Exam Tips & Guidance 2019

With A-Level and GCSE exams approaching, the pressure is on and emotions may be running high. Pearson College London are here to help you with some top tips for revising during this busy time.Revision

  1. Plan

Before you start your revision, you need to plan out what you need to revise and how long that is going to take. Look back through your course textbooks and what you have learnt over the last couple of years and make a list of all the sub-topics within the subject that you need to revise. Once you have done this, weave each title into your revision schedule. This is going to work far better than just writing “Business” on a day as the revision topic. Splitting “Business” up into “Marketing” on one day and “Finance” on another will help you to make the revision more manageable.

  1. Focus on the tricky stuff

It can be very tempting to just revise the things that you find easy or that you like. This can be good because you are going to know these areas really well and if a question comes up, great, you’ll hopefully get all the marks! But, what happens if that doesn’t come up? You need to cover all areas in your revision, even the trickier stuff.

Start with the more complex topics, and then work towards the ones you are more confident with closer to the examination date. This will embed the challenging topics in your mind and refresh the things you already know.

  1. Revise for the actual paper

It is very easy to just revise every single thing that you have learned over the whole time you’ve studied the subject.

Whilst that may serve you well, you need to learn case studies and complete past papers too, so that you know how the paper is structured and marked and have examples to back up your various points. Case studies that your teacher provided have been given to you for a reason. So learn them! Showing that you know of a real life example demonstrates application of knowledge rather than just regurgitation, therefore giving you access to the best marks.

  1. Form groups

Revision can be lonely and isolating as sometimes it can seem you spend time at school all day learning and then come home and sit and revise alone again. Some people work better this way and that’s absolutely fine. However, you can make use of other people studying your course by creating a study group. This is a great way to test one another and teach one another about certain areas of the course. You may find yourself teaching someone and thinking: “This is not benefiting me”. However, by teaching someone something, you are actually recapping it yourself, hence subconsciously revising!

  1. Take breaks

Taking breaks is super important to help you to stay on-task and focused. Your brain needs to have time off and so do you.

You could take a walk, go to the gym, have a nice meal or even just watch television. Whatever you do, just make sure the setting has changed from the revision space so that your brain can differentiate between studying and relaxing.

If you constantly study, it could lead to burnout, which will make you a lot less productive than you were in the first place. So take regular breaks between revising.

The Exam

  1. Come Prepared

The first way to prepare yourself is to make sure you have everything that you need for the exam in advance:

  • Multiple pens

  • Pencil

  • Other stationary such as ruler, protractor, compass, rubber, sharpener, etc.

  • Calculator

Do not leave purchasing these things to the last minute. Remember, thousands of other students have their exams at the same time. What does that mean? Often the shops sell out of scientific calculators, so get one in advance.

On the day, make sure that you have all of the things you need with you, as well as a water bottle in case you are thirsty during the exam. Also, you need to plan your day carefully. Often your school or college will ask you to arrive 15 minutes prior to the exam start time, which is good practice so you can ensure that you’re definitely there on time and aren’t feeling rushed before going into the exam. Plan your journey so that you arrive early and make sure you are sat in the hall ready to start at the starting time.

  1. Know the paper

This again refers back to the regurgitation of knowledge point. Exam papers generally are structured in a similar format year on year. For example, there may be 3 sets of 20 mark questions that you must answer; or 1 x 6 mark, 1 x 12 mark and 1 x 18 mark questions. So use practice papers and their mark schemes to help you out and plan in advance!

Your teacher might recommend that you answer the paper in a particular order that is not the same as the general paper layout. Perhaps you might like to get the larger questions out of the way first; or you might like to build up to it. It doesn’t really matter which order you answer the questions in; but you do need to make sure that you answer them all, so as not to miss out on marks.

  1. Answer the question

Make sure that you answer the question. Quite often, exam questions are asking for an application of knowledge as well as looking for what you actually know. If the question poses a scenario with names of individuals, use their names in your answer so that you are answering the question rather than just writing all the knowledge you have on that topic.

Look out for the key words: “Describe”, “Explain”, “Discuss” or “Analyse” for example. Attend revision clinics and sessions at school to ensure you know what these command words are actually asking you to do in the exam.

  1. One mark per minute

Something smaller to highlight is that generally exam papers are one mark per minute. Therefore, if the paper is 100 marks, you would generally have 1 hour and 40 minutes to complete the exam. This will tell you how long you have for longer questions. Keep track constantly during the exam to make sure that you move onto the right questions at the right times.

If this isn’t the case, all you need to do is the following calculation:

Number of minutes / number of marks = marks per minute.

  1. Focus

Exam halls can be stressful with loads of students trying to complete a paper at the same time. It can become a little distracting at times. However, you need to try your best to zone out and focus solely on your own paper so that you can get the best grade possible.

These tips for revision and exams should help you to get the grades you desire and go onto the college or university of your dreams!

Good luck!

For more information about Pearson College London’s courses, visit the website.

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