They contain a huge amount of detail and insightful analysis that other revision guides omit, and they're great for understanding parts of a novel that you might otherwise be struggling with.

Display Your Revision in a Way that Works Best For You

Daisy's Ulitmate Guide To GCSE and A Level Revision

Don't be tricked into thinking that you must display your revision in the form of written notes like you'd create in class. Although this is one method and definitely works for some people, there are plenty of alternatives that you may find easier to use. If you do opt for writing your revision notes, check out the ones I created in the photo above. Using images, diagrams and colour made these much more manageable and interesting to look at.

Daisy's Ulitmate Guide To GCSE and A Level Revision

Making mind maps are great for seeing the different areas of knowledge you need to know for each topic and how they link with each other. Although they can become quite hectic if you try and include lots of information, they're perfect for seeing many different aspects of a topic in one place. I find mind maps particularly useful for the different interpretations of a character in English Literature: I put the character's name and the scene in the centre of the bubble, branching out with different interpretations, quotes to support each of these and analysis of each quote.

Daisy's Ulitmate Guide To GCSE and A Level Revision

Flashcards are also great for testing yourself on knowledge and making your revision more concise. They can be used in many different ways, so it's worth trying out some different methods. You can see above that I used these flashcards for an important quote for English Literature, followed by my analysis, links to other quotes, contextual information and relevant critics.

I really hope that it was helpful to hear all of my revision tips and I wish you the best of luck in any upcoming exams that you might have. If there are any revision methods that you swear by but haven't been included in this post, make sure to let me know as I'd love to find out some alternate methods.

Thank you very much for reading this blog post and I'll see you next Sunday with another new one, so make sure you check back then!

Love from Daisy x

1 comment

  1. Amazing 😉 💖
    I'll definitely keep in mind some of these and the one about not only using one source of information is soooooo true!! There's been things that have come up in past exams that sometimes my CGP has not fully covered so I can definitely relate to that one!