How To Prepare For GCSE Exams In November

In this blog you’re going to learn the steps I would take if I were preparing for GCSE exams in November.

Step 1: Setting up a revision guide for GCSEs

I would start by looking at the specification paper and colour coding what I feel confident on, and what I feel I need to practise. 

I would then prioritise the topics for each subject (based on the weighting of marks) and create a study schedule for the next 30 days. 

BONUS TIP:

I would make sure that my sessions are focused on revision and not learning nor ‘fake learning’ (re reading, re writing notes… time wasters). 

Step 2: Revision tips for GCSEs

While revising, I would make sure I’m using active recall by testing myself at the end of every session to ensure I know where I stand. From these results, I would assess my knowledge gap and plan my spaced revision accordingly.

I would also make sure that I have a visual of the key formulas, quotes, theories and dates on the wall in different rooms. As a visual and kinaesthetic learner this is a great way for me to remember things as I can visualise the topic, the room and on what wall each card is. 

BONUS TIP:

For someone who is an auditory learner, recording yourself going through summary notes or flashcards can be useful. These can be listened to on walks, during travel, while brushing your teeth or making dinner. 

Step 3: Maintaining Momentum while Studying

Mental wellbeing is an important factor we need to consider, especially in the lead up to exams. I would have hopefully revised frequently throughout the last few years so this time is mostly just follow up.

I would also carve out time for rest. The 2 days before exams I would sleep well, eat balanced, move my body, and practise self care. 

Exam specific tips:

English Literature:

  • Ensure the quotes I have chosen are short (the length is irrelevant as long as you can explain it)
  • Confirm the quotes I have chosen have a form of literary device that I can explain
  • Ensure that I know key dates and events that happened around the time the author wrote the piece so I can link back to historical context

Maths:

  • Review my basics like times tables to ensure I’m quick and efficient
  • Practise the more heavily weighted content
  • Review the orange colours from my study guide (ones I’m not confident with)
  • Know basics: prime numbers, factors, multiples — these are easy marks

Biology:

  • Ensure I understand the key concepts well
  • Read the specification to ensure I know what questions will be worth more questions and focus there
  • Watch videos that explain with visuals to help things stay fresh in my mind

Chemistry:

  • Review key formulas
  • Focus on concepts I’m still not secure on
Maya Angelou - do the best you can.

If your GCSE exams are not in November but are coming up, these tips might be helpful for you:

When should I start studying for GCSES?

This is a common question I get asked by GCSE tuition clients.

My answer “you should have started yesterday”.

But I don’t say this to cause panic and worry, rather the exact opposite. By revising early we eliminate panic, worry and even lower performance anxiety.

  • participate in classes to avoid the need to cram later
  • set up a studying routine from the start (September)
  • stay consistent in revision as consistency is key

How to keep momentum while studying

Bettering Youth approaches exams like a marathon rather than a sprint. We’re all about slow and steady. This allows us to ensure we’re keeping the content fresh in mind, but we’re also maintaining momentum and a positive headspace.

  • Routines can be powerful in keeping you on track
  • Keep sessions short and concise – The Pomedero method is great
  • Schedule in down time

How to build a GCSE revision time table that works

As mentioned, consistency is key and spaced repetition is a powerful tool that can help you remember important information. Therefore, setting up a revision table in September – even if it’s not perfect – is helpful!

  • Make sure that you have built a revision timetable that reflects the specification
  • Prioritise your subjects
  • Plan out the topics in each subject
  • Decide when you’ll look at each topic and put it in a spreadsheet
  • After the revision session’s mini quiz, decide how far you’ll space out the material before you review it again

Revision techniques that boost marks

Alas, the content you’ve been looking for. Hopefully this will help boost your marks for the GCSE November exams.

These are but a few of the Bettering Youth tutor favourites.

  • Active recall: the process of testing yourself following a revision session
    • Flashcards
    • Exam style questions
  • Spaced revision: reviewing content at spaced intervals depending on how well you recalled the information
  • Visual representations: placing notes in the room on the walls
  • Using videos to help with the visualisation
  • Recording notes and listening to them in down time (travel, doing chores etc)
  • Have a study buddy that keeps you accountable

How to minimise exam stress

Exam season can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be. With some organisation, focus and good habits you’ll feel more comfortable.

  • Treat exam season like a sports season… prepare like an athlete
    • Show up intentionally
    • Follow a plan
    • Know your strengths and work on your weaknesses
    • Have a team around you
    • Put in the time
    • Train your body:
      • Sleep well
      • Exercise to reduce stress
      • Eat balanced diets to keep the body functioning at optimum levels
      • Manage stress with mindfulness and calm practises
  • Treat your mocks seriously… they might well be your actual marks at the moment
  • Practise exam style circumstances – timed circumstances
  • Know how to manage performance anxiety

4 BREATH TECHNIQUES TO EASE PERFORMANCE ANXIETYPerformance anxiety is a common obstacle that I work with my students…

Posted by Bettering Youth on Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Apps to help exam success:

The phone can either be a tool or a hindrance when it comes to exam prep. My philosophy is to have an exam folder on your phone with some of the following apps. Put the expectation that if you’re on your phone during school hours, it should be in this folder only (unless you’re on a break).

  • Anki: create flashcards from your class notes, the program will ask you these questions at spaced intervals depending on if you get it right or not
  • Quizlet: Hundred of GCSE prep quizzes created by teachers
  • Duo lingo: A fun and interactive way to practise for a language exam
  • Photomath: take a photo of a maths problem and it will show you how to solve it
  • Flora: Use flora as a visual representation of the time you spend on each topic or subject

Invest in Exam Coaching

One of the best ways to support your efforts and get the marks you want is to invest in exam coaching. A serious athlete would never expect to win or perform their best without a coach. The same goes for studying.

The Bettering Youth exam coaching programme focuses on technique, method, and application. This means that our students don’t learn the material for the exams during this time together, rather they learn the HOW of exam taking.

We have combined years of exam taking experience and condensed it into a course delivered during the half term.

If you are preparing for GCSE exams in November and you’re feeling overwhelmed please get in touch or connect via our Half Term GCSE Booster club.

PIN IT FOR LATER

Bettering Youth shares these top tips to help you prepare for GCSEs

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