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Revision & Exams

Here are a load of super helpful links documents to aid in your revision!

revision packs

Revision guides

As well as our revision stationery packs, Student Services also sells a range of revision guides.

  • Business Studies £3
  • Computing £3.50
  • D&T – Art & Design £9
  • English GCSE – higher only £14
  • Geography £3
  • History £3
  • Maths – Foundation £7
  • Maths – Higher £7
  • MathsWatch CD £4.50
  • MFL – French £3
  • MFL – German £3
  • MFL – Spanish £3
  • PE revision & workbook £2.50 each

Page contents

Approaches to revision

The following information will help you in planning and undertaking revision for all examinations and assessments through the year.

1. Prepare your Workplace

Make sure that you have:

  • A tidy undisturbed place to work.
  • A comfortable chair.
  • A table which gives you enough room for your books etc.,
  • A bright table lamp.
  • All the books you need – school notes, revision guides etc.
  • Pens, pencils, scrap paper.

2. Learning by Heart

Try to memorise:

  • Connections between fact and patterns which give shapes to a topic, e.g. definitions, scientific laws.
  • Vocabulary in whichever foreign language you are learning.
  • Quotations from literature.
  • Diagrams or drawing, say, of Science.
  • Apparatus you may have to draw.
  • Scientific facts such as chemical symbols.
  • Mathematical formulae – times tables etc.

3. Active Learning

You can stimulate your mind and learn effectively by:

  • Briefly writing down important points.
  • Drawing diagrams or flow charts several times.
  • Testing yourself by covering an original drawing, drawing it again and then checking.
  • Reading out loud.
  • Underlining interesting points or quotations.
  • Making up word games or mnemonics to help you e.g. to distinguish stalactites from stalagmite growth, remember that tights fall down, mites go up!
  • Persuade someone to test and re-test you on what you have learned.
  • Working through past exam papers.

4. Revision Notes

Make and modify your notes to help you learn by:

  • Taking short, well-spaced, numbered and headed notes in lessons
  • Putting only the main points on cards (post-cards).
  • Using these main point cards to help to test yourself by listing key ideas or patterns.
  • Numbering the point in your list e.g. listing the seven characteristics of living things.
  • Using a revision guide which provides all the essential information required for GCSE syllabus.
  • A useful site is: http://getrevising.co.uk

5. Word Patterns to Memorise

Some people jog their memories using work patterns – using initial letters, names etc.  Some are shown below:

  • Word association, e.g. meiosis in ovaries, mitosis in toes.
  • Initial letters, e.g. common elements which have an initial letter only for their symbol. CHOPINS carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, Phosphorus, Iodine, Nitrogen, Sulphur.

How to revise

Everyone is different, so the revision techniques that work for you may not work so well for others.  You need to experiment to find out your best methods.  However, one thing is true for everyone – revision is something that you need to work at, so if you find it difficult or you feel you can’t do it, stick at it; with effort, you will be able to revise and it will get easier.

Getting started

It is essential to be organised; you need to do a few things before you start to revise:

  • Gather all the class notes and any other resources (like revision guides) that you have
  • Make a list of all your subjects and all the topics in each (ask your teachers if you need to)
  • Create a calendar or timetable – see the notes on the back of this page

The next steps in your preparation

  • Go through your notes/revision materials highlighting key words or things that you think are particularly important.  This will start the learning process, as will the next idea.
  • You may then decide to write out some of the key facts that you have identified.  If you do, don’t write all your notes out – it takes too long and you won’t remember them all by writing them out once.  Consider what you want to write the key facts on – you could do some or all of the things below:
    • Post-its are good because you can stick them up around your bedroom or somewhere else where you will see them regularly.  You could colour-code them for different subjects.
    • Cards are good to carry around with you to read on the bus or when you have a few spare minutes.
    • You may prefer to use sheets of paper and have a folder of revision notes.  You could create spider diagrams or bullet lists.  It helps if each page looks a bit different, so consider how you could achieve this (e.g. colour or style of writing).

How to learn from your notes:

  • You learn by repetition – doing, saying, seeing, reading the same thing over and over again.
  • Your brain can’t take too much in one go so you need to choose small amounts which you repeat and try to recall.  Reading a page, then trying to remember what is on it, then doing the same thing twice more should be enough to learn most of it.  Then do the next page and so on.
  • If you are using diagrams, cover sections of them, or try re-drawing them; you won’t be able to learn a diagram well enough to draw in an exam unless you have practised drawing it first.
  • Give yourself rewards – set a target for how much to do or how long to work, then have a treat when you’ve reached your goal; if you have a sweet tooth, a little piece of chocolate might be good – but don’t eat it until you’ve reached your target.
  • Get someone to test you using your key fact cards.  Working with a friend sometimes helps as long as you don’t end up chatting.
  • It is best to revise without too many distractions; sitting in a busy room with the telly on is not likely to help you to revise.  Gentle music may help some people, but others will find it distracting.

Using a revision calendar

Download our revision calendar.

The calendar starts at the beginning of March, but you don’t have to begin your revision that early. Each day is divided into three sessions – morning, afternoon and evening.


  1. Use your exam timetable to mark onto the calendar the dates and times of your exams.
  2. Lightly shade the Easter holiday (27th March to 13th April), bank holiday (4th May) and half term (25th to 29th May).
  3. Mark on any regular activities that you do, such as a sports practice or a Saturday job.  If they take up a whole session, then block the whole session out.  [You should continue to do activities during exam season because you do need time to relax, but you might consider cutting them down a bit.  This is especially true of weekend/evening jobs which you might stop doing while exams are on.]
  4. Block out any sessions when you know you won’t be able to revise – for example if you have a family wedding that you know you are going to attend, or if it’s your birthday and you are going out for the evening.
  5. Block out any sessions when you will be at school and won’t have time to revise (sixth form students can revise during non-contact lessons).
  6. Go through all your subjects and write a list of topics that you need to revise.  Ask your teachers to help you if you aren’t sure.  Make sure you know which topics go with which exams.  If you end up with a very large number of topics for one subject, try to group some similar ones together.
  7. On the calendar, in the session before each exam, write the subject and ‘general revision’ to show that you will just be going through all your notes for that exam one last time.
  8. Working backwards from your exams and using a pencil, write subjects and topics into each free session.  Spread them out so you aren’t doing one subject all day (unless you have a big exam the next day).  Try to arrange the sessions so they ‘fit’ the exam timetable – if you have a couple of exams later than all the rest, you could save most (but not all) your revision for those exams until after the others have finished.  Depending on how long you are able to concentrate, you may want to fit more than one topic/subject into each session (see the notes on how to revise).  You may struggle to fit all the topics into the spaces, in which case you will have to do more than one in some sessions.  If you have more spaces than topics, do your hardest topics more than once.
  9. When you start revising, cross off each session that you have successfully completed.  If you miss a session, for example if you are ill, circle it and try to find time to come back to that topic later.
  10. Stick at it – it will be worth it in the end.


Revision Tips: A Student View

How To Make Your Own Revision Timetable

Advice from elsewhere

http://getrevising.co.uk/ – Resources for making revision timetables and notes

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/5345028/Top-10-last-minute-exam-revision-tips.html – Top Revision Tips

http://www.s-cool.co.uk/articles/revision-tips – Top Revision Tips

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/EducationAndLearning/14To19/Courseworkandexams/DG_10034950 – Top Revision Tips

Last updated: January 15, 2015