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GCSEs: A Definitive Guide from Someone Who Got 11 A*s Watch

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    About Me
    Hello everyone. I am relatively new on TSR but in May / June of this year I sat my GCSEs. After thinking that some of them had gone pretty badly, when it came to results day I was pretty nervous, not just due to my performance but also with the immensely high grade boundaries and news reports of record drops in A*-C grades that morning. However, when opening my results, what I thought was the impossible, became possible: I had gotten straight A*s. 10, this year, to be exact, which were: English Language, English Literature, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics, Spanish, Geography, Art and Computing. I had already sat my Religious Studies (short) GCSE in year 10, also achieving an A* in that, thus totalling 11.

    I am not going to say that it was easy, because it wasn't. I revised for long hours, but I was determined to get as many A*s as possible. However, if you guys are here, it shows that you at least have some determination, and that is the best tool to help you achieving grades as high as my own.

    I should also add that I did not attend a private school. My school's pass rate was fairly low (at 53% last year and 60% this year). Also, in the latest OFSTED report, it got rated a grade 3, classified as "needs improvement". I did not have any private tutors neither. I am telling you this because a lot of people feel the need to spend lots of money on private education, or go to fairly bad schools as I did. However, as I have proven, there is hope and as I said above, determination is the best thing to have in these kinds of scenarios.

    So, why am I writing this about me? Well, it's to provide myself with a little credibility and also give a background on myself and I suppose some people find it a little interesting And why am I writing this guide? Because I want to help you guys, of course!

    The Guide
    I am going to go through each individual subject because my revision techniques largely varied between what type of content I was aiming to cover and learn. First, however, I am going to write some general tips and organisation advice.

    Timing
    I began revising lightly in around November / December. This would involve doing around 2 or 3 hours a day of briefly looking over content. I started proper revision in around February / March time, which would consist of around 4 - 5 hours a day on weekends and 3 - 4 hours a day on weekdays.

    Many people will probably have mock examinations in February time, perhaps a little earlier or later depending on schools. The most important thing to do for mock exams is revise like they are the real thing. For my mocks I sacrificed my entire Christmas holiday and worked for 5 hours a day, every day. It gave me a bit of a head start and when I got my mock results back I knew my areas of weakness and where I'd struggle in the real exam season (for me it was Maths and Physics).

    I also need to add that, contrary to what I've just said above, do not do too much too early. You'll burn out as I did and it is not a good feeling, so always be comfortable with the amount you're doing and don't compare the amount of revision you're doing to others.

    Organisation and Keeping Track
    Around February time I began to make timetables for revision. I stuck my exam dates on my wall in order to motivate myself every day of the impending doom. If your school hasn't given exam timetables out this early, the exam board's websites have all of the dates over a year before exam season, so no excuses!

    A tip I'd have to give is to do a task based system. This is so important. For example, rather than saying "1 hour of Biology", say "kidney filtration, carbon cycle and decay". This way, you have to get done the tasks you set whereas if you set time based goals you may get half an hour in and become bored, spending the remaining 30 minutes doing nothing. I'd advise to try and stay to hourly blocks though (so don't set tasks which you know will take over 2 hours). Also, be sure to have breaks in between (about 5 - 10 minutes) and be sure to drink plenty of water.

    To organise myself, I used the free Google Sheets. I had a sheet for each individual subject and listed all of the topic titles for every subject in their corresponding sheet. Then, I colour coded each topic in green, amber or red. Green meaning I was confident and didn't really need to revise that subject, amber meaning I want to revise it but it isn't a priority, and red meaning I am very unsure and need to revise ASAP. An example of a subject is here:


    I can provide this document if anyone wants but I just used the subject titles from the CGP guides.

    I also colour coded my exam timetable in the same way so I could see which exams I were most and least confident for.

    Techniques
    I'd definitely say that it's important to use a variety of techniques when revising so that you do not get bored and tired of the same thing. Many techniques are stronger with individual subjects (such as languages and flashcards in my opinion), so you will probably naturally vary your technique anyway.

    Flashcards
    Flashcards are especially good for information recall, so I'd say most useful for a language (as will be explained below). Put a question or word on one side, and try and recall the information on the back and vice versa. It'll help you to remember the information, I promise!

    Mindmaps
    Put a topic in the middle of the page and write as much as possible as you can about that particular topic around the bubble. Make it colourful and do little drawings as it'll make the mind map stand out and therefore you will be able to recall the information much better.

    Notes
    There are two ways to make notes: computerised or written. I personally preferred to use a computer when making notes because I hated my handwriting however hand written notes are generally easier to remember and are therefore more effective. For Geography, I made an entire revision guide using the computer and that was all I did (I remembered the information as I was making the guide). There is a trap with notes, however: firstly, don't just re-write your revision guide out. Try and write in your own words as it'll help the information to stick more. Secondly, don't do notes on things you're already confident with for the sake of sticking to an order. It's pointless.

    Reading
    I know that all teachers will tell you this is pointless, but I personally found it the most effective way of revising. I'd read a certain topic every night for over 120 nights and eventually it all stuck. I also found that reading a topic aloud from the revision guide and trying to recall it helped me a lot. However, this probably won't be the same for most people, but it did help me so try it out if you haven't yet because your teachers have said it's pointless.

    Social
    This way of revision was my favourite. Me and a group of friends would get together and talk through topics and ask each other topic questions. This was most effective for the sciences. This can be a dangerous way of revising, though. You need to do it with someone who will not distract you and will actually get something done. 2 people I'd say is the most because after that the group gets too big and too distracting.

    Listening
    A good way to revise is to record yourself speaking about a certain topic and then when in the car or when you have some free time, listen to it back. Most of us humans tend to hate the sound of our own voices, and that's why you'll do good at remembering what's on the audio.

    Another good way to revise in regards to listening is to listen to podcasts. iTunes has lots and MrBruff often does podcasts for English. When on the way to school or in the car on a long journey, I would often listen to a podcast and I feel as though it really helped me.

    Revision: General
    Past Papers
    Past papers will always be the best way to test yourself and get an accurate idea of where you are in terms of your study progress. I'd recommend doing these for pretty much every subject. However, for the new specification (Maths and English), I'd recommend definitely doing them once you've covered all of the topics and revised as much as possible as only one specimen paper is available per subject, so it needs to be used correctly! For most other (currently) unreformed subjects, I'd recommend doing the past papers every so often to ensure you are making expected progress. Past papers can be found on the exam board's websites.

    Specification
    As mentioned below, this is one of your best friends. It's basically an exam board published "checklist" of each topic. The exam board will only test you on this content, so if you download the specification and ensure you have covered everything in it, you shouldn't get any nasty surprises in the exam. I printed it off for each subject and highlighted parts which I needed to revise (some of the specification isn't covered in the guides!) or weren't familiar with. It really helped me especially for the sciences.

    Controlled Assessments
    I mentioned this above but I just want to reiterate the importance of doing well on your controlled assessments. Ensure that you have got the grade in your controlled assessments that you actually want as your final grade (for example, if you want a B overall in Biology, ensure you have at least a B in the ISA). However, definitely try and get as high as you can regardless of your overall target grade. I flopped one of my Spanish exams and got a B and an A*, but my controlled assessments were full marks so those pulled that B up allowing me to get an overall A*.

    Revision: Subject by Subject
    In here, I will list each subject and then talk about it a little bit. I will explain which techniques I used and I will also list any websites and revision guides I found particularly useful. I should also mention that for my revision I made no properly written notes. Revision is very personal, so don't feel pressured in to doing what everyone else thinks is right.

    I should also add that if you are confident with a topic, do not feel as though you need to revise it. A lot of my friends wrote notes for subjects and did it in order of the textbook. This technique is pointless and time wasting. If you're confident with a topic, skip it. End of.

    Mathematics
    For maths, I primarily used videos on YouTube, rather than a revision guide. I found it much easier for someone to talk about a topic to me than read it from a guide. The best website I found was M4ths.com, which had a video for every GCSE topic. I know that the system has changed to the grade 9 - 1, but the techniques will still be applicable. Also, I bought a whiteboard so I could work through with the man on the videos. A lot of the videos were worked examples, so I'd pause the video, try myself first, and then see if I got the right solution. I recommend doing this for every topic you are not confident with.

    Once fairly confident with most topics, past papers are your best friend. These can be found on the exam board's websites (the old GCSE papers will be applicable to the new system). Do as many of these as possible as it really helps. From doing past papers I was achieving 95 - 98 on each paper which I was confident I also achieved in the real exam. Questions are often recycled so if you're lucky, you'll get in there and see a question similar to one you've already done in a past paper.

    Sciences (Physics, Chemistry and Biology)
    Physics was by far my worst science. In the real exam, however, it ended up being my best UMS score, so what I did really helped. I did AQA as most schools do. The best website for this is MyGCSEScience. The best revision guide in my opinion are the CGP ones, for each individual science.

    For these, I would sit down at my desk, get a piece of paper (or whiteboard), and watch a MyGCSEScience video. Whilst the video was playing, I would make brief notes and try and memorise what was on the whiteboard. After the video had stopped, I would rewrite all of the information to ensure I had properly learned all of the content on a particular topic. This was a very quick process and not anywhere near as tedious as getting a notebook and writing notes for each topic.

    For science, I also read the revision guide. Yes, I read it. Many teachers will say that "reading is not revision" and it "doesn't go in". Granted, read it once and a very little amount will go in. However, if you constantly re-read the same topic over a number of nights, it'll eventually go in. So, every night, starting in around February, I would read around 20 pages of the revision guide on a certain unit (so B1, C1, etc). Then I'd repeat this for several nights until I could recall the information. I ended up reading 20 pages for 120 nights in a row, and I honestly feel like it helped so much. This will not help everyone, and will vary in success for everyone, but 20 pages a night is about 20 minutes. It's nothing. Sometimes, I felt too tired and demotivated. This is why I downloaded an app called HabitBull on my iPhone, which basically forced me to make it a habit and do it every night, so try it!

    Other effective revision techniques for these subjects were also social revision and reading aloud (these are explained in the "techniques" section). Moreover, the specification is another great friend that the exam board have been kind enough to give you. This is essentially a tick list which can be found on your exam board's website. I printed the specification off and ensured I knew everything in there, and I do advise doing this because the CGP books do leave out the finer details which can be 1 mark questions in the papers.

    Once you're confident with every topic, past papers are your best friend again. Do every past paper at least twice because a lot of questions are recycled. For example, in C2 they always ask a 4 mark question about rates of reaction, and if you can go into that exam knowing the 4 points the examiners are looking for, then you've bagged it. Doing exam papers also helps you to learn how to structure your answers properly so that you're setting yourself up for success.

    PS: Your ISA matters. A lot. In my ISAs I achieved 49, 49, 50 in Chemistry, Biology and Physics respectively. This came out at 100 UMS for all three (each exam is worth 100UMS, so out of 400UMS total, 360 is needed for an A*). So, that meant that with 100UMS already bagged, I only needed 3 As on each of my papers (87 UMS in all 3 will have given me an A* overall). Therefore, you need to try your best to get that A* in your ISA. I can help if you need more advice

    Languages (Spanish for me)
    The best advice I can offer for languages is using flashcards. If you find the specification there should be a word list. It's usually very long (mine was 3000 / 4000 words). However, these are the words which are going to be used within your exam paper, so, in theory, if you learn the translation for every word then you should be able to understand your exam easily. The best way to do this is to put the word in Spanish (or whatever language you study) and its translation in English on the back. Repeat this several times until you are confident with it and repeat every so often to ensure you haven't forgotten it. For the flashcards, since there are so many words, I'd advise using an app on a tablet or computer. I personally used Chegg and Quizlet on my iPad, however there are many more such as Memrise. I have also heard that Anki on the computer is very good.

    Also, to help myself learn sentence structures and verb endings (in Spanish, the adjective comes after the noun whereas in English it comes before) I used Duolingo. This is a free service and I found it very good for grammatical structure and general understanding. Check it out

    Past papers for this are not as important in my opinion. I did a few near to the exam to familiarise myself with question types as well as highlighting words I weren't familiar with, but it didn't form a large part of my revision.

    English Language
    English language, for me, was the most difficult subject by far. Coupled with the subjective nature and an extremely weak department at my school, I found it very hard and tedious. I know that the structure has changed and I am not fully familiar with it, so I won't do a question by question guide but I will give general tips and advice.

    The best way to revise for this subject is Mr Bruff. Watch all of his videos, they are very good. The revision guide he made was also helpful.

    I'd also say that a little goes a long way. For example, when getting an analytical question, think about saying a lot about a little. It's tedious I know but if a picture shows that waves are crashing upon a grey cliff face, think about why the weather is portrayed in this way and why the colours in the photograph are so bleak. Is it because the writer wanted to show the destructive and unpredictable nature of weather? Is it because the writer wanted to show the dull nature of the coast line? Who knows, but try and think outside of the box and give unconventional interpretations (as long as you can back it up!).

    For creative writing, I'd say to take risks. Question 5 in my exam paper was about pushing yourself to the limit and why the experience had stayed with you. Immediately I knew everyone would write about physical limits and how they pushed their body onwards through a military exercise or something like that. Instead, I decided to do emotional limits, and how an experience that traumatised me had stayed with me throughout my life. It wasn't the strongest piece of writing I admit, but it was something I knew would be different and would make the examiner pay notice. In my letter I also used words such as "swag" to create humour about current teen culture. Do something different and be spontaneous. There's nothing wrong with that but don't force it in, make sure it fits.

    English Literature
    English Literature is pretty much analysis and essay based. The best advice I can offer here is to use Mr Bruff on YouTube again (as he has guides going through many different novels). Also, you need to ensure that you're familiar with your book and poems, more so with the newer specification. I read my books about 6 times each (very excessive reading, I know), but it ensured that I was as confident as could be when going in to that exam. When analysing, try again to say a little about a lot and give uncommon interpretations which go beyond the standard teachings that you get in school. Moreover, use technical terms (such as superlative and hyperbole) and ensure that you analyse a range of different literary devices, including structure as well as language. Also, do as many past paper questions as possible. With English Literature, your enemy will most likely be your timing. It's very hard to get in to the exam, choose a question, and then write a 3 page essay in 45 minutes. Therefore, the best advice I can offer is to time yourself because it'll help you to develop the skills necessary to be able to think and write a coherent answer in a short amount of time.

    Geography
    This will be pretty short. For Geography, all I did was make computerised notes and read them aloud. I did AQA A, so the amount of revision guides were pretty limited. Therefore, what I decided to do was get the specification and make my own revision guide (if anyone is on the same exam board just ask and I will try and find it. No promises, though, I may have deleted it!).

    When I had done that, the most important thing to remember was the case study information. To memorise specific facts about a certain case study, I would use my flashcards, as explained in the techniques section, until I was confident that I could recall the information.

    Computing
    The best way I revised for computing (OCR) was by using YouTube: ComputerScienceTutor. I'd revise in a similar way to the sciences - sit down, watch a video, make notes, see what I'd remember, rinse and repeat. It really helped because I had a very bad teacher. I'd also say that controlled assessments are very important for computing: since they're worth 60% if you get A* A* in them you can come out with a low A in the exam and still get an A* overall.

    Also, it's important in computing that you understand the concepts and how they link together. It can get quite difficult at times in terms of remembering things such as network hardware and purpose etc., but it can be done with perseverance. Furthermore, I'd also say to practise practise practise by using past papers. There is always a 6 mark algorithm at the end of the paper so you'll need to practise using pseudocode or a language and get to grips with how to structure your answers and how to gain all of the marks.

    Conclusion
    Well, there it is everyone! My major long guide to how to do well in GCSEs. This was pretty much everything I did so if you work like me then all of these tips will be good. If you've made it this far down the post, then I imagine you're pretty motivated to get some good results. I will continue to update this guide with more information and am open to any messages or questions that you guys have.

    Thanks for reading!

    Update: 27 September 2016
    @Alfoxd linked me to this: http://studywise.co.uk/gcse-revision/ which I thought would be quite useful. It has a subject by subject breakdown and links you to resources, specifications, papers etc. Check it out!
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    Hi!

    Firstly, well done for your amazing results :h:

    Thank you for this! I have just finished GCSEs as well so it's not completely relevant, but I really liked the idea with your spreadsheet! (I love spreadsheets - I had one to keep track of all my past papers that I'd done but that was it).

    Thanks again - and good luck with A-Levels!
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    I'm starting my GCSEs this year and this is so helpful.Thank you
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    Thank you so much for the thread! It will put many students, such as myself, in good stead for Year 11!
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    Hi,
    Firstly well done on your grades they are amazing and your revision ethic is amazing ! Thank you !Will you be doing an alevel blog ? Your so organised wow !
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    Hi. Congratulations on you're GCSE results and thank you for starting this thread. This will help many Y11s like myself and I will link you on the Y11 thread.
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    (Original post by Joshiee)
    Note: This guide isn't completely finished. I'm tired so I'll complete it tomorrow but feel free to ask questions!

    About Me
    Hello everyone. I am relatively new on TSR but in May / June of this year I sat my GCSEs. After thinking that some of them had gone pretty badly, when it came to results day I was pretty nervous, not just due to my performance but also with the immensely high grade boundaries and news reports of record drops in A*-C grades that morning. However, when opening my results, what I thought was the impossible, became possible: I had gotten straight A*s. 10, this year, to be exact, which were: English Language, English Literature, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics, Spanish, Geography, Art and Computing. I had already sat my Religious Studies (short) GCSE in year 10, also achieving an A* in that, thus totalling 11.

    I am not going to say that it was easy, because it wasn't. I revised for long hours, but I was determined to get as many A*s as possible. However, if you guys are here, it shows that you at least have some determination, and that is the best tool to help you achieving grades as high as my own.

    I should also add that I did not attend a private school. My school's pass rate was fairly low (at 53% last year and 60% this year). Also, in the latest OFSTED report, it got rated a grade 3, classified as "needs improvement". I did not have any private tutors neither. I am telling you this because a lot of people feel the need to spend lots of money on private education, or go to fairly bad schools as I did. However, as I have proven, there is hope and as I said above, determination is the best thing to have in these kinds of scenarios.

    So, why am I writing this about me? Well, it's to provide myself with a little credibility and also give a background on myself and I suppose some people find it a little interesting And why am I writing this guide? Because I want to help you guys, of course!

    The Guide
    I am going to go through each individual subject because my revision techniques largely varied between what type of content I was aiming to cover and learn. First, however, I am going to write some general tips and organisation advice.

    Timing
    I began revising lightly in around November / December. This would involve doing around 2 or 3 hours a day of briefly looking over content. I started proper revision in around February / March time, which would consist of around 4 - 5 hours a day on weekends and 3 - 4 hours a day on weekdays.

    Many people will probably have mock examinations in February time, perhaps a little earlier or later depending on schools. The most important thing to do for mock exams is revise like they are the real thing. For my mocks I sacrificed my entire Christmas holiday and worked for 5 hours a day, every day. It gave me a bit of a head start and when I got my mock results back I knew my areas of weakness and where I'd struggle in the real exam season (for me it was Maths and Physics).

    I also need to add that, contrary to what I've just said above, do not do too much too early. You'll burn out as I did and it is not a good feeling, so always be comfortable with the amount you're doing and don't compare the amount of revision you're doing to others.

    Organisation and Keeping Track
    Around February time I began to make timetables for revision. I stuck my exam dates on my wall in order to motivate myself every day of the impending doom. If your school hasn't given exam timetables out this early, the exam board's websites have all of the dates over a year before exam season, so no excuses!

    A tip I'd have to give is to do a task based system. For example, rather than saying "1 hour of Biology", say "kidney filtration, carbon cycle and decay". This way, you have to get done the tasks you set whereas if you set time based goals you may get half an hour in and become bored, spending the remaining 30 minutes doing nothing. I'd advise to try and stay to hourly blocks though (so don't set tasks which you know will take over 2 hours). Also, be sure to have breaks in between (about 5 - 10 minutes) and be sure to drink plenty of water.

    To organise myself, I used the free Google Sheets. I had a sheet for each individual subject and listed all of the topic titles for every subject in their corresponding sheet. Then, I colour coded each topic in green, amber or red. Green meaning I was confident and didn't really need to revise that subject, amber meaning I want to revise it but it isn't a priority, and red meaning I am very unsure and need to revise ASAP. An example of a subject is here:


    I can provide this document if anyone wants but I just used the subject titles from the CGP guides.

    I also colour coded my exam timetable in the same way so I could see which exams I were most and least confident for.

    Techniques
    I'd definitely say that it's important to use a variety of techniques when revising so that you do not get bored and tired of the same thing. Many techniques are stronger with individual subjects (such as languages and flashcards in my opinion), so you will probably naturally vary your technique anyway.

    Flashcards
    Flashcards are especially good for information recall, so I'd say most useful for a language (as will be explained below). Put a question or word on one side, and try and recall the information on the back and vice versa. It'll help you to remember the information, I promise!

    Mindmaps
    Put a topic in the middle of the page and write as much as possible as you can about that particular topic around the bubble. Make it colourful and do little drawings as it'll make the mind map stand out and therefore you will be able to recall the information much better.

    Notes
    There are two ways to make notes: computerised or written. I personally preferred to use a computer when making notes because I hated my handwriting however hand written notes are generally easier to remember and are therefore more effective. For Geography, I made an entire revision guide using the computer and that was all I did (I remembered the information as I was making the guide). There is a trap with notes, however: firstly, don't just re-write your revision guide out. Try and write in your own words as it'll help the information to stick more. Secondly, don't do notes on things you're already confident with for the sake of sticking to an order. It's pointless.

    Reading
    I know that all teachers will tell you this is pointless, but I personally found it the most effective way of revising. I'd read a certain topic every night for over 120 nights and eventually it all stuck. I also found that reading a topic aloud from the revision guide and trying to recall it helped me a lot. However, this probably won't be the same for most people, but it did help me so try it out if you haven't yet because your teachers have said it's pointless.

    Social
    This way of revision was my favourite. Me and a group of friends would get together and talk through topics and ask each other topic questions. This was most effective for the sciences. This can be a dangerous way of revising, though. You need to do it with someone who will not distract you and will actually get something done. 2 people I'd say is the most because after that the group gets too big and too distracting.

    Revision: Subject by Subject
    In here, I will list each subject and then talk about it a little bit. I will explain which techniques I used and I will also list any websites and revision guides I found particularly useful. I should also mention that for my revision I made no properly written notes. Revision is very personal, so don't feel pressured in to doing what everyone else thinks is right.

    I should also add that if you are confident with a topic, do not feel as though you need to revise it. A lot of my friends wrote notes for subjects and did it in order of the textbook. This technique is pointless and time wasting. If you're confident with a topic, skip it. End of.

    Mathematics
    For maths, I primarily used videos on YouTube, rather than a revision guide. I found it much easier for someone to talk about a topic to me than read it from a guide. The best website I found was M4ths.com, which had a video for every GCSE topic. I know that the system has changed to the grade 9 - 1, but the techniques will still be applicable. Also, I bought a whiteboard so I could work through with the man on the videos. A lot of the videos were worked examples, so I'd pause the video, try myself first, and then see if I got the right solution. I recommend doing this for every topic you are not confident with.

    Once fairly confident with most topics, past papers are your best friend. These can be found on the exam board's websites (the old GCSE papers will be applicable to the new system). Do as many of these as possible as it really helps. From doing past papers I was achieving 95 - 98 on each paper which I was confident I also achieved in the real exam. Questions are often recycled so if you're lucky, you'll get in there and see a question similar to one you've already done in a past paper.

    Sciences (Physics, Chemistry and Biology)
    Physics was by far my worst science. In the real exam, however, it ended up being my best UMS score, so what I did really helped. I did AQA as most schools do. The best website for this is MyGCSEScience. The best revision guide in my opinion are the CGP ones, for each individual science.

    For these, I would sit down at my desk, get a piece of paper (or whiteboard), and watch a MyGCSEScience video. Whilst the video was playing, I would make brief notes and try and memorise what was on the whiteboard. After the video had stopped, I would rewrite all of the information to ensure I had properly learned all of the content on a particular topic. This was a very quick process and not anywhere near as tedious as getting a notebook and writing notes for each topic.

    For science, I also read the revision guide. Yes, I read it. Many teachers will say that "reading is not revision" and it "doesn't go in". Granted, read it once and a very little amount will go in. However, if you constantly re-read the same topic over a number of nights, it'll eventually go in. So, every night, starting in around February, I would read around 20 pages of the revision guide on a certain unit (so B1, C1, etc). Then I'd repeat this for several nights until I could recall the information. I ended up reading 20 pages for 120 nights in a row, and I honestly feel like it helped so much. This will not help everyone, and will vary in success for everyone, but 20 pages a night is about 20 minutes. It's nothing. Sometimes, I felt too tired and demotivated. This is why I downloaded an app called HabitBull on my iPhone, which basically forced me to make it a habit and do it every night, so try it!

    Other effective revision techniques for these subjects were also social revision and reading aloud (these are explained in the "techniques" section). Moreover, the specification is another great friend that the exam board have been kind enough to give you. This is essentially a tick list which can be found on your exam board's website. I printed the specification off and ensured I knew everything in there, and I do advise doing this because the CGP books do leave out the finer details which can be 1 mark questions in the papers.

    Once you're confident with every topic, past papers are your best friend again. Do every past paper at least twice because a lot of questions are recycled. For example, in C2 they always ask a 4 mark question about rates of reaction, and if you can go into that exam knowing the 4 points the examiners are looking for, then you've bagged it. Doing exam papers also helps you to learn how to structure your answers properly so that you're setting yourself up for success.

    PS: Your ISA matters. A lot. In my ISAs I achieved 49, 49, 50 in Chemistry, Biology and Physics respectively. This came out at 100 UMS for all three (each exam is worth 100UMS, so out of 400UMS total, 360 is needed for an A*). So, that meant that with 100UMS already bagged, I only needed 3 As on each of my papers (87 UMS in all 3 will have given me an A* overall). Therefore, you need to try your best to get that A* in your ISA. I can help if you need more advice

    Languages (Spanish for me)
    The best advice I can offer for languages is using flashcards. If you find the specification there should be a word list. It's usually very long (mine was 3000 / 4000 words). However, these are the words which are going to be used within your exam paper, so, in theory, if you learn the translation for every word then you should be able to understand your exam easily. The best way to do this is to put the word in Spanish (or whatever language you study) and its translation in English on the back. Repeat this several times until you are confident with it and repeat every so often to ensure you haven't forgotten it. For the flashcards, since there are so many words, I'd advise using an app on a tablet or computer. I personally used Chegg and Quizlet on my iPad, however there are many more such as Memrise. I have also heard that Anki on the computer is very good.

    Also, to help myself learn sentence structures and verb endings (in Spanish, the adjective comes after the noun whereas in English it comes before) I used Duolingo. This is a free service and I found it very good for grammatical structure and general understanding. Check it out

    Past papers for this are not as important in my opinion. I did a few near to the exam to familiarise myself with question types as well as highlighting words I weren't familiar with, but it didn't form a large part of my revision.

    English Language
    English language, for me, was the most difficult subject by far. Coupled with the subjective nature and an extremely weak department at my school, I found it very hard and tedious. I know that the structure has changed and I am not fully familiar with it, so I won't do a question by question guide but I will give general tips and advice.

    The best way to revise for this subject is Mr Bruff. Watch all of his videos, they are very good. The revision guide he made was also helpful.

    I'd also say that a little goes a long way. For example, when getting an analytical question, think about saying a lot about a little. It's tedious I know but if a picture shows that waves are crashing upon a grey cliff face, think about why the weather is portrayed in this way and why the colours in the photograph are so bleak. Is it because the writer wanted to show the destructive and unpredictable nature of weather? Is it because the writer wanted to show the dull nature of the coast line? Who knows, but try and think outside of the box and give unconventional interpretations (as long as you can back it up!).

    For creative writing, I'd say to take risks. Question 5 in my exam paper was about pushing yourself to the limit and why the experience had stayed with you. Immediately I knew everyone would write about physical limits and how they pushed their body onwards through a military exercise or something like that. Instead, I decided to do emotional limits, and how an experience that traumatised me had stayed with me throughout my life. It wasn't the strongest piece of writing I admit, but it was something I knew would be different and would make the examiner pay notice. In my letter I also used words such as "swag" to create humour about current teen culture. Do something different and be spontaneous. There's nothing wrong with that but don't force it in, make sure it fits.

    Unfinished
    It's late and I'm tired. I'll finish tomorrow! I will proof read and also do more in the "techniques" section, but feel free to ask questions.

    English Literature
    Geography

    Conclusion
    Wow amazing results! I have 2 Questions. When did you start making the timetable? and do you have any useful websites for computing? Sorry actually 3 questions and what about your social media, did you not use your phone anymore? and If so how many hours a day?
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    (Original post by Joshiee)
    Note: This guide isn't completely finished. I'm tired so I'll complete it tomorrow but feel free to ask questions!

    About Me
    Hello everyone. I am relatively new on TSR but in May / June of this year I sat my GCSEs. After thinking that some of them had gone pretty badly, when it came to results day I was pretty nervous, not just due to my performance but also with the immensely high grade boundaries and news reports of record drops in A*-C grades that morning. However, when opening my results, what I thought was the impossible, became possible: I had gotten straight A*s. 10, this year, to be exact, which were: English Language, English Literature, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics, Spanish, Geography, Art and Computing. I had already sat my Religious Studies (short) GCSE in year 10, also achieving an A* in that, thus totalling 11.

    I am not going to say that it was easy, because it wasn't. I revised for long hours, but I was determined to get as many A*s as possible. However, if you guys are here, it shows that you at least have some determination, and that is the best tool to help you achieving grades as high as my own.

    I should also add that I did not attend a private school. My school's pass rate was fairly low (at 53% last year and 60% this year). Also, in the latest OFSTED report, it got rated a grade 3, classified as "needs improvement". I did not have any private tutors neither. I am telling you this because a lot of people feel the need to spend lots of money on private education, or go to fairly bad schools as I did. However, as I have proven, there is hope and as I said above, determination is the best thing to have in these kinds of scenarios.

    So, why am I writing this about me? Well, it's to provide myself with a little credibility and also give a background on myself and I suppose some people find it a little interesting And why am I writing this guide? Because I want to help you guys, of course!

    The Guide
    I am going to go through each individual subject because my revision techniques largely varied between what type of content I was aiming to cover and learn. First, however, I am going to write some general tips and organisation advice.

    Timing
    I began revising lightly in around November / December. This would involve doing around 2 or 3 hours a day of briefly looking over content. I started proper revision in around February / March time, which would consist of around 4 - 5 hours a day on weekends and 3 - 4 hours a day on weekdays.

    Many people will probably have mock examinations in February time, perhaps a little earlier or later depending on schools. The most important thing to do for mock exams is revise like they are the real thing. For my mocks I sacrificed my entire Christmas holiday and worked for 5 hours a day, every day. It gave me a bit of a head start and when I got my mock results back I knew my areas of weakness and where I'd struggle in the real exam season (for me it was Maths and Physics).

    I also need to add that, contrary to what I've just said above, do not do too much too early. You'll burn out as I did and it is not a good feeling, so always be comfortable with the amount you're doing and don't compare the amount of revision you're doing to others.

    Organisation and Keeping Track
    Around February time I began to make timetables for revision. I stuck my exam dates on my wall in order to motivate myself every day of the impending doom. If your school hasn't given exam timetables out this early, the exam board's websites have all of the dates over a year before exam season, so no excuses!

    A tip I'd have to give is to do a task based system. For example, rather than saying "1 hour of Biology", say "kidney filtration, carbon cycle and decay". This way, you have to get done the tasks you set whereas if you set time based goals you may get half an hour in and become bored, spending the remaining 30 minutes doing nothing. I'd advise to try and stay to hourly blocks though (so don't set tasks which you know will take over 2 hours). Also, be sure to have breaks in between (about 5 - 10 minutes) and be sure to drink plenty of water.

    To organise myself, I used the free Google Sheets. I had a sheet for each individual subject and listed all of the topic titles for every subject in their corresponding sheet. Then, I colour coded each topic in green, amber or red. Green meaning I was confident and didn't really need to revise that subject, amber meaning I want to revise it but it isn't a priority, and red meaning I am very unsure and need to revise ASAP. An example of a subject is here:


    I can provide this document if anyone wants but I just used the subject titles from the CGP guides.

    I also colour coded my exam timetable in the same way so I could see which exams I were most and least confident for.

    Techniques
    I'd definitely say that it's important to use a variety of techniques when revising so that you do not get bored and tired of the same thing. Many techniques are stronger with individual subjects (such as languages and flashcards in my opinion), so you will probably naturally vary your technique anyway.

    Flashcards
    Flashcards are especially good for information recall, so I'd say most useful for a language (as will be explained below). Put a question or word on one side, and try and recall the information on the back and vice versa. It'll help you to remember the information, I promise!

    Mindmaps
    Put a topic in the middle of the page and write as much as possible as you can about that particular topic around the bubble. Make it colourful and do little drawings as it'll make the mind map stand out and therefore you will be able to recall the information much better.

    Notes
    There are two ways to make notes: computerised or written. I personally preferred to use a computer when making notes because I hated my handwriting however hand written notes are generally easier to remember and are therefore more effective. For Geography, I made an entire revision guide using the computer and that was all I did (I remembered the information as I was making the guide). There is a trap with notes, however: firstly, don't just re-write your revision guide out. Try and write in your own words as it'll help the information to stick more. Secondly, don't do notes on things you're already confident with for the sake of sticking to an order. It's pointless.

    Reading
    I know that all teachers will tell you this is pointless, but I personally found it the most effective way of revising. I'd read a certain topic every night for over 120 nights and eventually it all stuck. I also found that reading a topic aloud from the revision guide and trying to recall it helped me a lot. However, this probably won't be the same for most people, but it did help me so try it out if you haven't yet because your teachers have said it's pointless.

    Social
    This way of revision was my favourite. Me and a group of friends would get together and talk through topics and ask each other topic questions. This was most effective for the sciences. This can be a dangerous way of revising, though. You need to do it with someone who will not distract you and will actually get something done. 2 people I'd say is the most because after that the group gets too big and too distracting.

    Revision: Subject by Subject
    In here, I will list each subject and then talk about it a little bit. I will explain which techniques I used and I will also list any websites and revision guides I found particularly useful. I should also mention that for my revision I made no properly written notes. Revision is very personal, so don't feel pressured in to doing what everyone else thinks is right.

    I should also add that if you are confident with a topic, do not feel as though you need to revise it. A lot of my friends wrote notes for subjects and did it in order of the textbook. This technique is pointless and time wasting. If you're confident with a topic, skip it. End of.

    Mathematics
    For maths, I primarily used videos on YouTube, rather than a revision guide. I found it much easier for someone to talk about a topic to me than read it from a guide. The best website I found was M4ths.com, which had a video for every GCSE topic. I know that the system has changed to the grade 9 - 1, but the techniques will still be applicable. Also, I bought a whiteboard so I could work through with the man on the videos. A lot of the videos were worked examples, so I'd pause the video, try myself first, and then see if I got the right solution. I recommend doing this for every topic you are not confident with.

    Once fairly confident with most topics, past papers are your best friend. These can be found on the exam board's websites (the old GCSE papers will be applicable to the new system). Do as many of these as possible as it really helps. From doing past papers I was achieving 95 - 98 on each paper which I was confident I also achieved in the real exam. Questions are often recycled so if you're lucky, you'll get in there and see a question similar to one you've already done in a past paper.

    Sciences (Physics, Chemistry and Biology)
    Physics was by far my worst science. In the real exam, however, it ended up being my best UMS score, so what I did really helped. I did AQA as most schools do. The best website for this is MyGCSEScience. The best revision guide in my opinion are the CGP ones, for each individual science.

    For these, I would sit down at my desk, get a piece of paper (or whiteboard), and watch a MyGCSEScience video. Whilst the video was playing, I would make brief notes and try and memorise what was on the whiteboard. After the video had stopped, I would rewrite all of the information to ensure I had properly learned all of the content on a particular topic. This was a very quick process and not anywhere near as tedious as getting a notebook and writing notes for each topic.

    For science, I also read the revision guide. Yes, I read it. Many teachers will say that "reading is not revision" and it "doesn't go in". Granted, read it once and a very little amount will go in. However, if you constantly re-read the same topic over a number of nights, it'll eventually go in. So, every night, starting in around February, I would read around 20 pages of the revision guide on a certain unit (so B1, C1, etc). Then I'd repeat this for several nights until I could recall the information. I ended up reading 20 pages for 120 nights in a row, and I honestly feel like it helped so much. This will not help everyone, and will vary in success for everyone, but 20 pages a night is about 20 minutes. It's nothing. Sometimes, I felt too tired and demotivated. This is why I downloaded an app called HabitBull on my iPhone, which basically forced me to make it a habit and do it every night, so try it!

    Other effective revision techniques for these subjects were also social revision and reading aloud (these are explained in the "techniques" section). Moreover, the specification is another great friend that the exam board have been kind enough to give you. This is essentially a tick list which can be found on your exam board's website. I printed the specification off and ensured I knew everything in there, and I do advise doing this because the CGP books do leave out the finer details which can be 1 mark questions in the papers.

    Once you're confident with every topic, past papers are your best friend again. Do every past paper at least twice because a lot of questions are recycled. For example, in C2 they always ask a 4 mark question about rates of reaction, and if you can go into that exam knowing the 4 points the examiners are looking for, then you've bagged it. Doing exam papers also helps you to learn how to structure your answers properly so that you're setting yourself up for success.

    PS: Your ISA matters. A lot. In my ISAs I achieved 49, 49, 50 in Chemistry, Biology and Physics respectively. This came out at 100 UMS for all three (each exam is worth 100UMS, so out of 400UMS total, 360 is needed for an A*). So, that meant that with 100UMS already bagged, I only needed 3 As on each of my papers (87 UMS in all 3 will have given me an A* overall). Therefore, you need to try your best to get that A* in your ISA. I can help if you need more advice

    Languages (Spanish for me)
    The best advice I can offer for languages is using flashcards. If you find the specification there should be a word list. It's usually very long (mine was 3000 / 4000 words). However, these are the words which are going to be used within your exam paper, so, in theory, if you learn the translation for every word then you should be able to understand your exam easily. The best way to do this is to put the word in Spanish (or whatever language you study) and its translation in English on the back. Repeat this several times until you are confident with it and repeat every so often to ensure you haven't forgotten it. For the flashcards, since there are so many words, I'd advise using an app on a tablet or computer. I personally used Chegg and Quizlet on my iPad, however there are many more such as Memrise. I have also heard that Anki on the computer is very good.

    Also, to help myself learn sentence structures and verb endings (in Spanish, the adjective comes after the noun whereas in English it comes before) I used Duolingo. This is a free service and I found it very good for grammatical structure and general understanding. Check it out

    Past papers for this are not as important in my opinion. I did a few near to the exam to familiarise myself with question types as well as highlighting words I weren't familiar with, but it didn't form a large part of my revision.

    English Language
    English language, for me, was the most difficult subject by far. Coupled with the subjective nature and an extremely weak department at my school, I found it very hard and tedious. I know that the structure has changed and I am not fully familiar with it, so I won't do a question by question guide but I will give general tips and advice.

    The best way to revise for this subject is Mr Bruff. Watch all of his videos, they are very good. The revision guide he made was also helpful.

    I'd also say that a little goes a long way. For example, when getting an analytical question, think about saying a lot about a little. It's tedious I know but if a picture shows that waves are crashing upon a grey cliff face, think about why the weather is portrayed in this way and why the colours in the photograph are so bleak. Is it because the writer wanted to show the destructive and unpredictable nature of weather? Is it because the writer wanted to show the dull nature of the coast line? Who knows, but try and think outside of the box and give unconventional interpretations (as long as you can back it up!).

    For creative writing, I'd say to take risks. Question 5 in my exam paper was about pushing yourself to the limit and why the experience had stayed with you. Immediately I knew everyone would write about physical limits and how they pushed their body onwards through a military exercise or something like that. Instead, I decided to do emotional limits, and how an experience that traumatised me had stayed with me throughout my life. It wasn't the strongest piece of writing I admit, but it was something I knew would be different and would make the examiner pay notice. In my letter I also used words such as "swag" to create humour about current teen culture. Do something different and be spontaneous. There's nothing wrong with that but don't force it in, make sure it fits.

    Unfinished
    It's late and I'm tired. I'll finish tomorrow! I will proof read and also do more in the "techniques" section, but feel free to ask questions.

    English Literature
    Geography

    Conclusion
    Do you recommend revising over the summer holidays of Year 10? I did some intense revision mostly for science by making notes and re-reading them and I've almost finished the syllabus now which makes me happy cuz I will have less to do in Year 11. Also,I like to begin revision very early so when do you recommend revising for mocks and the real GCSE?
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    Thank you for making this, it has given me motivation for the year ahead!
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    Thank you very much for spending the time writing this! We all really appreciate it!
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    Thank you so much for this and well done for getting those grades! This should help me through Year 11 so thanks again
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    (Original post by daniella.14)
    Do you recommend revising over the summer holidays of Year 10? I did some intense revision mostly for science by making notes and re-reading them and I've almost finished the syllabus now which makes me happy cuz I will have less to do in Year 11. Also,I like to begin revision very early so when do you recommend revising for mocks and the real GCSE?
    Revise, just don't burn yourself out 😂😂.
    Do what you feel like mate, it varies between people. I feel you started too early, read science revision every 3-5 days otherwise you'll forget it by mid-year 11. It's easy to remember now, but later you forget.


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    Solid guide, lots of good advice here 👍🏼
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    (Original post by Joshiee)
    Note: This guide isn't completely finished. I'm tired so I'll complete it tomorrow but feel free to ask questions!

    About Me
    Hello everyone. I am relatively new on TSR but in May / June of this year I sat my GCSEs. After thinking that some of them had gone pretty badly, when it came to results day I was pretty nervous, not just due to my performance but also with the immensely high grade boundaries and news reports of record drops in A*-C grades that morning. However, when opening my results, what I thought was the impossible, became possible: I had gotten straight A*s. 10, this year, to be exact, which were: English Language, English Literature, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics, Spanish, Geography, Art and Computing. I had already sat my Religious Studies (short) GCSE in year 10, also achieving an A* in that, thus totalling 11.

    I am not going to say that it was easy, because it wasn't. I revised for long hours, but I was determined to get as many A*s as possible. However, if you guys are here, it shows that you at least have some determination, and that is the best tool to help you achieving grades as high as my own.

    I should also add that I did not attend a private school. My school's pass rate was fairly low (at 53% last year and 60% this year). Also, in the latest OFSTED report, it got rated a grade 3, classified as "needs improvement". I did not have any private tutors neither. I am telling you this because a lot of people feel the need to spend lots of money on private education, or go to fairly bad schools as I did. However, as I have proven, there is hope and as I said above, determination is the best thing to have in these kinds of scenarios.

    So, why am I writing this about me? Well, it's to provide myself with a little credibility and also give a background on myself and I suppose some people find it a little interesting And why am I writing this guide? Because I want to help you guys, of course!

    The Guide
    I am going to go through each individual subject because my revision techniques largely varied between what type of content I was aiming to cover and learn. First, however, I am going to write some general tips and organisation advice.

    Timing
    I began revising lightly in around November / December. This would involve doing around 2 or 3 hours a day of briefly looking over content. I started proper revision in around February / March time, which would consist of around 4 - 5 hours a day on weekends and 3 - 4 hours a day on weekdays.

    Many people will probably have mock examinations in February time, perhaps a little earlier or later depending on schools. The most important thing to do for mock exams is revise like they are the real thing. For my mocks I sacrificed my entire Christmas holiday and worked for 5 hours a day, every day. It gave me a bit of a head start and when I got my mock results back I knew my areas of weakness and where I'd struggle in the real exam season (for me it was Maths and Physics).

    I also need to add that, contrary to what I've just said above, do not do too much too early. You'll burn out as I did and it is not a good feeling, so always be comfortable with the amount you're doing and don't compare the amount of revision you're doing to others.

    Organisation and Keeping Track
    Around February time I began to make timetables for revision. I stuck my exam dates on my wall in order to motivate myself every day of the impending doom. If your school hasn't given exam timetables out this early, the exam board's websites have all of the dates over a year before exam season, so no excuses!

    A tip I'd have to give is to do a task based system. For example, rather than saying "1 hour of Biology", say "kidney filtration, carbon cycle and decay". This way, you have to get done the tasks you set whereas if you set time based goals you may get half an hour in and become bored, spending the remaining 30 minutes doing nothing. I'd advise to try and stay to hourly blocks though (so don't set tasks which you know will take over 2 hours). Also, be sure to have breaks in between (about 5 - 10 minutes) and be sure to drink plenty of water.

    To organise myself, I used the free Google Sheets. I had a sheet for each individual subject and listed all of the topic titles for every subject in their corresponding sheet. Then, I colour coded each topic in green, amber or red. Green meaning I was confident and didn't really need to revise that subject, amber meaning I want to revise it but it isn't a priority, and red meaning I am very unsure and need to revise ASAP. An example of a subject is here:


    I can provide this document if anyone wants but I just used the subject titles from the CGP guides.

    I also colour coded my exam timetable in the same way so I could see which exams I were most and least confident for.

    Techniques
    I'd definitely say that it's important to use a variety of techniques when revising so that you do not get bored and tired of the same thing. Many techniques are stronger with individual subjects (such as languages and flashcards in my opinion), so you will probably naturally vary your technique anyway.

    Flashcards
    Flashcards are especially good for information recall, so I'd say most useful for a language (as will be explained below). Put a question or word on one side, and try and recall the information on the back and vice versa. It'll help you to remember the information, I promise!

    Mindmaps
    Put a topic in the middle of the page and write as much as possible as you can about that particular topic around the bubble. Make it colourful and do little drawings as it'll make the mind map stand out and therefore you will be able to recall the information much better.

    Notes
    There are two ways to make notes: computerised or written. I personally preferred to use a computer when making notes because I hated my handwriting however hand written notes are generally easier to remember and are therefore more effective. For Geography, I made an entire revision guide using the computer and that was all I did (I remembered the information as I was making the guide). There is a trap with notes, however: firstly, don't just re-write your revision guide out. Try and write in your own words as it'll help the information to stick more. Secondly, don't do notes on things you're already confident with for the sake of sticking to an order. It's pointless.

    Reading
    I know that all teachers will tell you this is pointless, but I personally found it the most effective way of revising. I'd read a certain topic every night for over 120 nights and eventually it all stuck. I also found that reading a topic aloud from the revision guide and trying to recall it helped me a lot. However, this probably won't be the same for most people, but it did help me so try it out if you haven't yet because your teachers have said it's pointless.

    Social
    This way of revision was my favourite. Me and a group of friends would get together and talk through topics and ask each other topic questions. This was most effective for the sciences. This can be a dangerous way of revising, though. You need to do it with someone who will not distract you and will actually get something done. 2 people I'd say is the most because after that the group gets too big and too distracting.

    Revision: Subject by Subject
    In here, I will list each subject and then talk about it a little bit. I will explain which techniques I used and I will also list any websites and revision guides I found particularly useful. I should also mention that for my revision I made no properly written notes. Revision is very personal, so don't feel pressured in to doing what everyone else thinks is right.

    I should also add that if you are confident with a topic, do not feel as though you need to revise it. A lot of my friends wrote notes for subjects and did it in order of the textbook. This technique is pointless and time wasting. If you're confident with a topic, skip it. End of.

    Mathematics
    For maths, I primarily used videos on YouTube, rather than a revision guide. I found it much easier for someone to talk about a topic to me than read it from a guide. The best website I found was M4ths.com, which had a video for every GCSE topic. I know that the system has changed to the grade 9 - 1, but the techniques will still be applicable. Also, I bought a whiteboard so I could work through with the man on the videos. A lot of the videos were worked examples, so I'd pause the video, try myself first, and then see if I got the right solution. I recommend doing this for every topic you are not confident with.

    Once fairly confident with most topics, past papers are your best friend. These can be found on the exam board's websites (the old GCSE papers will be applicable to the new system). Do as many of these as possible as it really helps. From doing past papers I was achieving 95 - 98 on each paper which I was confident I also achieved in the real exam. Questions are often recycled so if you're lucky, you'll get in there and see a question similar to one you've already done in a past paper.

    Sciences (Physics, Chemistry and Biology)
    Physics was by far my worst science. In the real exam, however, it ended up being my best UMS score, so what I did really helped. I did AQA as most schools do. The best website for this is MyGCSEScience. The best revision guide in my opinion are the CGP ones, for each individual science.

    For these, I would sit down at my desk, get a piece of paper (or whiteboard), and watch a MyGCSEScience video. Whilst the video was playing, I would make brief notes and try and memorise what was on the whiteboard. After the video had stopped, I would rewrite all of the information to ensure I had properly learned all of the content on a particular topic. This was a very quick process and not anywhere near as tedious as getting a notebook and writing notes for each topic.

    For science, I also read the revision guide. Yes, I read it. Many teachers will say that "reading is not revision" and it "doesn't go in". Granted, read it once and a very little amount will go in. However, if you constantly re-read the same topic over a number of nights, it'll eventually go in. So, every night, starting in around February, I would read around 20 pages of the revision guide on a certain unit (so B1, C1, etc). Then I'd repeat this for several nights until I could recall the information. I ended up reading 20 pages for 120 nights in a row, and I honestly feel like it helped so much. This will not help everyone, and will vary in success for everyone, but 20 pages a night is about 20 minutes. It's nothing. Sometimes, I felt too tired and demotivated. This is why I downloaded an app called HabitBull on my iPhone, which basically forced me to make it a habit and do it every night, so try it!

    Other effective revision techniques for these subjects were also social revision and reading aloud (these are explained in the "techniques" section). Moreover, the specification is another great friend that the exam board have been kind enough to give you. This is essentially a tick list which can be found on your exam board's website. I printed the specification off and ensured I knew everything in there, and I do advise doing this because the CGP books do leave out the finer details which can be 1 mark questions in the papers.

    Once you're confident with every topic, past papers are your best friend again. Do every past paper at least twice because a lot of questions are recycled. For example, in C2 they always ask a 4 mark question about rates of reaction, and if you can go into that exam knowing the 4 points the examiners are looking for, then you've bagged it. Doing exam papers also helps you to learn how to structure your answers properly so that you're setting yourself up for success.

    PS: Your ISA matters. A lot. In my ISAs I achieved 49, 49, 50 in Chemistry, Biology and Physics respectively. This came out at 100 UMS for all three (each exam is worth 100UMS, so out of 400UMS total, 360 is needed for an A*). So, that meant that with 100UMS already bagged, I only needed 3 As on each of my papers (87 UMS in all 3 will have given me an A* overall). Therefore, you need to try your best to get that A* in your ISA. I can help if you need more advice

    Languages (Spanish for me)
    The best advice I can offer for languages is using flashcards. If you find the specification there should be a word list. It's usually very long (mine was 3000 / 4000 words). However, these are the words which are going to be used within your exam paper, so, in theory, if you learn the translation for every word then you should be able to understand your exam easily. The best way to do this is to put the word in Spanish (or whatever language you study) and its translation in English on the back. Repeat this several times until you are confident with it and repeat every so often to ensure you haven't forgotten it. For the flashcards, since there are so many words, I'd advise using an app on a tablet or computer. I personally used Chegg and Quizlet on my iPad, however there are many more such as Memrise. I have also heard that Anki on the computer is very good.

    Also, to help myself learn sentence structures and verb endings (in Spanish, the adjective comes after the noun whereas in English it comes before) I used Duolingo. This is a free service and I found it very good for grammatical structure and general understanding. Check it out

    Past papers for this are not as important in my opinion. I did a few near to the exam to familiarise myself with question types as well as highlighting words I weren't familiar with, but it didn't form a large part of my revision.

    English Language
    English language, for me, was the most difficult subject by far. Coupled with the subjective nature and an extremely weak department at my school, I found it very hard and tedious. I know that the structure has changed and I am not fully familiar with it, so I won't do a question by question guide but I will give general tips and advice.

    The best way to revise for this subject is Mr Bruff. Watch all of his videos, they are very good. The revision guide he made was also helpful.

    I'd also say that a little goes a long way. For example, when getting an analytical question, think about saying a lot about a little. It's tedious I know but if a picture shows that waves are crashing upon a grey cliff face, think about why the weather is portrayed in this way and why the colours in the photograph are so bleak. Is it because the writer wanted to show the destructive and unpredictable nature of weather? Is it because the writer wanted to show the dull nature of the coast line? Who knows, but try and think outside of the box and give unconventional interpretations (as long as you can back it up!).

    For creative writing, I'd say to take risks. Question 5 in my exam paper was about pushing yourself to the limit and why the experience had stayed with you. Immediately I knew everyone would write about physical limits and how they pushed their body onwards through a military exercise or something like that. Instead, I decided to do emotional limits, and how an experience that traumatised me had stayed with me throughout my life. It wasn't the strongest piece of writing I admit, but it was something I knew would be different and would make the examiner pay notice. In my letter I also used words such as "swag" to create humour about current teen culture. Do something different and be spontaneous. There's nothing wrong with that but don't force it in, make sure it fits.

    Unfinished
    It's late and I'm tired. I'll finish tomorrow! I will proof read and also do more in the "techniques" section, but feel free to ask questions.

    English Literature
    Geography

    Conclusion
    10.5 A*s! An amazing achievement. Do you have any advice regarding the new specification of English and maths or is what you posted redundant for the new GCSEs?

    Thank you.
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    (Original post by nisha.sri)
    Hi,
    Firstly well done on your grades they are amazing and your revision ethic is amazing ! Thank you !Will you be doing an alevel blog ? Your so organised wow !
    Yeah I'm planning on doing a GYG type blog documenting my a level progress. Hopefully the same techniques I used for GCSEs are applicable to a levels

    (Original post by JTran38)
    Hi. Congratulations on you're GCSE results and thank you for starting this thread. This will help many Y11s like myself and I will link you on the Y11 thread.
    Thank you

    (Original post by farencia.h)
    Wow amazing results! I have 2 Questions. When did you start making the timetable? and do you have any useful websites for computing? Sorry actually 3 questions and what about your social media, did you not use your phone anymore? and If so how many hours a day?
    I made the timetable towards the back end of December / early January. It sounds super early I know but it helped me to get motivated and I knew exactly where I would be and what exams I needed to prioritise revision for early on. For computing, I will add it in the guide but the best way I revised for computing was by using YouTube: ComputerScienceTutor. I'd revise in a similar way to the sciences - sit down, watch a video, make notes, see what I'd remember, rinse and repeat. It really helped because I had a very bad teacher. I'd also say that controlled assessments are very important for computing: since they're worth 60% if you get A* A* in them you can come out with a low A in the exam and still get an A* overall. In regards to using my phone, I got distracted very easily. When revising, I'd leave it in a different room turned off so that I was completely focused on my work. Any other time I'd use it (including during breaks), so don't be harsh on yourself and cut yourself off from the world.

    (Original post by daniella.14)
    Do you recommend revising over the summer holidays of Year 10? I did some intense revision mostly for science by making notes and re-reading them and I've almost finished the syllabus now which makes me happy cuz I will have less to do in Year 11. Also,I like to begin revision very early so when do you recommend revising for mocks and the real GCSE?
    I'd say do what you feel comfortable doing. If you start intensely during the summer holidays of year 10, then I think you'd burn out pretty quickly. Also, this is almost a year in advance of your actual exams, so it's possible that any revision you do do will end up being pretty pointless because you'll have forgotten a lot of the notes you made. However, like I said it's all personal so if you want to do a bit, go ahead. I'd say it's definitely not necessary and to enjoy your summer holiday before the very hard work in year 11 comes!

    I'd also say to revise for mocks 2 - 3 weeks before (if you're planning on doing intense revision), but perhaps like a month before if you only want to do a few hours per day. Again, it's personal and depends on what grades you want to achieve. I'd say it's about being smart with your revision too: prioritise subjects that you're weak in and skip ones which you're best in. A month of revision for mocks should be plenty as long as you do effective revision. For the real exams, I'd say to start a bit earlier (because you'll have lots of past papers to do). I started properly in February, so I revised for around 3 months. 2 1/2 of those were revisiting content I had forgotten and the rest was doing as many past papers as possible. In the early months I'd say to, again, prioritise weaker subjects so that when it comes to March / April, you have a pretty level ability with all of your subjects.


    (Original post by Chittesh14)
    Revise, just don't burn yourself out 😂😂.
    Do what you feel like mate, it varies between people. I feel you started too early, read science revision every 3-5 days otherwise you'll forget it by mid-year 11. It's easy to remember now, but later you forget.


    Posted from TSR Mobile

    I know it sounds like contradictory advice but it's definitely very personal. I'd say no revision is better than too much revision, personally. I agree with you saying it varies though - some people will do better starting really early, and some will do better starting really late and cramming.

    (Original post by TruthfulHoax)
    Solid guide, lots of good advice here 👍🏼
    Thank you

    (Original post by ScienceFantatic)
    10.5 A*s! An amazing achievement. Do you have any advice regarding the new specification of English and maths or is what you posted redundant for the new GCSEs?

    Thank you.
    Wow! Thank you for the kind words! I do address this in the guide above but, perhaps, you may have missed it. Maths will largely be the same with a few more difficult topics thrown in, so the current past papers are definitely applicable. Lots of sites are also beginning to cover the newer GCSE content such as m4ths.com and MyMaths, so plenty of support will be available online. It's a touch more difficult for English because the paper format is changing but the principles stay the same: say a little about a lot and think outside of the box. The exam boards have also published specimen papers for the new series so students should complete these when they feel as though they have completed all of the content (there's only one, so don't do it too early on!).
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    Thanks for all the great techniques! I was wondering if you could share your topic list document?
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    Thank you (again) for giving me the Google spreadsheet idea! I just made a bunch of spreadsheets for every subject I have (took me about 3 hours, but worth it, aha)!
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    this is an absolutely brilliant and well-written thread. i am going back to school (into year 11) tomorrow, so, i will definitely be following some of your advice, i also want to achieve straight A*'s.

    well done for achieving your grades and i wish you the best of luck for A levels.
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    (Original post by bluepearl7)
    Thanks for all the great techniques! I was wondering if you could share your topic list document?
    Of course. It can be viewed here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...gid=1601016715. This is the document which I used for my real exams as you can see from the timetable

    (Original post by JourneyToSuccess)
    Thank you (again) for giving me the Google spreadsheet idea! I just made a bunch of spreadsheets for every subject I have (took me about 3 hours, but worth it, aha)!
    No problem! The time is definitely worth it.

    (Original post by ?Hannah)
    this is an absolutely brilliant and well-written thread. i am going back to school (into year 11) tomorrow, so, i will definitely be following some of your advice, i also want to achieve straight A*'s.

    well done for achieving your grades and i wish you the best of luck for A levels.
    Thank you. Feel free to mail me if you have any problems during year 11
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    Wish I had this last year
 
 
 
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