5 study secrets of Oxbridge applicants

Students revising together

I know, I know, it’s too early to think about revising right now. Exams aren’t until May – leave me alone TSR!

But if you want to reach those top grades, it’s good to think about it early. And what better way to get revision advice than from the top students – those who are applying to go to Oxford or Cambridge. Here’s what they have to say…

1. Keep an eye on the prize

(A great way to think about your revision is to make a Grow Your Grades blog, by the way. Best get that shameless plug out the way early!)

“I finally decided to create one blog because I wanted to keep a track of my progress and decided sharing it with the community here would be a good idea because I could get awesome advice from some of the nerdy people here :D” – y.u.mad.bro?, Medicine, Oxford

“You may be wondering why is it that I've set myself such high and impossible looking aspirational target grades. Well... because I'm overly ambitious, always have been and always will be. I am so determined and ready to fight for my grades.” – Becca070600, Modern Languages, Oxford

2. Face up to your weak areas

Everyone has them. It can be tempting to only focus on the stuff you’re good at, but to get top grades you have to improve the stuff you’re not so good at as well.

“Academically, there was always going to be an initial struggle, however I feel like I've honestly made good progress as to bridging the gap and stepping up to A Levels.” – AryanGh, Aerospace Engineering, Cambridge

“I also struggled along with some further maths work on the devil itself..... I mean on finding inequalities with rational functions, to be honest I am finding this a bit easier now but I'm still struggling with how to choose which method to use to find the answer." – Agaaga1010, Computer Science, Cambridge

“I'm a serial procrastinator who (thankfully) is beginning to learn from his mistakes.” – Jooms, Natural Sciences, Cambridge

3. Use your free time positively

If you’re doing your A-levels, you probably have free periods – better to think of them as ‘study periods’ and use them wisely…

 “I had two frees this morning. The first I used to further my Media Essay - I got half a paragraph done. The second I used to start making Psychology Flash Cards.” – 10cking, English Literature and Language, Oxford

“I had 3 frees today, so I had a lot of time to do everything I needed to, which was a fair bit” Agaaga1010, Computer Science, Cambridge


4. Start thinking about specific revision methods

It can really help to start thinking about revision methods, and testing out what works for you. That way when exam season rolls around, you’ll know what suits you already.

“Tutor was kind of interesting. It was all about time management. We started by answering questions and getting a score /30... I got 23, the highest in the class. This is particularly good because 26-30 was the section that said it was good, but the risk of burnout was too high.” – Bookloverlolly, Chemistry, Oxford

“I will keep a list of scores which I receive in my mocks and tests so I can look at the progress I am making and the topics I am struggling in.” – y.u.mad.bro?, Medicine, Oxford

“I normally make flashcards after i've done my notes on a phone app called Cram. It helps for putting everything i need to know in one place, so when an exam is approaching i can simply revise using the flashcards on my phone.” – ErinMei, Chemistry, Oxford

5. Don't forget to take breaks!

If you push yourself too hard, you’ll burn yourself out. Make sure that you can blow off some steam regularly.

“As I have a free first thing on Friday, I decided to leave the house later, meaning I didn't get to school until 10. It was quite a refreshing 3 mile walk and I felt great when I got to college - it definitely helped reduce the nightmarish-ness that is Friday.” –Bookloverlolly, Chemistry, Oxford

“I think I'm just trying to catch up on my social life after all that MAT prep, so even if I have the TMUA coming up, I've tried to be more relaxed about it!” – Gcsemusicsucks, Maths, Oxford

“Now if you excuse me, I have a nap to be taking.” – AryanGh, Aerospace Engineering, Cambridge

 Have you started revision yet? What tips do you think are most important? 

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