Revising but not getting anywhere Watch

archibald300
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Hi,
I do A level Maths, Biology , Chemistry.
So my mocks went awfully so I've started revising early. My current routine for revising Biology & Chemistry:
1. Make notes from textbook
2. Make flashcards
3. Rote learn
4. Past paper questions

However, I feel like even though I know a topic inside out, this is not translating to a good score in past paper questions. How do I improve this?
e.g - I have just learnt all of plant responses inside out, but found past paper questions on it hard and scored poorly.

Please help!!! Thanks
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Acsel
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How do you know you're not making progress? You say it's not translating into good scores on practice exams, so I assume you've been doing lots of past papers and not seeing any improvement?

That suggests one of two things. Either:
You don't know the content as well as you think you do
There's a problem with how you are approaching exam questions

The former implies that something is going wrong with your notes and flashcards (or that it simply isn't sticking). The latter seems more likely though; apart from actually doing past papers there's nothing in your 4 step method for practicing and improving your exam answers. Making notes and flashcards won't help if you can't answer exam questions I'm afraid.

In short you need to identify for yourself where the problem actually is (get a teacher to help if necessary). Only then can you actually fix the problem
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archibald300
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(Original post by Acsel)
How do you know you're not making progress? You say it's not translating into good scores on practice exams, so I assume you've been doing lots of past papers and not seeing any improvement?

That suggests one of two things. Either:
You don't know the content as well as you think you do
There's a problem with how you are approaching exam questions

The former implies that something is going wrong with your notes and flashcards (or that it simply isn't sticking). The latter seems more likely though; apart from actually doing past papers there's nothing in your 4 step method for practicing and improving your exam answers. Making notes and flashcards won't help if you can't answer exam questions I'm afraid.

In short you need to identify for yourself where the problem actually is (get a teacher to help if necessary). Only then can you actually fix the problem
Thanks. Just terrified of not getting into university :/

Have you got any tips on making things stick (I don't always enjoy what i'm learning so it seems to drag)?
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archibald300
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(Original post by Acsel)
How do you know you're not making progress? You say it's not translating into good scores on practice exams, so I assume you've been doing lots of past papers and not seeing any improvement?

That suggests one of two things. Either:
You don't know the content as well as you think you do
There's a problem with how you are approaching exam questions

The former implies that something is going wrong with your notes and flashcards (or that it simply isn't sticking). The latter seems more likely though; apart from actually doing past papers there's nothing in your 4 step method for practicing and improving your exam answers. Making notes and flashcards won't help if you can't answer exam questions I'm afraid.

In short you need to identify for yourself where the problem actually is (get a teacher to help if necessary). Only then can you actually fix the problem
Also I feel as if whilst I move on to learn something new e.g - next bio topic, I'm going to forget the current one, because I can't make time to keep reviewing it :/
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Acsel
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(Original post by archibald300)
Thanks. Just terrified of not getting into university :/

Have you got any tips on making things stick (I don't always enjoy what i'm learning so it seems to drag)?
If you don't get into uni, so what? Don't worry, it's honestly not something worth stressing about. Worst case scenario, you don't get into the uni you want, go to a slightly worse uni and still get your degree. Panicking about it won't help.

I can't really speak for Biology and Chemistry but I did do a Maths A Level a few years back and the main thing there is basically just practice. Do past papers, do questions from your textbook, do anything that lets you practice. If you're getting the wrong answers, find out what you did wrong and try not to make the same mistake again. To some extent, doing well in Maths just requires understanding the Maths itself, which is difficult to teach. It's almost like learning a language, where no amount of theory is a good substitute for real practice.

If you find the time dragging, cut down your revision sessions. Do shorter sessions but more often. Most people can only concentrate for 15-30 minutes, far less if they're not actually invested in it. Doing six 10 minute sessions might help more than sitting there for an hour.

There also seems to be a lot of emphasis on making notes and flashcards. If you're finding that boring, try doing something more interesting. I personally didn't enjoy reading over pages of notes again and again; it's also really difficult to see if you're making any progress just from reading notes/flashcards. Try to find other methods that may be better for you. If it seems silly, like making a song or drawing silly pictures, that's better. Seemingly stupid stuff like that will be much easier to remember than words on a page.

I apologise that's not particularly subject relevant, I can only really offer specific advice for Maths.

(Original post by archibald300)
Also I feel as if whilst I move on to learn something new e.g - next bio topic, I'm going to forget the current one, because I can't make time to keep reviewing it :/
That suggests your material is overly superfluous. Maths I imagine is mostly fine, but for Biology and Chemistry are you writing all your notes in full sentences? So for example "The mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell"? If so, consider taking all your fact based notes and reducing them down. So in the previous example, your note might simply be "mitochondria powerhouse cell". Reduce it down to just the keywords and even then just the ones that are important. Cell might have been implied, so your note becomes "mitochondria powerhouse". Cutting out all the extra rubbish saves an awful lot of time. For my Psychology A Level I had to remember 52 studies in a reasonable amount of detail. I was able to got my notes down to 2 sides of A4, and each study was a single line with just the most basic details. "This study was part of the behavioral approach and had 40 male participants" would literally be "behavioral 40 m".

Also of note, for facts and figures try to look for interesting links. It may not be as relevant for you, but I had a lot of numerical results to remember. Many of those were relevant numbers, such as the number of participants being my door number.

One way or another you need to make time. However the more you revise this stuff, the more it sticks and the less you actually need to spend on it. And if your notes are really condensed, you don't end up spending that long on it to begin with. Of course supplement notes with other methods. If you're struggling to remember something, put it on a big sign by your door for a week. You'll see it every time you leave the house. If you've got a 10 minute commute, record your notes into 10 minute audio files and play them on the way. Look for ways to get the time in that doesn't involve sitting down and staring at a page of notes.
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archibald300
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(Original post by Acsel)
If you don't get into uni, so what? Don't worry, it's honestly not something worth stressing about. Worst case scenario, you don't get into the uni you want, go to a slightly worse uni and still get your degree. Panicking about it won't help.

I can't really speak for Biology and Chemistry but I did do a Maths A Level a few years back and the main thing there is basically just practice. Do past papers, do questions from your textbook, do anything that lets you practice. If you're getting the wrong answers, find out what you did wrong and try not to make the same mistake again. To some extent, doing well in Maths just requires understanding the Maths itself, which is difficult to teach. It's almost like learning a language, where no amount of theory is a good substitute for real practice.

If you find the time dragging, cut down your revision sessions. Do shorter sessions but more often. Most people can only concentrate for 15-30 minutes, far less if they're not actually invested in it. Doing six 10 minute sessions might help more than sitting there for an hour.

There also seems to be a lot of emphasis on making notes and flashcards. If you're finding that boring, try doing something more interesting. I personally didn't enjoy reading over pages of notes again and again; it's also really difficult to see if you're making any progress just from reading notes/flashcards. Try to find other methods that may be better for you. If it seems silly, like making a song or drawing silly pictures, that's better. Seemingly stupid stuff like that will be much easier to remember than words on a page.

I apologise that's not particularly subject relevant, I can only really offer specific advice for Maths.



That suggests your material is overly superfluous. Maths I imagine is mostly fine, but for Biology and Chemistry are you writing all your notes in full sentences? So for example "The mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell"? If so, consider taking all your fact based notes and reducing them down. So in the previous example, your note might simply be "mitochondria powerhouse cell". Reduce it down to just the keywords and even then just the ones that are important. Cell might have been implied, so your note becomes "mitochondria powerhouse". Cutting out all the extra rubbish saves an awful lot of time. For my Psychology A Level I had to remember 52 studies in a reasonable amount of detail. I was able to got my notes down to 2 sides of A4, and each study was a single line with just the most basic details. "This study was part of the behavioral approach and had 40 male participants" would literally be "behavioral 40 m".

Also of note, for facts and figures try to look for interesting links. It may not be as relevant for you, but I had a lot of numerical results to remember. Many of those were relevant numbers, such as the number of participants being my door number.

One way or another you need to make time. However the more you revise this stuff, the more it sticks and the less you actually need to spend on it. And if your notes are really condensed, you don't end up spending that long on it to begin with. Of course supplement notes with other methods. If you're struggling to remember something, put it on a big sign by your door for a week. You'll see it every time you leave the house. If you've got a 10 minute commute, record your notes into 10 minute audio files and play them on the way. Look for ways to get the time in that doesn't involve sitting down and staring at a page of notes.
Thank you SO much. Your help is invaluable
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billionaire boy
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1-get a plain paper
2-write everything on that topic that u remember
3-see what you dont know and learn it
4-repeat
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rehman15
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I take bio, chem, psych and core maths but my mocks are in 3 weeks

I quite like quizlet which i use mainly for bio and psych because they have different modes of learning eg: flashcard, study, learn, test

I feel with chemistry it is quite repetitive so exam questions is the way to go and don't be afraid to ask your teacher for help, i regret not doing this in my first year because i was too nervous and worried what people would think
My teacher recommends absolutely nailing amounts of substance, bonding and atomic structure first before moving on to other topics because you can apply the bascis to pretty much every topic

he also recommends http://www.a-levelchemistry.co.uk
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nintysixthousand
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you probably need to work on exam technique! go on your exam board website and go through all the past papers, pay attention to how they word the answers, you can also find previous exam papers if you just google it(if your exam is newer so doesnt have many papers)
you can also find revision guides that have good information on exam technique, with example questions and answers!
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archibald300
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(Original post by billionaire boy)
1-get a plain paper
2-write everything on that topic that u remember
3-see what you dont know and learn it
4-repeat
(Original post by rehman15)
I take bio, chem, psych and core maths but my mocks are in 3 weeks

I quite like quizlet which i use mainly for bio and psych because they have different modes of learning eg: flashcard, study, learn, test

I feel with chemistry it is quite repetitive so exam questions is the way to go and don't be afraid to ask your teacher for help, i regret not doing this in my first year because i was too nervous and worried what people would think
My teacher recommends absolutely nailing amounts of substance, bonding and atomic structure first before moving on to other topics because you can apply the bascis to pretty much every topic

he also recommends http://www.a-levelchemistry.co.uk
(Original post by nintysixthousand)
you probably need to work on exam technique! go on your exam board website and go through all the past papers, pay attention to how they word the answers, you can also find previous exam papers if you just google it(if your exam is newer so doesnt have many papers)
you can also find revision guides that have good information on exam technique, with example questions and answers!
Thank you all for taking time to reply
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j-a2001
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(Original post by archibald300)
Hi,
I do A level Maths, Biology , Chemistry.
So my mocks went awfully so I've started revising early. My current routine for revising Biology & Chemistry:
1. Make notes from textbook
2. Make flashcards
3. Rote learn
4. Past paper questions

However, I feel like even though I know a topic inside out, this is not translating to a good score in past paper questions. How do I improve this?
e.g - I have just learnt all of plant responses inside out, but found past paper questions on it hard and scored poorly.

Please help!!! Thanks
My motto is that failing is the best way to succeed. When I revise, I do past papers, mark them, and whatever I get wrong I make a note of. I find this is really useful as I end up getting the same questions wrong and making the same notes and eventually I know it off by heart. I say, stick to doing past papers and note the answers to what you got wrong on flashcards; and, eventually, you'll be an expert! Hope that helps
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honeydukes01
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archibald300 ask rookz for 1 to 1 revision sessions xo
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Last edited by honeydukes01; 5 days ago
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