With only four days to go to the start of the exams, you need to be thinking about how to get the most out of your last minute revision.
1. PLAN YOUR TIME
You may already have a revision plan but as the exams draw closer it’s worth working out a plan for your last minute revision. Work out what you need to cover and prioritise the most urgent areas. Be realistic, you have limited time, don’t try to do too much.
2. PRIORITISE YOUR TIME
Print out the syllabus for the papers for each exam you’re sitting. The syllabus gives you a list of all of the information you’re expected to know. Mark your printed syllabus with traffic light colours, line by line and you will end up with a prioritised list of tasks.
Mark the topics that you’re confident you know in green, so you’re not wasting time on subjects you’re already comfortable with. Highlight the areas you need to do more practice on in orange and make sure you do a few exam-style questions on these. The topics you don’t know should be marked in red and these are the ones that you need to tackle first.
The syllabus also gives you a list of ‘descriptors,’ which give you clues as to what the examiner is looking for in your answers, as well as the structure of the paper and the topic weighting, which will help you to plan how you manage your time in the exam hall.
3. START EARLY
Grab your breakfast and get stuck into a revision session right away, you will find it easier to get it done and out of the way, allowing you to relax later on and avoiding having to rush anything.
4. GET RID OF DISTRACTIONS
The fewer distractions you have, the better you will work and focus. Turn off your phone, tablet, computer or laptop to avoid temptation and ask not to be disturbed. Tune into classical or instrumental music while you study – it will help keep you focused without any distracting lyrics.
5. DON’T JUST READ
Last minute revision isn’t going to be helpful if you’re just reading through your study texts or looking over notes. Test yourself with past papers, write cheat sheets, study with friends and watch webinars to add some variety to your revision.
You can access recordings of Achieve webinars on your computer, tablet or phone at any time of the day, the webinars cover past exam questions from papers 13 and 14.
6. TAKE A BREAK
Revising for too long without a break wears you out and reduces the quality of your work. Make sure you take breaks and give yourself some time to get some fresh air and stretch or switch off for a while in front of the TV.
If you're finding it hard to concentrate, switch your desk for somewhere different, like the garden or living room. The change in location will help you to refocus. You can even stand or walk while you revise – the movement promotes blood flow, which can help to keep you engaged. Even a 15-minute brisk walk can make a big difference.
7. REVISE EVERYWHERE
If there are things you struggle to remember, write them on sticky notes or bits of paper and dot them around your home. If something is just not sinking in, plaster it everywhere: Make it your desktop wallpaper on the computer, your phone lock screen and even shove a post it in your lunchbox so it’s drilled into your brain.
You could also record important notes on your phone, so you can revise on the go and listen to them on your commute to work.
8. MAKE A CHEAT SHEET
The night before your exam make yourself a cheat sheet with bite-sized notes on essential information you need to remember or points that are worrying you, just a few important facts, so you can refresh your memory before the exam, just remember not to take it into the exam hall with you!
9. BE PREPARED
Make sure you have everything you need for the exam the night before, so you don’t have to worry on the day. You’ll need a calculator, pen and pencil, as well as your proof of identity and your exam notification form.
10. BE POSITIVE!
Review your syllabus task list to see how many topics you’ve converted to green and remind yourself of how much you actually do know. Keep a positive attitude and keep yourself motivated. Stress can lead to mistakes so relax, take deep breaths and remind yourself: At the end of the day, it is only an exam.
Relax, eat well and sleep soundly – you will be at your best on the day.