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A and A* students... Share your revision tips

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    Ok, I literally rewrote notes so many times 'till I was able to write out my whole set of notes for a particular exam without looking; I could also recite them! Worked for me.
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    (Original post by Remarqable M)
    did you manage to get A or A star?
    A*A*A* chem bio PE
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    (Original post by Vanny17)
    I worked very hard for my As level exams but came out with very bad grades. I read during every break/ lunch and sometimes 4 hours straight. I worked through EVERY past papers, made revision notes, cut out on social life and always read before every new chapter. My teachers and students said i had potential to get AAAB grades. How come i messed up? Please tell me what i did wrong. Share your revision tips as well! Please. Thanks.
    A few tips which I used:
    a) The two book method:
    Quite simply, you use one book for class, for writing down what the teacher says and doing exercises and then copy down what you have written in neat later (preferably the same day) in a second book. Class notes are often ill-organised and are generally written quickly- making it difficult to refer to your notes later for revision and recap; the aberrations which made so much sense in class are often meaningless when looked at a few weeks later. Also, by re-writing down your notes you are reinforcing the information and commiting it to your long term memory.
    b) Colour coding;
    Ok, this may seem childish but it works wonderfully. By colour coding your notes (for physics I wrote in red for definitions, orange for highly important explanation, green for formula, blue for workings and black for general) you are enaging different parts of your brain and making it eaiser for later revision. By colour coding, you are forcing your brain to categorise the information and store and process it differently; whilst the different colours also make your notes easy to scan through for particular data ( if you want to revise definitions you just scan through your books and read the sections in red- rather than skimming through mountains of black text to find what you are looking for).
    c) Cornell notes:
    http://coe.jmu.edu/learningtoolbox/cornellnotes.html
    Sometimes is worth a try.
    d) Re-read your notes from time to time.
    e) Do lots of questions and ask your teachers to review your work.
    f) Bricking yourself up is counterproductive. You fatigue faster and your memory is less efficient than if you went out from time to time and talked to friends and/or did somthing interesting.
    g) Work-or-Play. Ever set aside time to do revision but end up hovering/ cooking/ staring blindly at TV. It is because you want to work, so you don't play, but you can't be bothered to actually do work; so you end up doing a tertiary unproductive activity. If you can't face doing work, do somthing fun; rather than do nothing and nether get your work done or replenish your system.
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    really depends how intelligent you are to be honest, and willpower.
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    (Original post by DPLSK)
    Muchas gracias :yep:
    :holmes:
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    (Original post by JordanCarroll)
    A*A*A* chem bio PE


    for bio, what particular things did you do to get A star? and how did you prepare for practicals? because I always do badly in practicals but seem to do well in written papers.
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    (Original post by Vanny17)
    I worked very hard for my As level exams but came out with very bad grades. I read during every break/ lunch and sometimes 4 hours straight. I worked through EVERY past papers, made revision notes, cut out on social life and always read before every new chapter. My teachers and students said i had potential to get AAAB grades. How come i messed up? Please tell me what i did wrong. Share your revision tips as well! Please. My subjects are biology, chemistry, Religious Studies and sociology. Thanks.
    For religious studies write a load of essays, don't bother trying to learn key words and little things like that, it will come to you went writing the essays. Make sure they are perfect, if handed back to you and you get a bad grade re do it. You need to have a least 7 essays for A2 (on each topic) plus you can easily make up your own when you do applied for example apply kants theory to business ethics etc. So therefore you'll be writing essays for every possible combination of questions.
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    Improve your memory..

    i basically stared at my textbook pages until i could close my eyes and see every box, every picture and every paragraph on the spread...

    then when i was in the exam i would close my eyes and picture the page the exam is asking me to refer to and presto! a perfect *textbook* anwser..
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    I'm not a 'perfect' student. I didn't do all the homework set and I didn't attend all lessons, but I still got AAAA.

    I think this was because I knew the exam technique. You can't apply knowledge without the correct technique (unfortunately it shouldn't be like this but meh). First of all, you need to know HOW the paper actually 'works'. Then you revise the knowledge (and look up what you need to know via specifications). Do a few practise papers nearer to the exam date to practise both of these skills and hey presto.

    Whilst teachers can be good resources, they're far from perfect (and I go to a high achieving grammar school). Get in contact with people on TSR who are doing the same spec's as you, share notes, discuss knowledge and technique etc.
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    what is your behaviour like in class?... truthfully?
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    (Original post by christina140892)
    Improve your memory..

    i basically stared at my textbook pages until i could close my eyes and see every box, every picture and every paragraph on the spread...

    then when i was in the exam i would close my eyes and picture the page the exam is asking me to refer to and presto! a perfect *textbook* anwser..
    LOL I wil have to try this
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    (Original post by Makaveli_The_Don)
    Memorise the text book.
    Why are you giving revision tips when you don't even revise? reading your politics textbook a day before your exam does not constitute revision :naughty: :p:

    OP, why are you doing 4 hours at a time? Your concentration levels will drop after about 15 or 20 minutes!! When you feel that you're getting a bit bored or tired just get up, and go for a walk or for a drink of water or to eat something or alternatively if you really don't want to take such a break you could maybe change your revision technique after the 20 minutes or so? So maybe if you've been reading a text book for 20 mins, instead go on online for a 'break' but search for stuff regarding the subject you're revising.

    Also, past papers are really helpful! Do them in the time it says on the paper, then go over them with a different colour and mark them and if there's any wrong answers, write in the right one next to it

    With Sociology - I've not done it personally but is it a bit like Psychology? Do you have studies and findings that you have to remember? I was slightly obsessed with Psychology () and on post it notes I'd write names of psychologists and on other post it notes I would write different figures and findings from studies and I stuck them all over the wardrobe so I would see them when I woke up :ninja: yeah, I have no life

    I love Psychology :cry2:
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    (Original post by Vanny17)
    I worked very hard for my As level exams but came out with very bad grades. I read during every break/ lunch and sometimes 4 hours straight. I worked through EVERY past papers, made revision notes, cut out on social life and always read before every new chapter. My teachers and students said i had potential to get AAAB grades. How come i messed up? Please tell me what i did wrong. Share your revision tips as well! Please. My subjects are biology, chemistry, Religious Studies and sociology. Thanks.
    Its been said before many a time, but past papers are essential: in science based subjects, the same questions come up year after year but with different numbers in!

    Another great thing that I did was to revise things at home and then organise revision sessions with my close friends at school. I would then basically assume the role of the teacher and go over everything with them and ask them questions! You only really know something when you can explain it to someone else!
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    (Original post by Vanny17)
    I worked very hard for my As level exams but came out with very bad grades. I read during every break/ lunch and sometimes 4 hours straight. I worked through EVERY past papers, made revision notes, cut out on social life and always read before every new chapter. My teachers and students said i had potential to get AAAB grades. How come i messed up? Please tell me what i did wrong. Share your revision tips as well! Please. Thanks.
    This is what I did all:

    Since in most of the subjects I was the highest achieving student in the class, I was often used as a 'teacher'. I helped a lot of students when they had problems. Believe it or not, but this is a great way of improving your knowledge of a subject. Helping out students, who are struggling, will not only help them, but also you. This worked great for me, because in Maths for instance, I sometimes had forgotten previous chapters, but by helping others, I managed to revise the previous chapters again and again.

    Also do a lot of past papers (as you said), but only do them once you have finished the syllabus (book). Go through questions that you found hard in the past papers and keep re-doing them until you get full marks. (But don't just do it again and again, but leave gaps, as in don't do the same paper again and again, but do others in between.)

    Try to finish your course as soon as possible. Try to learn the whole course with at least a month to go to the exams (I personally prefer 2 months). In those 1/2 months, do the past papers, do questions. Go to the library and find question books (you should be able to find books full of questions only) related to your course. Make sure you go through as many questions as possible. If you don't understand certain questions, ask your teacher.

    Make sure you know EVERY question of past papers (no point remembering answers or something, but) make sure you know HOW to do each kind of question. I don't know what course you do, but in Maths, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology this is very helpful. Keep revising until you are 100% sure you KNOW it ALL!

    Divide your time well. Don't do too much work at once. Have breaks and also create a time table. (If you send me your email address, I can send you a template of my revision time table in Excel.) Make sure you don't spend entire nights studying, because that's just pointless. People say don't do last minute revision, but if you haven't been doing any so far, I suggest you actually SHOULD do some last minute revision, especially if you are unsure about some topics (shouldn't be the case in the first place though). For me for instance it is extremely helpful.

    If there are any formulas, etc to be remembered, make sure you learn them. If you just can't, just try to memorize them right before the exam and as soon as you enter the exam hall, just write it on the front cover of the exam paper. At the end of the exam you can just erase it or cut through. That's what I do to remember formulae when I simply can't memorize them.

    I don't know what subjects you are doing, but if its a Science or similar subject, make sure you know WHY things are the way they are. Don't just accept it. For example in Maths, make sure you know WHY the integral of 1/x is ln(x) + c and don't just accept it because the teacher says it.

    Make sure you have some images in your mind that tell you how things behave and WHY. A mind map is often very useful. It should be something where you have a visual image, because people tend to remember that a lot easier than simple text.

    I hope it was helpful to you and all others that are interested in finding out how to improve their study skills.

    Any questions, don't hesitate to ask

    EDIT - btw I just realised how long my answer got. Sorry for the length.
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    I went pretty over board this year. I was dissapointed with my Philosophy revision last year- realising i hadnt found a way that worked for me, and hadnt tried, so this year i tried out loads of things in the first few months. I soon found out i respond well to visual stimulation

    -I colour-coded my highlighting (Orange on dates, green on Names, pink on unusual or foreign words or names of places and events and yellow on just general key points)

    -I used colour coded sticky tabs on the books i was reading for my course (e.g If there was an important death scene on a page i would mark it in read, or an important scene of fate or divinity would be tabbed purple) -my friend counted and apparently i used over a hundred on one of the books.

    - I also stuck up post-it notes all around my house with key events then the dates next to them on them, or quotes from the books/plays, or important words/phrases that i found difficult. About once a week i would change all the post its. Also on the post-its the information was also colour coded.

    -Then simply the same old same old- did as many past papers as i could, read through my notes as often as i could...etc
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    (Original post by haaaza23)
    I'm not a 'perfect' student. I didn't do all the homework set and I didn't attend all lessons, but I still got AAAA.

    I think this was because I knew the exam technique. You can't apply knowledge without the correct technique (unfortunately it shouldn't be like this but meh). First of all, you need to know HOW the paper actually 'works'. Then you revise the knowledge (and look up what you need to know via specifications). Do a few practise papers nearer to the exam date to practise both of these skills and hey presto.

    Whilst teachers can be good resources, they're far from perfect (and I go to a high achieving grammar school). Get in contact with people on TSR who are doing the same spec's as you, share notes, discuss knowledge and technique etc.
    What techniques do you apply to tackle questions beginnign with "Describe.." or "Describe and Explain" especially in biology?
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    Try writing a condensed explanation of the course for someone else. Doesn't need to be in too much detail. (And the someone else doesn't actually have to exist)
    I wrote these as revision for the Physics exam, and ended up getting 150/150.
    http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show...php?p=25922866

    If you write something like that, anything you can't explain to someone else, you clearly don't know well enough yourself. So you should spend some time on it.
    I probably spent about a day to 2 days, on each of the pdfs. So that's about 1 week of revision for half an A2 in Physics.
    Then I did practice papers, and just generally made sure I understood everything on that paper.

    The other thing to do is past papers. Lots of them. If you get anything wrong in the paper, look at the notes your written, and it should be explained clearly in a way you understand, and hopefully not too long.

    Also a timetable is a good idea. If you don't have a timetable, it is very hard to actually get round to it. If you make a time table, be realistic, I didn't try and set myself any revision before about 1, and I finished at 9 or 10. I also gave myself a lot of breaks, which meant I probably only did about 5 hours a day, but I nearly always did those hours.

    Also, I wrote the timetable as I went along. I had general guidelines as to what I should be concentrating on in each period, however, my actual timetable was only filled in at most 2 days into the future, which meant that I could have as much time as I needed for each subject. Some times I didn't even have anything planned, and I was basically logging what I did, this also worked because large areas of black (wasted time) are also quite good at motivating you to do something.

    It is also slightly easier revising for A2 exams, as you have a target set by the universities, which you know you have to reach, anything less is a failure.



    Edit: This worked for me, it may not work for other people. I remember stuff that I write/explain. If you are different try something that suites yoursellf.
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    I got A*AAa in sciency subjects fyi.

    Basic advice is to try and stay on top of everything as you do it in class and make sure you under stand it properly.

    Then from about Easter time i started proper revision with doing past exam papers at least once a week for each subject. Then you mark the exam paper, see where you went wrong and then revise that area a bit and then try another paper and repeat.

    Then for the couple of days before each paper it's nonstop revision whenever i had free time. Although i still managed to fit in several hours a day of pissing about/video games even in the evening before big exams. Bursts of half an hyour revision then half an hour TSR/msn/facebook seemed to work for me and keep concentration up. Cutting down on sleep certainly helped.



    For the whole A level i say pay attention in first year. GCSEs are easy, you can scan through the textbook in the morning of the exam and come out with straight As and A*s but As levels are a lot harder.

    If you want A overall it's a lot easier to get around 90% in the easier first year modules then you only need 70% in the more difficult second year modules to get 80% and an A overall.

    Hope that helps.
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    (Original post by Remarqable M)
    for bio, what particular things did you do to get A star? and how did you prepare for practicals? because I always do badly in practicals but seem to do well in written papers.
    the exam board i did consisted of written c/w and written exams,
    so i didn't have graded practicals like i would in chem :/

    and in Bio i tried to go through the whole textbook, and used CGP and edexcel revision guides to support+summarise that,
    then as many past papers as i could find
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    Maths is all about past paper questions. Physics is about past papers, but also definitions, rules, and formulae. For both of these, know what's on the formula sheets, and what isn't, and don't waste any time memorising what is already given.

    Ancient History was the hardest to revise for, out of my subjects. That was taught divided into topics, so I gave each topic a day, read through everything, bullet-pointed everything. First thing in the morning I would write down from memory the key points from the previous days' topics - usually each could be summarised as a question, and divided into columns. An example is was Octavian a better politician or general in the years 44-31BC?: this question basically summed up the chapter on his rise to power. I kept reading over everything, remembering the key points, etc. Also, since you can, to an extent, predict what topics the questions will be based on, you could remember a mnemonic for each topic - 'SPECIAL M' summarised the rules of historiography followed by Tacitus, 'TIQFEQRD' is a list of Augustus' changes to the senate, etc. There were also cue cards for remembering dates and quotes. For me these are great memory aids. And it seems to have worked since I came out with A*.

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