Revising is hard enough at the best of times. But when you have to revise over the Christmas holidays it can be even tougher. Taking the time to plan and study now, can minimise the stress and worry in the run up to GCSEs. Here are some of our top tips to help you revise successfully.
Plan your time
Christmas may be a time when the family come together to put up the Christmas tree, wrap presents or spend time cosying up on the sofa with a film. Clearly, it’s important that you join in with the festive activities, but it’s important to plan your revision time too. Setting out a timetable by subject will ensure you spend equal amounts of time on each one. An it will ensure you have time to have some Christmas fun too.
Not having a timetable means you run the risk of neglecting subjects you either don’t like or find a bit trickier. As your mocks get closer, that can lead to cramming which research shows is not an effective way to revise. Digesting regular nuggets of information little and often cements what we learn which makes for better long-term retention.
Find a way that works for you
With so much going on at Christmas time, it’s easy to get distracted, so in planning your time for revision it’s also important to revise in a way that works best for you. Remember that revision methods that work for your friends and classmates might not work for you. Whether you use flash cards, written notes, books or online videos and resources, don’t be afraid to stick to a method that suits you.
While sticking to a tried and tested method is key, it’s also important to mix it up. Using the same method over and over, can become stale and it could lead you to simply switch off. For example, if you write notes, see if you can present the key points or arguments in a spider diagram as well.
Remove Christmas distractions and be prepared
Christmas food smells amazing! Whether it’s mince pies or sausage rolls, it can be all too tempting to make additional visits to the kitchen to see what’s cooking. Whether it is the smells or sounds around your home that distract you at Christmas time, try to find a way to minimise distractions.
Make it clear to your family members that you will be studying, share your planner with them, and explain to them how they can help you during these times. If you have a busy household and don’t have your own space, ask family members to agree to ‘quiet time’ which can give you a distraction free setting. And for you, put phones away and hide email and social media notifications if you have access to them on a laptop or PC.
It’s also a good idea to make sure you have everything you need to hand. As basic as that sounds, having working pens, sharpened pencils, a ruler, rubber and calculator can save you time and reduce the risk of being distracted. If you don’t have a desk, keep what you need in a box or bag.
The best way to test your knowledge and highlight gaps, is to answer past papers which your teacher should be able to provide.
When you go through a past paper, stick to the time limit you’d have in an exam. This will quickly highlight whether you can finish the exam in the allotted time giving you a chance to do something about it if you can’t. For example, if you’re struggling to recall certain points, you may need to spend more time revising those areas.
Check mark schemes
When you answer past papers, check your answers using the mark scheme. This will show you what examiners are looking for in an answer.
Looking at past papers together with their mark schemes can also help clarify the types of questions being asked. Sometimes, the key to the answer is simply understanding what it is you need to do. This could be discussing an issue or demonstrating your knowledge with examples.
Take regular breaks
Spending all day revising won’t make the information stick any more than doing a couple of hours every day. Spacing out your revision and giving yourself regular breaks will not only keep you motivated but will give your mind a break. Maybe reward yourself with a mince pie, or time out watching your favourite Christmas movie, when you have achieved the study goal you have set yourself!
When you plan your time, be sure to include time off. Otherwise, you could end up even more stressed and resentful which won’t help you in the long run.
Get the help you need over the Christmas holidays
If you need some extra guidance, The Community Schools can help. We recognise that 2020 has taken some unprecedented turns but we’re dedicated to helping every student reach their full potential.
Our GCSE revision sessions will take place in every school holiday. This gives you the opportunity to brush up on your knowledge at a time that is right for you. Our sessions are available online. You can be confident that our virtual classrooms have been designed to ensure maximum privacy. And for those looking for face to face tutoring, we offer small group sessions at our Bury St Edmunds Learning Centre
For more information about the tuition we offer, complete our online registration form. Claire will contact you to discuss your needs and get you booked onto a course that is right for you.