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Top tips for preparing for GCSEs


If you’re in Year 11, this time of year can be pretty stressful. With GCSE exams approaching, the whole process can be a lot to deal with.

Here are our top five tips to help you navigate your exams.
1. Practice papers

Try to do a few exam papers each week so you get better at exam technique.

  • Going through past papers can help you work out which topics you are sure of and which you may need to concentrate your efforts on.
  • Different ways of testing your knowledge can reinforce your learning and also show you where you need to do more work.
  • Answering the questions without your notes can be a valuable test of what you know.
  • Working to exam times is good for getting you used to working in exam conditions.
  • It is important you know how you’ve done. Make sure you check your answers – you might even be able to get a teacher to mark your work for you.
2. Time to relax

Find a balance between studying and allowing yourself to relax and unwind.

This is really important – relaxing and doing activities you enjoy will give you the chance to recharge, feel better and work better.

  • Think about your interests – something practical, sporty or creative can really help you switch off.
  • Also remember to eat healthily, drink plenty of water, and most importantly, get enough sleep!
3. Plan your topics

Plan out the topics within your subjects and how much time you are going to allocate to them

Making a timetable can be useful – divide this into subjects. Often alternating these can help, as it ‘resets’ the brain.

Other ideas

  • Set reasonable and manageable goals – dividing these into smaller wins can really help.
  • Using a different mix of revision techniques can be helpful too – so you’re not just reading. You might be a visual learner, so using colour coding etc might help for you.
4. Take a break

Make sure to leave 5–15-minute breaks between each block of revision

The human brain has a short attention span and your concentration will lapse if you revise for too long a stretch. Having a quick break can help.

Don’t forget to leave chunks of time for meeting friends and doing activities you enjoy.

5. Revise the day before

It’s important to make the most of the time you have left to ensure you remember everything.

  • While you should do most of your revision in advance, making sure that what you’ve revised goes into your long-term memory, going over your work before the exam can help check if you have any gaps, cement what you know and may also boost your confidence.
  • Even though you may be nervous, try to stick to your schedule, if possible.
  • The night before, eat well, try to relax – and get a good night’s sleep to make sure you’re refreshed for the next day.
Good luck!
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