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    My all time best method for me was making all the topics from each unit (one at a time) as compact as possible (by that I mean avoiding writing sentences. Breaking things down) while writing out flash cards on them. At times I had 4 sides worth of info on two cards but that of course varied on the type of info and topic I was writing about. I learned a lot while just writing that out since it required me to constantly be reading through my course book, booklets + notes.

    With such cards, you can then go to a friend, class mate or even your parents, ask them to question you on a certain unit or topic from that unit to see what you can talk about from memory so far. What you remember basically.

    Another way was through doing timed essays (all my a levels were essay based) without notes or with a simple plan I made beforehand. I'd normally do those in class along with everyone else in the class and then our teacher marked them. If you're doing any a levels that are not essay (eg. Science subjects) based then do a timed past paper.

    One of the most important things with revision is that you need to get feedback from teacher (unless they suck lol) on past papers/questions you did. Ask them for feedback even on the revision notes you have made as they might be able to tell if you if that's enough or If you're missing anything.
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    (Original post by gameofthrones1)
    Unfortunately I'm not actually familiar with the new specs but I didn't think Economics and Physics was changing too much? Obviously if the exam layout and content is completely different then obviously it's not worth it. Maths is staying the same though isn't it?
    Economics is becoming more mathsy and physics has changed a lot from what I've seen, but more for A2 than AS

    The exam layout for both are admittedly quite similar to the previous specification so they may be at least half useful, which is good enough I suppose
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    This is one technique I have used in the past that worked for me. I basically wrote out everything I needed to know in a form of a question. I would then later go through and answer the questions that I thought I knew the answer to. After this I would then go back through again and (in a different colour) write the answers to the questions I did not know the answer to (find the answer by going through notes/books/etc..). I would then rewrite the questions I didn't previously know the answer to, and the process would continue until I felt confident enough.

    With this method you have a repetitiveness (which was good for me) and additionally this way you would be reading through your notes, because you have to find the answer.
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    (Original post by wolfslayer1)
    My current revision techniques are OK but I don't feel like I retain the information for a long time after studying. I'm looking to make the things I revise memorable so that it doesn't feel random, just natural I guess.

    Things I have already tried and why they don't work for me:

    - past papers - the notes I make from the past papers are hard to align in the order of the specification so I don't like revising from them because it feels too random

    - typing up my notes from class and from textbooks - takes too long and I lose focus, don't understand a thing, and end up revising from the textbook I got the notes from (yes, even if I make the notes my own words)

    - passively reading textbooks - I lose focus when I read in my head, I get a headache hearing my own voice read out loud

    So.........

    IS THERE ANYTHING THAT WORKS?

    Like, actually works

    Keep writing out whatever it is you want to remember over and over again and keep testing yourself. For psychology I made a PowerPoint full of everything I needed to know and I just kept going through this PowerPoint in till I had learnt it all word for word but bare in mind you're going to have to have the motivation to keep going over it over and over again until you know it - I spent 3 months revising for psychology and was doing 3 hours + every day - this was for A2
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    If you think about what an exam's doing, then it's easier to see why certain techniques are more/less effective. It's essentially a problem-solving exercise where your deductive reasoning skills and application of principles are being tested under timed, controlled conditions. The topics that come up can be more or less random (within certain boundaries), so it tests your broader understanding of the subject.

    If you need good exam results, you need to develop a good working memory - which works in stages of attention, encoding, and retrieval. Good exam technique also means better time efficiency and making points in a more succinct, less beating-around-the-bush way.

    The internet is such a massive resource that you can teach yourself almost anything, as long as you learn how to filter out the misinformation. There are a lot of mathematics/science channels on YouTube, including ExamSolutions for A-level mathematics and KhansAcademy for biology.

    The very first thing is to do is to be organised - at the very minimum to get by, you need to have a copy of your syllabus and the relevant notes/revision-books for your topic.

    During classes and when reading, try to elaborate - think very deeply about your subject and ask yourself "why is that?" or "how does this work, in terms of its mechanisms?" and attempt to come up with the best possible answer you can. If it helps, explain your topic by analogy or break it down piece by piece and explain each step.

    If you want to go one step further as a fairly advanced student, it helps a lot if you can understand/derive the principles behind any formulae or explanation you've been given. These skills are more essential for University level students, but it is certainly helpful for A-level students if you're able to do it.

    It doesn't matter if you know very little of the subject at the start - try to teach someone else the topic anyway. It helps because it forces you to break down the content and understand/explain each point, instead of rote-based techniques used in GCSE.

    If you've completed a few past papers (closed-book), you should have been able to identify some topics you have trouble with. Taking good notes by summarizing and explaining the key points in the book, you should encode and retain the information by completing some exam questions on the topic and improving on your answers until you have a strong understanding.

    It's also really important to avoid *bad* learning techniques, it's quite easy to trick yourself into thinking you've learned a subject.

    The worst methods of learning involve opening a text book and highlighting it, or re-reading. It creates the false sense that you've learned/understood a topic, but what you've really done is created recognition where you can't think of it on your own but it suddenly comes back to you when given a blatant reminder - something you won't have in exams most of the time.

    In an exam, you need to know what information you have and what to do with it. To improve time efficiency, if you're not doing a literature subject like politics or history then making bullet points and underlining key terms used in mark schemes help on identifying mark allocation and how much time you should be spending on each question.

    The structure of your answers should be succinct, easy to follow, and logical. Literature based courses have a particular essay structure to follow - e.g. explanation of terms, introduction, arguments for and against, summary, and conclusion. It is essential to stick to this structure.

    It takes about a hundred hours to learn any particular module - less if you're efficient and pick up new concepts easily. It is essential to have stronger core knowledge to avoid falling behind at later stages, so develop that first before moving on.

    The first closed-book papers you complete may fall within the 50-60% range. That's perfectly fine, even strong students do. The aim is to improve by 3-5% on each paper, until you're comfortably averaging above 85% raw marks (usually an A grade).

    It's possible to keep going further and pushing your grade closer to 100% but it's not time efficient - just move on to the next subject until you're doing well on almost everything. During your exams, you should be well fed and rested so you're able to focus.

    If you follow this advice, it shouldn't be *too* difficult to get a B/A grade(s), and if you apply yourself hard enough and make few mistakes, A*s are certainly within reach.
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    (Original post by wolfslayer1)
    And this works for your long-term memory?
    You must recap what you learn regularly. For example, a day, few days, a week, few weeks, month, few month, ...

    Ignore my previous advice it is silly. Ensure you understand what you learn, make good notes and recap regularly so it stays in long term memory
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    (Original post by katherine9609)
    My all time best method for me was making all the topics from each unit (one at a time) as compact as possible (by that I mean avoiding writing sentences. Breaking things down) while writing out flash cards on them. At times I had 4 sides worth of info on two cards but that of course varied on the type of info and topic I was writing about. I learned a lot while just writing that out since it required me to constantly be reading through my course book, booklets + notes.

    With such cards, you can then go to a friend, class mate or even your parents, ask them to question you on a certain unit or topic from that unit to see what you can talk about from memory so far. What you remember basically.

    Another way was through doing timed essays (all my a levels were essay based) without notes or with a simple plan I made beforehand. I'd normally do those in class along with everyone else in the class and then our teacher marked them. If you're doing any a levels that are not essay (eg. Science subjects) based then do a timed past paper.

    One of the most important things with revision is that you need to get feedback from teacher (unless they suck lol) on past papers/questions you did. Ask them for feedback even on the revision notes you have made as they might be able to tell if you if that's enough or If you're missing anything.
    Thank you so much for the detailed response! So flashcards of bitesized notes essentially right
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    (Original post by Actuvia)
    This is one technique I have used in the past that worked for me. I basically wrote out everything I needed to know in a form of a question. I would then later go through and answer the questions that I thought I knew the answer to. After this I would then go back through again and (in a different colour) write the answers to the questions I did not know the answer to (find the answer by going through notes/books/etc..). I would then rewrite the questions I didn't previously know the answer to, and the process would continue until I felt confident enough.

    With this method you have a repetitiveness (which was good for me) and additionally this way you would be reading through your notes, because you have to find the answer.
    Thank you for your reply!

    Could I ask how specific you made the questions and how detailed you made your answers, because I worry about concepts that require full, developed answers
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    I organise my information. Get A3 paper then write parts of subtopics on them with everything i need to know. Then i make neater copies, then i cut it down so i have the whole subtopic on one sheet of A3 then ill get a notepad write down what i can remember. Its boring but it works. Then ill watch videos/documentaries to broaden my knowledge on that area. Its not untill 2 days before that i begin attacking past papers. I do this just incase anything from previous years comes up so i know how to answer it i also look at markschemes in bed before i go to sleep for some reason😂. If i know nothing for a question i then revise that.

    Works for me, might not for you. I studied Law, pschology and History which are all essay based..
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    (Original post by Rather_Cynical)
    If you think about what an exam's doing, then it's easier to see why certain techniques are more/less effective. It's essentially a problem-solving exercise where your deductive reasoning skills and application of principles are being tested under timed, controlled conditions. The topics that come up can be more or less random (within certain boundaries), so it tests your broader understanding of the subject.

    If you need good exam results, you need to develop a good working memory - which works in stages of attention, encoding, and retrieval. Good exam technique also means better time efficiency and making points in a more succinct, less beating-around-the-bush way.

    The internet is such a massive resource that you can teach almost anything, as long as you learn how to filter out the misinformation. There are a lot of mathematics/science channels on YouTube, including ExamSolutions for A-level mathematics and KhansAcademy for biology.

    The very first thing is to do is to be organised - at the very minimum to get by, you need to have a copy of your syllabus and the relevant notes/revision-books for your topic.

    During classes and when reading, try to elaborate - think very deeply about your subject and ask yourself "why is that?" or "how does this work, in terms of its mechanisms?" and attempt to come up with the best possible answer you can. If it helps, explain your topic by analogy or break it down piece by piece and explain each step.

    If you want to go one step further as a fairly advanced student, it helps a lot if you can understand/derive the principles behind any formulae or explanation you've been given. These skills are more essential for University level students, but it is certainly helpful for A-level students if you're able to do it.

    It doesn't matter if you know very little of the subject at the start - try to teach someone else the topic anyway. It helps because it forces you to break down the content and understand/explain each point, instead of rote-based techniques used in GCSE.

    If you've completed a few past papers (closed-book), you should have been able to identify some topics you have trouble with. Taking good notes by summarizing and explaining the key points in the book, you should encode and retain the information by completing some exam questions on the topic and improving on your answers until you have a strong understanding.

    It's also really important to avoid *bad* learning techniques, it's quite easy to trick yourself into thinking you've learned a subject.

    The worst methods of learning involve opening a text book and highlighting it, or re-reading. It creates the false sense that you've learned/understood a topic, but what you've really done is created recognition where you can't think of it on your own but it suddenly comes back to you when given a blatant reminder - something you won't have in exams most of the time.

    In an exam, you need to know what information you have and what to do with it. To improve time efficiency, if you're not doing a literature subject like politics or history then making bullet points and underlining key terms used in mark schemes help on identifying mark allocation and how much time you should be spending on each question.

    The structure of your answers should be succinct, easy to follow, and logical. Literature based courses have a particular essay structure to follow - e.g. explanation of terms, introduction, arguments for and against, summary, and conclusion. It is essential to stick to this structure.

    It takes about a hundred hours to learn any particular module - less if you're efficient and pick up new concepts easily. It is essential to have stronger core knowledge to avoid falling behind at later stages, so develop that first before moving on.

    The first closed-book papers you complete may fall within the 50-60% range. That's perfectly fine, even strong students do. The aim is to improve by 3-5% on each paper, until you're comfortably averaging above 85% raw marks (usually an A grade).

    It's possible to keep going further and pushing your grade closer to 100% but it's not time efficient - just move on to the next subject until you're doing well on almost everything. During your exams, you should be well fed and rested so you're able to focus.

    If you follow this advice, it shouldn't be *too* difficult to get a B/A grade(s), and if you apply yourself hard enough and make few mistakes, A*s are certainly within reach.
    I cannot stress enough how HELPFUL this was. Thank you so much for your response! So to sort of reiterate what you said:

    1) develop a good working memory (could you explain the attention, encoding and retrieval concept a bit more though please?)

    2) take use of internet resources e.g. ExamSolutions for maths

    3) get organised - essentially having the subject specifications and relevant textbooks

    4) delve deeper into the subject for understanding - i.e. make learning more memorable by retrieving its context

    5) try to teach what I have learnt to others to help with knowledge consolidation

    6) ultimately keep practising with papers for each subject, distributing the time wisely between them

    THANK YOU
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    Try to be more active with your revision. You could do things like making up questions and then attempting to answer them with as much detail as you can and then you can check your answers and add anything you missed out. Before you make notes make sure that you fully understand the content, spending time to understand it will make your brain think and it will help to keep it on your long term memory rather than just writing it down without knowing what it means. Also you could try to teach it to someone, such as a family member, if you don't have anyon willing you could just pretend someone is there and it still works as an effective method because it's active
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    (Original post by Kryptonian)
    You must recap what you learn regularly. For example, a day, few days, a week, few weeks, month, few month, ...

    Ignore my previous advice it is silly. Ensure you understand what you learn, make good notes and recap regularly so it stays in long term memory
    Understand, make good notes and regular recapping ... got it!

    Thank you for your advice hun
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    (Original post by fefssdf)
    Keep writing out whatever it is you want to remember over and over again and keep testing yourself. For psychology I made a PowerPoint full of everything I needed to know and I just kept going through this PowerPoint in till I had learnt it all word for word but bare in mind you're going to have to have the motivation to keep going over it over and over again until you know it - I spent 3 months revising for psychology and was doing 3 hours + every day - this was for A2
    What helped you apply what you had learned?
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    (Original post by Abbey15)
    I organise my information. Get A3 paper then write parts of subtopics on them with everything i need to know. Then i make neater copies, then i cut it down so i have the whole subtopic on one sheet of A3 then ill get a notepad write down what i can remember. Its boring but it works. Then ill watch videos/documentaries to broaden my knowledge on that area. Its not untill 2 days before that i begin attacking past papers. I do this just incase anything from previous years comes up so i know how to answer it i also look at markschemes in bed before i go to sleep for some reason😂. If i know nothing for a question i then revise that.

    Works for me, might not for you. I studied Law, pschology and History which are all essay based..
    Thank you! I like the idea of watching videos/documentaries because I guess you can do that for many other subjects too, like Economics I guess
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    (Original post by Samii123)
    Try to be more active with your revision. You could do things like making up questions and then attempting to answer them with as much detail as you can and then you can check your answers and add anything you missed out. Before you make notes make sure that you fully understand the content, spending time to understand it will make your brain think and it will help to keep it on your long term memory rather than just writing it down without knowing what it means. Also you could try to teach it to someone, such as a family member, if you don't have anyon willing you could just pretend someone is there and it still works as an effective method because it's active
    Thank you - would you recommend learning and understand like a whole subtopic first and then making the questions, or making the questions first and then finding the answers?
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    (Original post by wolfslayer1)
    I cannot stress enough how HELPFUL this was. Thank you so much for your response! So to sort of reiterate what you said:

    1) develop a good working memory (could you explain the attention, encoding and retrieval concept a bit more though please?)

    2) take use of internet resources e.g. ExamSolutions for maths

    3) get organised - essentially having the subject specifications and relevant textbooks

    4) delve deeper into the subject for understanding - i.e. make learning more memorable by retrieving its context

    5) try to teach what I have learnt to others to help with knowledge consolidation

    6) ultimately keep practising with papers for each subject, distributing the time wisely between them

    THANK YOU
    I'm bad at summarizing my own post, but you've captured my key points well.

    The attention/encoding/retrieval concept is about all the memory stages your mind goes through to learn.

    Attention - the focus you need when listening to your teachers/lecturers in class or reading from a book. If you're no good at this at school, then look at finding other sources to learn (the internet sources I've mentioned, there's plenty more for other topics eg Economics)
    NB - if you know the order the syllabus is going to be taught if you have a module descriptor, or just asking your teachers on the order of teaching then you can do some pre-learning before your classes. It helps maximise focus because you won't be sitting around in classes confused during a lecture.
    Encoding - storing it into your memory by making the right kinds of associations (eg in Chemistry, I can understand energy levels by drawing a little hill and making the analogy that it's like pushing particles down to the bottom of the slope) and practicing questions.
    Retrieval - the ability to remember what you need to know and how to apply it. If you're great at this, you should be able to look at an exam question and "see" what you need to do with it based on all the course content you've learned, picking out which parts are relevant, and applying it to the specific question to optimize your marks.

    Good exam technique also includes knowing that for EdExcel mathematics, it's a legitimate option to do two attempts of the same question.
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    (Original post by wolfslayer1)
    Thank you! I like the idea of watching videos/documentaries because I guess you can do that for many other subjects too, like Economics I guess
    Its okay! Thats true, after doing stupid hours revision you get tired and your hand hurts so i find watching helps even if just one or two new bits of info stick in.

    I also use my mum as a student and explain it all to her it helps as it builds confidence and they will ask when they dont understand what you are saying etc..my mum could have sat my exams 😂 id come home tell her questions on them and shed be like "i hope you included blah,blah and blah" 😂😂😂

    Good luck!
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    (Original post by wolfslayer1)
    Thank you - would you recommend learning and understand like a whole subtopic first and then making the questions, or making the questions first and then finding the answers?

    I think it would be better to understand and go over a whole topic, then make questions and answer them to the best of your ability and then look at the answers afterwards
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    (Original post by Rather_Cynical)
    I'm bad at summarizing my own post, but you've captured my key points well.

    The attention/encoding/retrieval concept is about all the memory stages your mind goes through to learn.

    Attention - the focus you need when listening to your teachers/lecturers in class or reading from a book. If you're no good at this at school, then look at finding other sources to learn (the internet sources I've mentioned, there's plenty more for other topics eg Economics)
    NB - if you know the order the syllabus is going to be taught if you have a module descriptor, or just asking your teachers on the order of teaching then you can do some pre-learning before your classes. It helps maximise focus because you won't be sitting around in classes confused during a lecture.
    Encoding - storing it into your memory by making the right kinds of associations (eg in Chemistry, I can understand energy levels by drawing a little hill and making the analogy that it's like pushing particles down to the bottom of the slope) and practicing questions.
    Retrieval - the ability to remember what you need to know and how to apply it. If you're great at this, you should be able to look at an exam question and "see" what you need to do with it based on all the course content you've learned, picking out which parts are relevant, and applying it to the specific question to optimize your marks.

    Good exam technique also includes knowing that for EdExcel mathematics, it's a legitimate option to do two attempts of the same question.
    Wow, thanks again for taking time out to respond. I reckon the attention and retrieval stages are the most challenging but with practice I guess it will become less of a daunting experience, right?

    And when you say 2 attempts of the same question do you mean literally working it out again but differently? Do you recommend doing so in the real exam or merely in practice papers?
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    (Original post by wolfslayer1)
    Thank you for your reply!

    Could I ask how specific you made the questions and how detailed you made your answers, because I worry about concepts that require full, developed answers
    it did depend on which subject it was because each subject requires you to learn different versions of information (if that makes sense). I generally went into as much detail as I thought necessary/possible. Also sometimes the questions weren't just about content, there was also some to do with what technique was needed to answer some questions, or how long I should spend on a question. Just anything I needed (or thought I needed) to know.

    I'm not sure if this answers your question or not.
 
 
 
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