Friday, 24 April 2015

Top ten revision tips for this summer's exams

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Above: NEC Course Co-ordinator Rosanna

This week’s blog is from NEC Course Co-ordinator Rosanna, who many of you that are studying general education subjects will already know. Rosanna supports learners who are studying GCSE, IGCSE and A Level courses with NEC with queries from how to book an exam to where to get started.

With the start of the exam season getting ever closer, I want to share with you some of the best revision tips that I’ve come across. I know from personal experience how demanding revision can be on your time, and how stressful this time of year can be for anyone taking a GCSE, IGCSE or an A Level.

I compiled a list of my top ten revision tips from discussions I’ve had with NEC tutors, my student support team colleagues and other students who have been through the process. I hope they’re useful!

  1. Compress each topic. Try and compress each topic down to a single page of notes, then take a walk somewhere relaxing and pretend you’re giving a talk on that topic. This is a great way to find any holes in your knowledge which you can address when you get home.
  2. Past papers. These are an excellent and free to download resource. You can also download the mark schemes so you can see how you’ve performed. You can even arrange for your NEC tutor to mark a past paper for you for a small cost - get in touch if you want to find out more.
  3. Keep active. Not only does being active keep you healthy, but it can also help you concentrate. Whether it is taking the dog for a walk as a revision break, or listening to a recording of your revision notes while on the treadmill, engage your body and brain!
  4. Eating the right things. This helps with your concentration and energy levels too so keep the crisps and chocolates as a reward, drink plenty of water, eat fruit and avoid processed foods.
  5. Planning. Planning your revision time is essential, and will help you to make sure you have time to cover everything you need to. Try creating a timetable, but most importantly, stick to it!
  6. Take short breaks. Make sure you plan short breaks within your revision timetable. Go for a walk, have something to eat or take a revitalising shower, but do make sure that you give yourself some time out.
  7. Don’t cram. Don’t leave all of your revision until last minute. Cramming is not an effective way of making sure you understand the subject. The night before the exam should be reserved for relaxing and getting a good nights sleep.
  8. Don’t just read your notes. Try writing things down, talking out loud or writing things on post it notes and spreading them around your house. The added bonus of using post it notes of course, is that your family or housemates will learn something new too!
  9. Practice, practice, practice. We talked about past papers, but they can be so helpful I want to mention them again! Take time to think about the style and format of the questions as well as whether you have the answers right. It can also be useful to think about how much time you will have for each question.
  10. Use the support available. Don’t forget that you have a tutor who can help you if you have questions about your subject. I am here to help too, just a phone call or email away. You could also talk to other learners through the forums in your online workspace.

Well that’s my top ten tips, I do hope they will be useful. You can also find some useful information in the resource ‘How to Succeed as an Independent Learner’ which you can download from your online workspace. It also has some great activities to help you to get prepared.

Last but not least, I want to wish you the best of luck with your exams!

Rosanna.

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