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You will have to fit in your revision with the school work that you are still doing. At this stage smaller amounts of revision are more likely to succeed.
Aim to do 15mins revision each on two subjects a night for four out of the five week days. This gives you 8 slots. You can fill these with either one subject each, covering all your subjects. Or, you might prefer to concentrate more on the subjects you know you have more trouble with or that have a higher amount of content.
At the weekend you should spend 5 minutes reviewing what you did in each 15 min session during the week. That makes two 20 min sessions (do one on Saturday and one on Sunday). All you need to do in the session is check your understanding or memory of what you covered in the 15 min revision session; you should not have to relearn it. If you have forgotten it, make a note to go over it again next time you revise that subject.
The review is important because you must embed the information in your brain so that you don’t forget it. It helps to transfer the information from short term memory to long term memory. Without the reviews you will find it harder to remember the information until the exam.
Please click here to download a blank Term Time Revision Timetable.
School Holidays and Study Leave
Between now and the GCSE exams you will have following holidays from school:
Monday 22nd December 2014 - Friday 2nd January 2015
Monday 16th February 2015 - Friday 20th February 2015
Friday 3rd April 2015 - Friday 17th April 2015
Divide each day into six 1 hour sessions: 2 in the morning, 2 in the afternoon and 2 in the evening. Only work 4 out of the 6 sessions on these study days i.e. morning/afternoon or morning/evening or afternoon/evening. Each session should be about 1 hour with a short break between the two sessions. You will also need about 20 - 30 minutes for two days at the end of your week for reviewing (see below).
Make sure that you start to revise early enough in the year. Make an action plan: This would change depending upon whether it is term time or school holiday or if you are on study leave. When you have a plan, you are in charge of your work and you are more likely to stay in control. This will reduce the stress you feel and make you less panicky. (see Revision Timetable section for more help with this.
It is important not to overstretch yourself and get exhausted. You will not be able to perform at your best if that happens. Therefore, plan your rest days or days when you are unavailable to work e.g. playing sports, family commitments. Remember you owe it to yourself to be as prepared as you can be for your exams. This means putting in an appropriate amount of effort. If you put in the minimum amount of effort, you will get the minimum grade out. So if you would like to take a few days off hanging around with your mates, think if that is something that would be better done after your exams and your time used for revision. Remember you should aim to work for 42 out of the six sessions in a day. That gives you plenty of rest and relaxation time.
Make a list of the topics you still need to revise for each subject. Work out how many revision sessions you have in a particular subject, and divide up the work into that many sessions. For example, you can divide your chemistry into 12 topics; there are 5 weeks when you are either on holiday or study leave, until the beginning of June. Say you devote 2 sessions a week plus an extra weekend session in 2/5 weekends to chemistry revision. That gives you your 12 sessions.
Plan a week at a time. Fill in which sessions you are going to use for which subjects/topics. You may find that some subjects need more time and that some don’t need as much. That’s all part of the planning you are doing now.
Plan reviewing sessions for the week’s work at some stage, at the end of the week. Just as you did in the term time timetable. Ideally, as each week passes, you should review past weeks work. This need only be a quick look - a few minutes worth - at the condensed revision notes (see below) you have created in your revision sessions. this means that, you will remember the work that you revised at the start of your revision and not forgotten it by not looking at it for a month or more.
When making your plan for a week, set realistic targets for yourself. However, once you have done the week’s plan, don’t think that it has to be followed to the letter. Allow a certain amount of flexibility, particularly at the start as you get used to how it works and how much you can get done in a session. If you don’t complete a day as planned, don’t abandon the timetable and think that it’s not going to work. Get back to it the next day. Or change it if necessary. Once you get it working, try to stick to it.
Question keywords are also called 'command' words. These are the words in your exam questions that tell you what the examiner wants you to do. By understanding these command words, you are on your way to understanding your exam questions.
For example, you may be instructed in your exam question to 'describe' something within your answer. If your answer 'evaluates' rather than 'sets out the characteristics', you potentially haven't given the right answer.
Below you will find a list containing some of these command words. Some subjects may have more or different command words that aren't shown here. Ask your teachers for subject specific information.
Analyse - separate information into components and identify their characteristics
Apply - put into effect in a recognised way
Argue - present a reasoned case
Assess - make an informed judgement
Calculate - work out the value of something
Comment - present an informed opinion
Compare - identify similarities
Complete - finish a task by adding to given information
Consider - review and respond to given information
Contrast - identify differences
Discuss - present key points
Estimate - assign an approximate value
Evaluate - judge from available evidence
Examine - investigate closely
Explain - set out purposes or reasons
Explore - investigate without preconceptions about the outcome
Give - produce an answer from recall
Identify - name or otherwise characterise
Illustrate - present clarifying examples
Interpret - translate information into recognisable form
Justify - support a case with evidence
Outline - set out main characteristics
Prove - demonstrate validity on the basis of evidence
Relate - demonstrate connections between items
Review - survey information
State - express in clear terms
Suggest - present a possible case
Summarise - present principal points without detail