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Preparing for those lingering exams

5 April 2019

5 mins

Stressed about your upcoming A-Level exams? Well it’s time to read the following blog, then get offline and stop the procrastination!

Below, learn how I revised for my own A-Levels, as well as my top tips for how to get through what can be a very stressful time.

Find out YOUR way to revise

Everyone works differently! It is so important to find out what makes your brain tick and consider what kind of learner you are. Do you engage with visual sources, such as mind maps or are you more of a systematic learner who works through bullet points?

My brother Calum and I have both conquered the hurdle of A-Levels (a very stressful time I may add!) so I wanted to offer an insight into how we both revised differently.

I have always been a very visual learner (perhaps due to my creative interests), so I love a good mind-map. I found it easy to connect ideas through this method and also found it very effective at memorising facts quickly (vital for my Geography A-Level). See below a recent note-card for a current module I’m doing on Art History.

During A-Level revision, I put post-it notes all around my house with Geography facts on! I associated one case study with my wardrobe, the next with the bathroom wall (I’d look at the facts twice a day whilst brushing my teeth) and so on. I found this a very effective way at memorising all those key facts and figures.

My brother is the complete opposite! He takes on a much more systematic approach (perhaps due to his considerably more mathematical brain)! See below an example of his recent revision material for his Law Conversion Course. For him, a plain document separated into sections with lists of bullet points is how his brain learns things. We are all different so find out what works for you and STICK TO IT!

Discover where you work best

You need to find out where you are most productive!

“I can’t revise in my room. My brain knows it is where I relax and chill out, so I’m never productive in that environment. I have to get out the house and go to the library, a place which I associate with working and a place with no distractions.” – Calum.

Whereas I am quite adaptable. I find if I work at my desk in my bedroom, I can concentrate and focus. This is something I know my brother wouldn’t be able to do, so consider where you can focus effectively.

Remember to take a break

I always had something to wind down and destress, whether that be simply taking my dog for a walk or going to rehearsals for my latest show. Don’t work yourself crazily (this isn’t an excuse to procrastinate and do everything but revision mind), allow yourself specific times where you will relax or have a break from your studying.

Create a plan/timetable

I remember my timetable was jam packed during exam season, sometimes having 2 exams in the one day! Due to this, it is really important to schedule your time and work out when to revise what. Remember to prioritise tasks and put your breaks on your timetable and STICK TO IT.

Adapt for different subjects

It may seem obvious but remember your revision technique will most likely differ between your subjects and the different challenges they represent.

For example, for my Maths A Level, 90% of my revision was spent repeatedly doing past papers. This was the most effective method of revision for me, as I gradually realised specific areas that I was struggling with (Vectors and Integration were a nightmare for me) and then I could do specific revision for the style of questions that I regularly got wrong.

Past papers were a great way to see my progress too, as gradually my marks went up.

However, for my Geography A Level this involved remembering a lot of case study information, which is completely different to the challenges of a Maths Exam.

For Geography, I created lots of revision cards and mind-maps to help me memorise various case study facts. I then got friends and family members to test me (remember, this is an important part of ensuring it has actually gone into that brain of yours!).

Remember that it will all be worth it in the end

Your hard work will pay off. Don’t give up!

I planned some nice things in the summer holidays, as this was a goal I had in my head that after all this revision I have a lovely summer to look forward to!

See below my happy face at work on Results Day (yes I went straight to work after collecting my results…the money came in handy when I started Uni so it was all worth it).

Good Luck! I am sure you will all do well (be a clever sausage)!

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