How to revise for dummies
GCSEs are one of the most stressful and tiring things that most teenagers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have to go through. As a teenager in secondary school, you don’t know what you want to be or do in the future, and you're told that if you don’t pass your GCSEs, you’ll fail your life and will never get a job.
That may be true for some jobs, but I don’t think I need to get grade 9s to become a professional sleeper- yes, that is a job, you get to lay and test bed mattresses by sleeping on them.
Most students go through two years of frustration, pressure and high expectations from teachers, parents/careers or from themselves. GCSE stands for ‘General Certification of Secondary Education’, but personally, I think it stands for:
Save us from this
Epidemic of modern day and normalised torture for students
There’s no doubt that GCSE years are exhausting and mentally tiring. Being able to have the motivation to revise and study for tests is difficult, because most of us would rather watch an episode of Love Island, or binge watch a whole manga or anime series.
Not everyone knows how to revise or study efficiently, most people are bad at certain things, but good at other things, and for some people, they are “bad” at revising, because no one really tells you how to revise. Teachers will just suddenly tell you that your doing a test on plant organisation, but you thought you’ve been studying about bacteria this whole time. Then you realise you have a week to revise and think that it will be fine, but then procrastination comes along; and then, you realise that the next period is the test, and you have done absolutely nothing, sounds familiar?
I am not here to say that I have master the art of revising, but I want to share some tips when revising to help you or give you suggestions, and my test results have gotten a bit better after I started doing some of these things.
• Don’t leave revision ‘till the last one or two days before the test! I’m guilty of doing this, procrastination really is a demon. It makes you think that everything will be fine and that you have a lot of time left, but then it tricks you, and leave you with stress and anxiety.
• Use study guides! I love using the CGP study guides. However, study guides can be expensive they can cost around five to fifteen pounds each; and so, if you buy a study guide for each of your subjects and topics, it could add up to more than a hundred pound! Therefore, I like to borrow them from the library, it’s free at most places for students to make a library card, and most libraries will have a section for revision guides. Sometimes it’s hard to find the section, so you may need to ask a librarian. This is can be helpful, since you will not only save money, but you can also study in the library for free! Moreover, there are free study guides online that are made by other people, and so you’ll just have to do some digging and researching.
• Make cue cards/flash cards! Personally, I like to make my own cue cards, because it’s fun to make and I can personalise them; and because it’s cheaper. Cue cards are small therefore, I can bring them wherever I want. But if you don’t want to carry cue cards you can download cue card apps, such as Quizlet. Even though I don’t like using those apps as phones easily distract me, but it may work for you! Cue cards are useful as you can test yourself, or get others to test you. However, if using cue cards isn’t your thing you can always do other things, obviously.
• Find a good revision environment or place! One of my favourite study spots is this café in Walthamstow, because I can eat, drink and relax there, plus, there is Wi-fi. Sometimes I go to the library, since its free and quiet. However, you don’t need to go outside to study, you can study in your room, but sometimes you can get bothered by your parents or siblings. I prefer to study outside, as I like to go to outside and because I don’t have a table in my room.
• Find things that helps you study! Using my laptop helps me study more effectively, because I like the feeling of typing and I sometimes like to organise my notes online; plus, I get easily distracted when using my phone to search for information. Another reason is that laptops have a bigger screen than a phone, so it’s easier to see things. Also, I like to use my pastel highlighters, this is because it keeps my notes neat and aesthetically pleasing. Furthermore, I like to have a drink near me, such as water or tea, to keep me hydrated. Certain objects may help you study better, for example, a blanket, stress ball, snacks etc.
• Take breaks! I take short breaks whenever I feel like it, during those breaks I sometimes watch this youtuber who does make-up whilst talking about true crimes. It’s important to take breaks, so that you don’t stress out yourself. You can watch your favourite youtuber, listen to songs or scroll through social media. Taking short breaks will help avoid becoming stressed and unmotivated.
• Do practice exam questions! It’s important to do practice exam questions, so that you can know what it's like to under exam pressure . You can also time yourself to give you that exam feeling. For some people they can revise perfectly, but when it comes to the exam they may panic and not know what to do, so it's vital to practice putting yourself under that exam pressure. But don’t stress yourself out.
Sites and resources
Here are some useful sites that I have used and found:
• Free Science Lessons (Youtube) This man is a legend; he explains things very well and clearly in only just a couple of minutes. Good for last minute revision.
• Math Made Easy (Google/Online) It has loads of exam style questions and comes with answers
• Majority of the time there are online copies of books that you study in English, like An Inspector Calls, Jane Eyre, Romeo and Juliet. Sometimes you can even find labelled and annotated ones.
As I mentioned before you can find study guides online made by other people. There are also people who make videos online about subjects, and so you'll just have to do a bit of research and googling.
Finally, I just want you to know that not everyone can revise perfectly, and have their life sorted out. Sometimes things that happen in life can affect your study and that’s totally understandable. Sometimes you need to take days off and take care of yourself. Especially, for people who suffer from with mental or physical health problems or dealing situations at home, it can be very difficult to do and complete tasks. Everyone is going through different things, and no one can balance everything and do everything perfectly. It’s okay to not do everything, it’s okay to pause and look after yourself. Make sure to take care of yourself, to sleep well, eat enough, drink enough and do things that you love. Taking care of yourself can help motivate you to study. But of course, not everything is in your control, and all you can do is try. Your worth isn’t depended on that exam score. Try and do what you can! It isn’t about being perfect, it’s about trying.
Article written by Jaiming Kang, see the link below.