Feb 28

Easter Revision – Start Early, Finish Strong

In a few short weeks the Easter holidays will be upon us and that might signal the start of your GCSE & A Level exam revision period. But why wait until the holidays to begin revising? Why not make the most of the time you have available now and start your revision sooner rather than later? 

No one ever said, ‘I wish I’d studied for less time’, most complaints are that there isn’t enough time to go over everything you need to cover. 

By starting your exam revision now, you have time to create a well thought out and comprehensive revision timetable, and get cracking on those subjects you need extra time to study for. 

Why start revising early?

The early bird gets the worm (so they say), so start early and finish well. 

The benefits to starting your revision ahead of time are innumerable, it will:

  • fill in knowledge gaps
  • help you consolidate your knowledge
  • keep you focused and calm
  • increase your confidence in your abilities

Together, all of these benefits will help to ensure that you do your best come exam day. Because that’s what it’s all about. 

Starting your revision early doesn’t mean that you need to go hard early and burn yourself out, in fact it is the exact opposite – rather treat your revision as a marathon and take it steadily. Little and often is what is required for now, you can always ramp up the ante as the big day draws nearer. 

First things first, plan your revision time table accordingly. You’re still in school now and with an 8 hour day to contend with, you won’t be able to go at it hammer and tongs just yet. So set aside a couple of hours in the evening, and don’t overdo it. 

Things to be getting on with before the Easter holidays:

    • Plan your revision. With what seems like eons between now and your exams, you can be forgiven for thinking you don’t need to plan anything just yet. But now is the perfect time to get ahead. Having a plan means your study time will be structured and you’ll get more out of it as you’ll know what you’re doing each time you settle down to revise, rather than plan each session as it comes. 
    • Organise your course notes. Go through your course notes and figure out where your gaps are, both in your knowledge and in the notes themselves. Go through your textbooks, your classroom handouts, look at revision guides for each subject, check out online resources, speak to your teachers. 
    • Make revision cards. Break your notes up into easily consumable chunks that you can test yourself on as you go along. 
    • Create subject posters. Make posters for each subject or topic and stick them up around your room or your house. That way when you’re brushing your teeth, eating your breakfast or whatever, you can look at them and learn as you go. 
    • Record yourself. Some people find it easier to listen to the subject material than read it, so record your notes and listen back to them. This works three fold – first you have to create the notes, then you read them, and finally you listen to them.
    • Use past papers to guide your revision. Go through past papers and highlight any questions you can’t answer, these are the gaps in your knowledge that need to be filled. 

Your Easter holidays are likely to be dedicated to revision, and rightly so, but rather than going all out and burning the candle at both ends, which won’t help you at all, make sure you’re looking after yourself as well. 

  1. Don’t work for 8 hours solidly

Take a 15 minute break every hour to clear your head. Get up from the desk and walk around. Grab a snack, a class of water, listen to some music. Taking a break will give you renewed energy to settle down and keep on going. 

Of course if you’re on a roll, don’t stop just because the hour is up, but make sure you take a break when suitable. 

  1. Do give yourself a day off

It may seem like time wasted, but your brain, like every muscle in your body, needs a rest in order to grow. Just make sure the time off is scheduled and that it’s accounted for elsewhere, that way you can relax knowing you aren’t going to have to panic cram to make up for it. 

Take at least 4 days off every fortnight and make the most of them – don’t sit at home thinking about studying!

  1. Don’t burn the candle at both ends

Make sure you’re in a good routine whereby you get enough sleep – try to go to bed at the same time every night and get up each morning as if it were a school day. 

Eat three square meals and snacks if you’re hungry – your brain needs feeding as much as your body does to ensure your energy levels stay high. 

Listen to your body and if at 6pm it says it’s tired, close the books for the day, have a good supper and an early night. You’ll reap the rewards come exam time.

  1. Do prioritise any homework.

It’s likely that you’ll be given homework to complete over the Easter holidays and seeing as you’re probably still learning some of the material that you’ll be examined on, make sure you prioritise the new work over studying old material. 

  1. Don’t stick with a revision plan that isn’t working.

At the end of each revision session ask yourself several important questions, namely: 

  • What have I just learned? 
  • Do I understand it? 
  • Can I recall it? 

If the answers to these questions are positive, you’re on track. 

If they’re not, you need to rethink your revision approach. If you’re tired, call it a day. If you can’t remember what you’ve just been studying, try revising a different way. 

For example:

    • Flashcards
    • Rewrite your notes
    • Talk out loud about your topics
    • Draw mind maps
  1. Do consider hiring a private tutor. Having a personal tutor gives you access to someone who has the time to focus just on your particular needs, rather than addressing a whole class.

Tuition with Fleet Tutors is one-to-one and occurs in your own home, at a time that suits you, so there’s no need to feel pressured by other students if you think your question or problem is too trivial to ask. 

Tutors are genuinely interested in helping each student to reach their full potential and will adapt to your changing needs as and when they arise throughout the revision period. 

For some students, just having a tutor they can talk things through with gives them the confidence boost they need to get through those final exams.