Edexcel GCSE Business 1BSO 012/022 24th May + 4th June [Exam Discussion] Watch

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How are you all going to revise , I have no motivation at the moment to do anything at allllll , Help !
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won.of.a.kind
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Hiiii this is my advice:

Big post


Anyway here are some tips for sitting the actual exam :

English lang and lit - divide your time up into sections a 20 mark question should roughly take you 20-minutes to half an hour to complete fully - likewise with a 40 mark question for something like a narrative or descriptive piece I recommend spending most of you time doing this (50 mins) and checking grammar as that is where most of the marks are....

Maths - start the paper normally then when you get halfway through the paper exactly (i.e. where the staple marks are) swap and work backwards towards the middle - this method works very well as they always finish their papers with harder and higher marking questions - this means you can use your time wisely to maximise the marks you would get

Sciences - past papers are key - the questions are almost ALWAYS the same. When you do the papers make sure to read the mark scheme thoroughly & analyse them so you know what specific words and phrases you have to get marks for this saves oodles of time in the exam.
Lastly in the exam always check how many marks you get for that question - no of marks = number of points that need to be made. If you have no idea ALWAYS TRY TO ANSWER THE QUESTION based on pre-existing knowledge.
For physics you can also make risqué / x-rated phrases to remember the formulas for - this is a VERY fun thing to do with friends ...

Language - watching and reading books and films In that language is a fun and efficient way of learning that language. I watch youtubers in the language i'm studying - you will notice that they will repeat a certain iconic but useful phrase that you could use in your exam. In addition Recording native speaker will help with pronunciation and recording yourself and listening will help you to prepare answers for questions. Lastly in the actual exam always leave 10-15 mins at the end to check grammar and SPAG.

Other - Coursework based subjects are relaxation from test based subjects so be sure to do these in your break - many find them more fun and relaxing to complete

General - If you ever feel stressed or unsure of what to do in an exam - ask to go to the loo splash water on your face, excrete do whatever you need to do to get yo' stressed out head back in the game. This helps me a lot because when you enter that room afresh so are your thoughts.

Lastly good luck !! From one GCSE student to another spend less time online and more time revising or sleeping - Remember that whilst GCSE's are important A-levels are more so don't sweat it !!



This is from a better and another source (troubletracking takes all the credit):

How I (somehow) managed to get all 8/9s in my GCSEs
Just a side note: apparently, I like to talk a lot. this post is huge. maybe get a cup of tea and some biscuits. sorry.



Hey, my name’s Meghan, and I sat 8 of my 9 GCSEs this year (2018) and 1 the previous year (2017) and, somehow, managed to get 5 9s (AQA English Literature, AQA English Language, Edexcel History, AQA Geography, AQA Biology and 4 8s (Edexcel Maths, AQA Chemistry, AQA Physics and AQA French). These aren’t the best grades in the country, and I didn’t have that many subjects to study compared to other people which probably really helped, but I’d been approached by a few people asking how I did it, so here we go guys and gals.

Okay, so basically I received a couple of PMs asking for advice on how I revised for my GCSEs, and the resulting messages were too long to send, so I thought I’d merge everything together and just create one long ass post. Maybe this will help some other people too. I’m also very aware I’m gonna read this back in a few days and hate how I’ve worded some things because I sound like an absolute ass, so please imagine I’m saying everything with a slightly sarcastic tone and a genuine smile, just to clear up any misinterpretations before we begin.

I’ve seen one of these badboys before, which I read in year 10, before I’d even joined TSR, and it was really motivational and helpful, so perhaps this might come in useful to a few people. Also a quick disclaimer that what worked for me might not necessarily work for you, and that I’m not making this to feed my ego, because there are probably better forums I could turn to brag when TSR is filled with maths prodigies and chemistry geniuses who could easily overshadow whatever I’m trying to say.


A cheeky bit of background info:


I was predicted mostly 7/8s, and my high school was neither a grammar school nor a private school, though it was (and still is) rated Good by Ofsted. I also didn’t pay for tutors, although I came pretty close to getting a maths tutor. Obviously, I’m not saying these things to undermine anyone who did use these, but rather as a way to show that you can still achieve what you want to achieve without having access to certain services.

Revision is a very personal thing, and what works for one person might not work for another. I would also like to say that success is relative, and what I may perceive to be success might not be the same as what you perceive to be success, and that’s okay, because we all have our own different expectations of ourselves.

So, uh, let’s get to it.


Organisation:


Listen y’all, someone once told me that effective revision is organised revision, and they were damn right too. You won’t revise effectively if you don’t know when and want to revise, have notes all over the place and leave everything till last minute. This is where organisation comes it, otherwise known as productively procrastinating revision because, let’s face it, who doesn’t love kidding themselves into thinking they’re revising by reorganising their chemistry folder?

The truth is, organisation doesn’t mean pastel highlighters and a bullet journal. Organisation means you know where your things are and you know what time you have and what you’re going to do in that time. Whatever that means for you is organised, whether or not that includes zebra mildliners and a cute planner.

Organise yo’ things:

I personally had a ring binder for each of my subjects, with the specification printed out in colour at the front (rip my daily printer allowance), followed by all of my revision notes, and then practice/past papers at the back. I also had a massive A1 yearly calendar above my desk where I put my exams on, but also days where I’d be doing things or going on holiday and stuff, as a way to have things to look forward to. If you feel the need to go out and buy funky stationery, you do that, but there isn’t really a need to if that ain’t your thing. Organisation was probably my biggest form of procrastination that didn’t involve the internet, so don’t spend all your time faffing with dividers because it’s not really getting you anywhere.

Something that really did help me, though, was making sure my room, specifically my desk, was tidy at the end of each day. I’m an inherently messy person, but I found that the state of my bedroom really affects my levels of productivity. If it’s an absolute tip, I’m not going to want to do anything, so I dedicated my Sunday evenings to set my bedroom back to neutral for the start of the new week. I’d find that on times where I hadn’t tidied my bedroom and I went into the new week with a messy space, I was a lot more disorganised and unproductive, and it set my week off on a bad note.

Organise yo’self:

If I could go back and do high school again, I’d make sure I did my homework the day it got set. I’ve always been disorganised to the point I’m an absolute mess but it’s lowkey enough so that no one knows I’m an actual wreck apart from my closest friends, so year 11 was a bit of a wake up call to get my act together, especially with homework. I remember doing my maths homework in the lesson it was due in year 8, and I spent way too many form periods doing homework that I should’ve done days ago. Therefore, at the start of year 11, I vowed to do my homework when I got it and it was, eh, about 50% successful. I still did my geography homework late Sunday night and failed to pluck up the courage to do my maths before the night it was due (I used to dread Wednesday nights so much omg because the maths was due Thursday. But it did help massively (despite my inherent laziness), and I would urge you to do the same, although hopefully you’ll be a bit more successful than me. Thank god I never have to do maths homework again *shivers*

As another way to organise your time, I do think it’s important to say how you’re probably not going to be able to spend the same amount of time for each of your subjects, and because of that, you’re going to need to prioritise. You could do this by solely focussing on English Language and Maths if they’re the only ones you need to get to the next step of your life. Or perhaps you just want to focus on five (including English and Maths- if you’re only going to pass two, please make it these ones) and sod all the others to dedicate your time to getting what you need to get into where you want to go. Alternatively, you might focus on the subjects you want to take for a-level to make sure you’ll get on the course and so you understand what’s going on when you do. What I did was focus on my weaknesses, so I spent a hell of a lot of time doing science revision, while I didn’t do so much geography because it really wasn’t a priority.

What you’re all here for:

Now for the big question: when did I start revising? And, more importantly, when should you start revising? I’m sorry to say this, but I don’t actually know when I did start, as silly as it sounds. I can’t remember there ever being a turning point from no revision to ALL THE REVISION, because it just seemed so gradual. I guess revision technically started in October if you count when I started doing work outside of homework. Put down your machine guns, my friends, because that doesn’t mean I whipped out the past papers in October or did eight hour-long sessions, but I think, for me, revision was a gradual process. I stared in October time because my mocks were in November, and then I picked it up again around February half term because I had march mocks, and by the time they were over I entered MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE and hit it hard until the end of exam season. There’s no magic formula, there’s just being able to figure out what works for you and not getting stressed when your friend’s doing something else. You just need to understand that everyone works at their own pace and just cos your mate’s already doing eight hour sessions in September doesn’t mean you need to.

However, something I did do throughout year eleven which I think really contributed to my grades was to not measure my productivity by hours, but by things done. Personally, I just think measuring productivity by hours isn’t particularly helpful, and if you’re into the ‘study community’ you’ll know of the infamous 15+ hour 'study with me's that float around the internet, and they give off the impression that the more hours you spend working, the more productive you’re being and, therefore, you should spend every waking moment studying. Newsflash: none of that is true, and because of this, I think it’s much more helpful for both yourself and your productivity to measure how much work you’ve done by how many things you’ve done. I might be only working for four hours, but if I’ve ticked off everything on my to do list, then I've been productive. And vice versa: even if I've been sat at my desk for six hours, if I've only done one small thing I can't kid myself into thinking I've been productive.

You don’t (always) need Excel to excel:

Spoiler: revision timetables might not work for everyone. There, I said it. Throw me into the fire. It gets to that point in the year where everyone’s throwing templates at you for revision timetables or sending you Excel spreadsheet links and you think, right, time to get my life together, let’s make a timetable. It’s easy to cram it full with hours and hours of work in the hopes that it’ll really get you into gear, but most people fail to revise for four hours straight with no breaks, and very few can do more than six to eight hours of revision in a day. Because of this, don’t cram that sucker full of coloured boxes coordinating with each of your subjects. Factor in breaks, hobbies, rest, sleep, jobs, and then put schoolwork in around that.

For some people, they do work really effectively, but personally, it wasn’t for me. I didn’t like how tight the time restraints were: If I’d put down I’d start Chemistry at 9am and I didn’t start until 9:17, I’d immediately feel like a failure and that my whole day was out of whack. Because of this, I found I work better with daily to-do lists, where I have the same things to do as I did on a timetable but without the time constraints so I could do things at my own pace and not stress about feeling like a failure if I started work at noon.

If you’re struggling with how to go about making a revision timetable, I found this video and this video very helpful.

The important thing here is not to feel guilty or bad if you say you’re going to start revising history at 10:00 but start at 10:30. You’re doing fine. In a year you won’t remember this. As long as you get something done, it’s really not a problem.

Finding Yo self:

Revision is like a spiritual journey: you gotta find yo self. For many people in year 11, this might be the first time you’ve actually seriously revised ever, and, if you’re not a natural born genius, you probably can’t coast your way through GCSEs and expect 8s and 9s, so a good place to start learning is to find out how you learn best. You could go for your bog standard ‘Which learner am I?’ quiz, or just do the whole trial-and-error thing with a bunch of different methods. I know I learn best through writing things down over and over again, so the main bulk of my revising was writing notes to turn into mind maps to turn into flashcards in order to do practice papers from.

Here’s an impromptu list of techniques you could try out:

Writing notes:
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Handwritten notes are, for me, the way to go. I find they stick better in my head because it’s easier to engage with the content as opposed to mindlessly typing them into a Word document. However, if you have particularly unreadable handwriting or you want to print them out to annotate them, computerised notes might be better, and they also do save a lot of time. Make sure your note taking isn’t just you copying out the revision guide, only this time complete with calligraphy and muji fineliners. There’s literally no point in doing that.
To make effective notes, reword them or add new information using external resources (like, maybe use a combination of your class notes and the revision guide). Putting them into your own words practically forces you to understand it before you can jiggle the sentence around, and you’re more likely to remember something if you understand it. If you learn by listening, maybe reword them and record yourself back saying them instead of rewriting them.



Practice questions:
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Probably the best way to revise for subjects which test you on applied knowledge, and not just the knowledge itself (maths, physics, english language, probably literally every subject ever), but should probably do some practice questions for each of your subjects. An easy way to do this is just to buy a revision workbook, or you can google ‘GCSE 9-1 AQA biology worksheets’ and have a dig through all the teacher resource websites until you find something (literally spent most of year 10 lurking round TES for English lang practice questions). If the 2018 AQA science papers are anything to go by, yikes, y’all better start applying that **** to lettuce leaves from the get go.








Practice papers:
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Look, I know what you’re thinking: you’re on the new spec, there’s hardly any out there, you can’t do any of the old spec papers. Seven of my nine exams were the first to do the new 9-1 specification, and, although the resources were limited, a little bit of digging on the AQA website was all it took to find a specimen paper.

For some subjects,you can use the old spec papers. Use the old spec papers for maths and sciences, although they'll likely miss out some things, which you'll need to do in a wokrbook separetely. They can change how they ask the questions, but they can’t change the fact enzymes are biological catalysts. The main issue with older papers (particularly science) is that the topics aren’t grouped in the same way they are now, so an A*-G paper 1 won’t have the same topics as a 9-1 paper 1 will have, if you get me.

Don’t use the older stuff for things like English Language though: the question style has completely changed and you’ll end up with perfect A*-G technique and non existent 9-1 exam technique. CGP do sell practice papers for around £5 for two sets on Amazon, which I bought for some of my subjects like english language, where there weren’t many papers online.








Revision Guides:
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It’s safe to say that I went a bit overboard on revision guides and workbooks, buying a guide and a workbook for each subject, only to realise for most i only used one. If you’re stuck between a workbook and a revision guide, definitely get the workbook.I would recommend you only get a revision guide if you don’t have a very good teacher, you really don’t know what’s going on, or you haven’t taken understandable notes. If your notes are fine and you understand the topic, just buy a workbook. Workbooks have practice questions which test you and force you to learn, which is far more productive than highlighting a revision guide. Don’t do that.

I used revision guides most for the sciences, and history (although the CGP history one wasn’t that detailed and didn’t have Henry VIII in it), and didn’t ever really use my maths revision guide (need to hear it being explained rather than just reading it for me to understand what’s going on) or my French one. I used workbooks most for maths, English language and I did use them pretty frequently for the sciences. I didn’t have a geography workbook, but my teacher printed us off pages for us to do practically every week, and it turned out to be pretty useful in the end. Controversial, but if you’re aiming for about a 6/7 in English lit, I wouldn’t bother buying the text guides because I found the points to be pretty basic and not very well deveoloped, but by all means try them out and see if they work for you.








Youtube:
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If you’re a visual or an auditory learner, revision through youtube is a great way to learn, and was my main source of revision for english and science. It’s free, and there’s hundreds of videos out there, particularly for maths, the sciences and English. The people running them are teachers so they do know what they’re on about and are great if you don’t understand something.

English:

Mr Bruff (all hail king bruffsy)
Mr Salles
The English Teacher
Mrs Whelan's English

Science:

Primrose Kitten
Christopher Thornton
Freescience lessons
Science with Hazel

Maths:

Hegarty maths
Corbettmaths
Mr Elhassan
DrFrostMaths

History:

Mr Allsop HIstory
Ben Newmark

Just discovered I’m Stuck- GCSE Revision and omg where was this when I needed it? There’s literally every subject not there, and if you do History VIII for history do check it out because NO ONE does Henry

I would like to add that this using this method to revise is particularly dangerous, especially to someone like myself who is easily distracted and a master at convincing myself I’m revising when I’m really not. Be strict on yourself, and don’t kid yourself into thinking that watching stationery haul videos count as revising. Spoiler: they don’t. You can download an app called SelfControl on the computer which literally blocks you from going on certain sites for an amount of time- and I mean blocks you. You can’t even uninstall the app to check Tumblr again, you have to wait it out.

Another side of YouTube is the ’studytube’ community, which kinda has mixed reviews. Some found it very helpful, myself included- particularly in year ten, but it can easily become very overwhelming and unrealistic. I used to find it really helpful for motivation, but near exam season it just stressed me out further so I distanced myself from it all. That said, there is some really helpful advice on there.






Flashcards:
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Call me biased, but if you’re a visual/ kinaesthetic learner, these are the way to go- for me, personally, anyway. Flashcards are great because they strengthen quick recall for small bits of information, such as equations, key words or vocabulary. You can get premade ones online, download an app like Quizlet and do/ make them online, or you can write them yourself. I find that by just writing them out, I’ve learnt around 1/4 of the pack, so I made my own flashcards for all subjects apart from French, because I couldn’t be bothered making and carting around 2000 flashcards.
Whether you make them on your phone or you make physical ones, you can take them with you and whip them out whenever you have a spare moment instead of scrolling through twitter. I pretty much always had a cheeky pack of flashcards in my blazer, just to whip out if I had a spare moment waiting for the bus or something.





Teaching others:

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My geography teacher was adamant about this method, and said it was the best way to learn and remember information, and she was probably correct. There’s this graph that’d make an appearance literally ever assembly in the run up to exams that you’ve probably seen, and it said how you retain 10% of information you read, but 90% of the information you teach. You actually have to understand the content to be able to teach it, and if you understand it you’re going to subconsciously reword your notes while you’re teaching.
So, you know, teach your mum about enzymes and your dog about the Nuremberg Laws- who ever’ll listen. An engaging audience will further help you because hopefully they’ll ask questions (no shade to your dog but that’s probably not his forte), and you’ll need to really understand the topic to answer them. Not gonna lie, this was a method I never did use, but I’m starting to wish I did as it’s really helpful in getting yourself to learn complex processes in the sciences, for example.





Mindmaps:
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A popular method for humanities, mindmaps are a great alternative to flashcards or other visual prompts. Put your topic in the middle of the page, and arrange your notes in a way that is easy to follow and understand. Making them colourful and adding drawingswould help visual leaners, while auditory learners would benefit from going around the mindmap and reading out the notes. You could use a mindmap sort of like a giant flashcard, and go around it and learn the information, then getting someone else to test you on it (though I couldn’t be bothered to do this).
Mindmaps are also a good way to condense information to its most basic form by starting with an a3 piece and gradually making the paper smaller until you can fit only the most important bits on a flashcard. Mindmaps were the reason my history grade was what it was, but I also used them in english lit, geography and even sciences. Please just don’t write OSMOSIS in beautiful colourful letters and only have enough room and time to write two sentences, though.




Recording yourself:

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This is for you auditory folk: record yourself reading out your notes and listen to it every waking moment of every waking day.
When you’re doing flashcards, read them out. The same goes with notes. You’re engaging both the visual and aural parts of your brain, so it should help more than just reading it in your head.




Apps:
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There’s some great apps out there to aid studying, and apps were one of the main ways I got some revision done because lmao I don’t go anywhere without the reassurance of my favourite hunk of glass and metal pressing comfortably against my leg.

Quizlet and Memrise are your obvious choices: both are flashcard apps that you can use for anything, but I only used Memrise for French and Quizlet for everything else. I find Quizlet is a lot more personal to you, whereas I just used the pre-made AQA vocab sets for French on Memrise.

Temple GCSE is excellent for GCSE Science, economics and languages (think it only does Spanish and French tho) though I’m pretty sure it’s still the old spec, which I guess you can get away with for science and languages. The more questions you answer, the bigger your tower for that subject gets, so if you’re motivated by completing games, it might be something to check out.

Speaking of languages, Duolingo is an obvious reccomndation. It doesn’t learn you to the spec like learning the vocab list would, but gives you a well rounded knowledge of your language. I was in a Duolingo group where we motivated each other (kinda fell apart by January but the effort was there), so if you’re competetive and motivated by streaks then it might be a good one to try.

Drops is also a language app, but unlike Duolingo that teaches you sentences and grammar, Drops only does vocabulary. It’s a very visual approach to a language, so if you’re struggling and find other language apps too wordy, then this might be a good one to use, though i doubt just using this as your sole resource of language revision will get you those top grades.

Exam Countdown is an app that does what it says on the tin, really, and I kid you not I imported the dates for all my exams literally over Summer (2017), although they were provisional. So if you’re doing your exams in 2019, you can find your exam dates now, although they are subject to change at the moment. For me, having tangible proof that my exams were getting nearer and nearer really helped motivate me, as a lot of my motivation came from me being stressed into revising, which wasn’t the most healthy way of going about it. That aside, just knowing when your exams are and knowing what to prioritise is really helpful, and you can also see how long you’ve got left until your last exam when it’s all over, so that’s always a plus.




Music:
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This isn’t a way to revise, per say, but more so a way to *maybe* help retain information. Basically, studies show that you shouldn’t listen to music whilest studying because it’s distracting and all this other stuff about complex neuroscience, but, for me, it makes revision 10x more enjoyable, so I listen to music anyway. I’m easily distracted and I hate silence, so I find that music satiates the restless part of my brain and provides background noise that’s less distracting than silence.

Half way through year 10 I had this idea: I often do this thing where I associate certain songs with certain periods of my life or memories because I was listening to those songs during that time. When I come to listen to that album again, I’m reminded of a certain month or a certain memory. So I did this with revison and assigned each subject a different album to lisen to while doing that subject.

Each album had to follow these rules: I had to have never listened to it before, only listen to while while revising and use contrasting albums for similiar subjects.

I’m gonna be honest and say that around February time I gave up and just listened to what I wanted to during revision, but the one subject where I properly only listened to the album right up to the exam was English Language, and I’m not sure how effective it was. Listening to the album on the morning of the exam easily reminded me of revising the subject, but not so much the actual content. I don’t know if it would work differently for more content heavy subjects like history or something, but perhaps this wasn’t a massive success.







Sleep:

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This is not a way to revise (although I wish it was lmao), but in year 11 I realised just how important it was, so I’ve given it it’s own section.

The reason you need at least a semi-decent night’s sleep is because you need to have energy left in you to revise when you get home. And it’s obvious, yeah, but in year 10 I could barely keep my eyes open at 5pm, so just don’t be me. Screw all the health benefits, because if you really cared about them over Netflix, you wouldn’t go to sleep so late. Sleep well so you can still work when you get home. School is bloody draining, and getting 6+ hours of sleep is going to give you the stamina to keep working. Not late, not relentlessly, but productively. You need to be awake enough to take in information.

The average (and I stress average, because everybody’s different) sleep cycle is 90 minutes long, and the reason you feel like you’ve been hit by a truck after a full night’s rest is because you’ve woken up in the middle of a sleep cycle, when your sleep is deep. What you want is to wake up in between sleep cycles, when your sleep is the lightest. So, the solution is getting an amount of sleep that’s devisable by 1.5. Obviously, 9’s the ideal, but we can’t all fall asleep at 10, so 6 and 7.5’ll work too. It’s all a trial and error thing, but what pretty much every scientist seems to agree on is that getting up and going to sleep at the same day will work wonders for your productivity. Did I do this though? I’m writing this at 2am in September, so no.








Individual Subjects:


AQA English Language (2017):

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I did English language in year 10, which is probably the reason why I did so well. I’m naturally better at essay based subjects, so I would have put it at the bottom of my list had I done it in year 11 in order to focus on subjects I found harder, and I would 100% would not have got as good a grade because of that. Because it was the first exam I had ever done that mattered, I started revising on the 1st of May when my exams were on the 6th and 12th of June.

(literally written circa summer 2017 and shamelessly copied and pasted so don’t @ me)

I started out revising by filling in three pages of my workbook a night. The one iIused was by Pearson, the ones that are purple. I had a revision guide as well, but I only used that when i didn’t understand something. My teacher was amazing, so it wasn’t a matter of knowing what to do in the exam that was the problem, it was the problem of being able to do it, and, more importantly, being able to do it in the exam, under time conditions and pressure.

I then introduced Mr Bruff into my revision by watching his videos along side the workbook. I typed up the Frankenstein examples he provided and printed them out, then annotated them saying why he got top marks, and making sure I did the same in my practice questions.

The week before half term, 2-3 weeks before the exam, iImade my final revision resources. Knowing flashcards were my strong point, I made flashcards of techniques, structural and language, and put them on my wardrobe. Something I wanted to work on was a more advanced vocabulary, so I picked nine common positive words and nine common negative words and used google to find four more advanced synonyms. I put these on the window in front of my desk, but I soon made this technique more effective by making them into proper flashcards that I could take to school with me and actually learn, instead of look at. Within a week I had learnt them all.

For the final sprint, I made a timetable. I filled in the workbook for half an hour, followed by fifteen minutes of going through the vocabulary. I now started testing myself on spelling as well as whether i knew them or not. I watched a Mr bruff video, made notes, then attempted a corresponding timed question. I could only find one specimen paper online, so I bought some practice papers from amazon, and used the ones at the back of my workbook. No matter how desperate you are, DO NOT use the old spec questions. Step away from them. Don’t even think about it. Search on the internet, buy some off amazon, ask your teacher to write you some, ask your friends if they have any they can send you photos of, just please, for the love of god, don’t do the A*-G papers because in the real exam you’re gonna be hella confused when nothing is the same as it was when you did the old papers. Combining everything together, I had three full papers or six half papers. I aimed to do half a paper a day, which was really ambitious and I didn’t do that, but I still completed two full papers on my week off.

For me, section B was my weak point, as it could go either way, depending on the question. I preferred using Mr Salles for section B and mr bruff for section A, and I would, again, make notes and attempt a timed question. The biggest tip I have for paper one section b is to go in with an open mindset and prepare for both a narrative and a description. Yes, you may prefer to write a narrative and you might be better at it, but don’t only prepare for a narrative and think “I’m going to do a narrative”. You might find a narrative question hard to write about, and be unprepared to write a description. I normally go for a narrative, but a general rule i go by is that if I don’t have an immediate idea within around two minutes, I go for a description.

You only have 1hr and 45 minutes, and although that may seem a long time, it goes by so quickly and you don’t have time to be spending over a minute planning. Another tip for section B is to do the opposite of what everyone else is doing. You gain points for originality, so you want to go against the route thousands of others students will be taking. If you think the majority of students will disagree with the statement on keeping uniform or whatever, then agree to set you apart.

Another crucial part of any essay based exam is that you need to know the timings. My next tip may be controversial, and definitely won’t work for everyone, so perhaps try it out in a mock or something. If you work out the timings, you have 15 minutes to read the source(s) and make notes, but you can start writing as soon as you want to. For me, this was five miutes in because i like to write a lot and i can plan preetty quick, but my friend spent a good twenty minutes making a detailed plan for all her questions, so it's truly down to what works best for you. An english teacher once said that a brave candidate isn't someonw who starts writing straight away, but someone who plans for fifteen minutes, because it's easy to get swept up in the adrenaline rush and start scribbling away. Although i didn't plan much, i did plan something, and i think a plan is reall important because you now what you're on about i. i writeo one o f y answers without a plan and it felt a lot less organised that my ones wirtten with a plan.

English language is hard to revise for, and even harder to predict the outcome. I came out of both exams nearly crying, convinced i done poorly: i should have done a description, i hardly used any of my advanced vocabulary, did my story even fulfill the brief about two characters from different backgrounds? and paper two, i thought i’d lost half my marks in section b because i used the phrase “‘grinding’ upon members of the opposite sex” in a broadsheet newspaper article and messed up my formal tone. However, everything turned out alright in the end and it goes to show you can never predict the outcome of an exam.





AQA English Literature:
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English is probably the only subject I feel somewhat decent about dishing out advice to because I’d like to say it’s my best and it’s definitely my favourite. I studied An Inspector Calls, A Christmas Carol, Macbeth and Power and Conflict poetry, but I’m going to try and make this applicable to all texts. I’ve got a Macbeth post in the works so hopefully I’ll link that in here when I’ve (finally) got around to finishing that.

Gonna start from the start (duhh meghan), and recommend you read the books at least three times, which I don’t think’s too bad if it’s spaced over one or two years. Ideally you’d read it before you study it but I understand that’s not always possible, you read it while you study, I’d advise you to read it again over a holiday (maybe summer before year 11 or the Christmas holidays) and then read it for the final time nearer to your exam (I'm thinking easter holidays). This builds a strong timeline of the novel/play in your head, and knowing the sequence of events is really important for those AO1 marks. Something as simple as “later on in the play, in Act 3, we see..” shows the examiner you know the play well. You don’t have to just read it either- adaptations are also good ways of refreshing your knowledge of the play (do NOT reference these in your exams though, because some elements are diffenrent) and audiobooks are also nice to put on in the background while you’re cleaning or commuting or something.

As for the actual essay writing, I think it’s really important you know both where your marks are coming from and how long you have to get those marks. Knowing what AO1 is is different from knowing how to get those marks, so sometimes a structure is useful. I was never a fan of a structure myself, but our teacher recommended we use point (make your argument), method (what the author does), quote (an example of this method), explore (effect of this method and/ or connotations), theme (link back to the question), context (what the author is trying to say) and compare (link this to another part of the text; use another example). I do feel like English is a subject where there is no one right way to do things, so it’s all about playing around and seeing what works best.

In exams as long as these, it's really important you keep an eye on the time and don't get too carried away writing. I'd recommend you spend around 45 minutes on each section in paper 1, which still give you 15 minutes to plan and check. Paper 2 is a little trickier for timings because there's SO MUCH, but I'd suggest roughly 40 minutes for each section, and 15 minutes to both plan at the start and check at the end.

Tentative language is an absolute must. It shows the examiner there’s other interpretations out there, which is kind of the whole point of English literature, so the use of a simple word can change the whole band the examiner places you in. Instead of saying ‘and this shows…’, write ‘this could show’, which makes it a hell of a lot easier to bring in an alternative point. An alternative interpretation is basically your way of telling the examiner you’re aiming for those high grades and you’re able to look at the text from different angles, which is an important skill to have. Your alternative interpretation doesn't need to be as detailed as your first one; a simple sentence will do, but I’d recommend you have at least one alternative interpretation for each essay you do.

As for revision, I was such a big advocate of mindmaps (and deforestation, apparently). You’re going to be asked a question on either a theme or a character, so the best way to go about it is to make a list of all the main themes and character from each text, then make a mind map on each one. I’d have a few quotes around it, but each quote was explored in detail, so you eventually end up with a bank of key quotes that encompass multiple themes and characters. You can further go for it, by taking each quote and sticking it on a flashcard, and trying to recall the analysis from each quote. Not gonna lie, I only did this from a few of them but I did find it effective (still can reel off a load of ACC quotes I didn't even use grrr).

Once you know what you’re talking about, your next port of call is to whack out some essays and essay plans. Before you do this, make sure you don’t focus too much attention on the characters and themes that haven’t already been covered in previous years because chances are Ozymandias prolly isn’t going to make an appearance again in 2019 (but ya never know:dontknow: ). The most important part of this by far is to do them timed (if you can) and to get your teacher to mark them so you know where you're dropping marks. Doing an essay and not getting your teacher to mark it is like making a meringue and not holding it above your head,,,,,if you get me

For poetry, my biggest tip is to not learn all of them in detail because there’s no point. What is really important, however, is to make sure you know the context for every one of them (context is the one thing in English you can’t just make up), because you’re gonna need that no matter what poem comes up. Do make sure you know every poem at least briefly though- you’ll need two good quotes and a point on structure for each (#givestructurecredit because examiners are going to think highly of someone who doesn't just discuss language). Then, pick around five of the poems you know best that cover a range of themes- these will be your comparison poems. You’ll want to know these really well and make sure all of the poems compare to one of these. Something my English teacher said was that all poems can be compared to either Exposure or Kamikaze (apart from each other), and leaning them in pairs helps you to compare them from the beginning.






Edexcel Maths (2018):
(meg's guide to revisin maffs,,,, when u don't like maffs)

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Maths has forever been my weakness, so most of my time went towards maths, especially after my traumatic October half term test score, in which I got 13/40 and 24/40. And so, with the combined effort of my burning motivation and my wonderful teacher, I managed to secure an 8 by the end of the year.

It took me a few good months until I could confront the truth about maths: the only way to get better is to do it more. And I guess it’s surprising to say that I only realised this in like january, but I could learn biology just by going over flashcards, I could write an english essay just by knowing a few quotes.

But maths is different: you get it or you don’t, you can do it or you can’t, you’re gifted with the powers of our great lord pythagoras himself, or you’re not. And if you’re like me and can write an english essay blindfolded but still need to draw the claw thingys while expanding brackets, it’s not going to be easy. You’ve just got to do it again and again and again, but not until you get it right, until you don’t get it wrong. Youtube video after youtube video, practice question after practice question, exam paper after exam paper. And if you hate maths, it’s awful. It’s hard. You’d rather be eating glass right now.

But you don’t have a choice. There’s no excuses, no fancy frills you can hide behind when you revise for maths, because if you’re not doing maths, then you’re not revising maths.

I’d recommend you buy a workbook of some kind, and if you’re particularly mathematically inclined CGP do sell a grade 9 targeted one. If I didn’t understand something, I’d turn to youtube because I’m awkward and struggle to ask for help from my teacher, and because I found the best way for me to understand maths was through someone telling me what to do, as opposed to reading a book full of jargon I didn’t understand.

My main source of maths revision came from Hegarty Maths, which was a website my school gave us a code to use, and it literally saved my grades. It had every topic going with questions and videos explaining the questions, and if your school uses it definitely take advantage of it. I wish I’d used it more tbh, because I didn’t even complete half of it, and my teacher said that everyone who completed Hegarty Maths got a grade 9, so there’s your incentive to revise.

Past papers are also pretty golden, and here you can definitely take advantage of the old papers, although the set up might be a little different and there may be a few topics that don’t come up. After a while, you do start to realise that maths is very repetitive and a lot of the questions are recycled year after year, just with a few different numbers thrown in, and by the time you’re in the real exam it just kinda feels like another practice paper.

If you’re a wordy gal like myself you’re probably well acquainted with the feeling of digging out your year ten maths books to help you with a problem only to find page after page of numbers with no apparent meaning or correlation. The solution: write down all the examples the teacher gives you and annotate, preferably in a different colour, what is going on. Explain how to do the problem, so you end up with a handwritten revision guide of sorts that tells you how to do each type of question in vocabulary you understand.






Triple Science (2018):

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Apart from history, science was the subject I revised for most. A combination of there being masses and masses of content and my natural inability to understand what the hell was going on half the time led me to dedicate literal hours to subjects I despised and I probably took out half the Malaysian rainforest while I was at it. But, that said, I do think science is one of the easier subjects to revise, because there’s a lot of resources out there to help you.

The sciences were one of the only subjects that I wrote actual notes for, and I used a combination of my school notes and the CGP revision guides (mainly the latter) to make these. I also used MyGCSEScience, which is a subscription service that gives you access to videos off all the topics and worksheets to go alongside them. The first ‘unit’ is free, so, if you started science in year nine, you get those topics free. That being said, for double science, it’s like £25 and for triple £50 to have unlimited access to all his videos and worksheets and stuff, so it’s by no means cheap. I’m not sure if i’d recommend it to everyone, as you could find similar content for free elsewhere (coming thru shaun love ya xox), but if you’ve got a terrible teacher and you’re really uncertain on huge chunks, it’s a great resource. That said, the subscription ends in July regardless of when you buy it the day before your last physics exam or in November. This means that you shouldn’t buy it in year 10 because you’ll only have to buy it twice, and if you are going to get it, buy it in September to get the most value for money.

Flashcards were my saviour in science. I had pretty much one for every unit of all three sciences, and I made them just by going through the revision guide and making a bunch of simple question and answer cards with short bits of information on the back. I was always that friend who’d whip out some flashcards at lunch because they’re such easy ways to learn bits of important information, like definitions or steps of a otherwise complex process. I always wrote out my flashcards for everything apart from French because writing stuff down helps me remember, but Quizlet is great too.

Flashcards were also key to my grades because I used them to remember any equations, which are absolutely essential with the new GCSEs, especially in physics, which is 30% maths. I kid you not, in my November mock the only thing I did for physics was learn all the equations, and I came out with a 6, because once you know the equations you’re pretty much sorted with the maths questions. The main way I learned the equations were simply through making flashcards with ‘equation for charge’ on one side and ‘Charge= current x time’ on another, but mnemonics were something that I found really helpful. My friendship group learnt the equations collectively by coming up with unbelievably X-rated mnemonics for the physics equations that they were pretty much guaranteed to stay in my head, and I’d give you some examples but I’d probably get banned from TSR for life, but the more risqué, the better.

In the more wordy parts of science, so basically biology and some parts of chemistry and physics, I used mindmaps. I would probably have been more effective if I’d made the mindmaps before I made flashcards but basically I just condensed all my notes from one particular topic to fit onto an A3 sheet of paper, which both forces you to include the important bits and forces you to rewords the content, which you can only really do once you understand it.

For anything I didn’t understand (and believe me, there was a LOT), my go to source of revision was YouTube, because i find a lot easier to understand something when someone’s telling me it as opposed to just reading it. MyGCSEScience, FreeScienceLessons and Primrose Kitten were all really helpful in this aspect, but it’s important that while you’re watching the video, you also making notes because just sat there watching it is more passive than active and chances are you’re not gonna retain as much than if you had written the important points down.

Primrose Kitten also does these super helpful summary videos for literally every exam board going and summarise each unit of each science. They’re about fifteen minutes each and cover only the basic points, but they’re great as either a starting point before properly revising or as a refresher the night before an exam. Don’t just put them on in the background as you scroll through twitter though, it’s so important to pause the video and write things down which sounds so tedious but it really does help. All I did for my Chemistry paper 2 mock was watch every one of her AQA chemistry paper 2 videos and make notes, and i got a solid 7 on that paper, which goes to show how much you do retain if you write it down. That is, if writing things down is what makes you learn.

Now comes the worst bit: so you understand the content, you’ve learnt the content, now comes the final step. You need to learn how to apply the content. I’d really recommend you invest in a science workbook for each of the sciences, and simply work through it. The CGP ones are great because it tells you the grade of each question, which is really useful in working your way up to the harder questions and also lets you know the things you really want to nail if you’re after those 7s, 8s and 9s. But the most important part is that after you’ve done the questions, make sure you mark them and correct them. I think some of the CGP ones make you buy the mark scheme separately so try and get a book that includes a mark scheme at the back because correcting the ones you got wrong is how you’re going to get better.

Past, or practice, papers are so important in science because year after the year the examiners pretty much just copy and paste the same questions, with a few alterations and maybe a new diagram thrown in. I remember a teacher once telling us that if we just did past paper after past paper for revision, then we wouldn’t really need to understand the science nor even learn it, we’d just need to know it. We’d just need to know which order the words would have to be in in order the get the mark, as opposed to actually understanding the theory behind it. This method can be somewhat problematic in some ways, especially if you want to do science for a-level and I’m not sure whether it’s actually all that useful, but I do think the point still stands in that the more papers you do, the more you’ll be familiar with the types of questions they ask you. Our science papers were wildly different from the ‘what is osmosis?’ questions we went over in class, because we had to apply the information we’d learnt instead of just reeling it off, and I think if i’d done more preparation applying the content instead of just learning it, my science grades could’ve been the next grade up.


Languages:
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Although I did french, you can use these tips for any language. I split my language learning into two sections: vocabulary, and grammar and, for the most part, that was it.

My number one tip is to learn the vocabulary. If you’re going to do one thing, do that. I think the best way to do this is through flashcards and, although I’m normally an advocate for handwritten flashcards, I make an exception here because i really didn’t fancy carting around 2000 flashcards, so i made them electronically. There’s two main ways you can do this: through Memrise or through Quizlet, and they're both flashcard apps, though I used Memrise more because it was slightly more intuitive than quizlet, which is a lot more personalised.

Vocab is so damn important: you’ll need to recognise it in your reading paper, be able to understand it in your listening (another reason why I loved Memrise-it said the word to you), and most importantly, be able to use the vocab in your writing and speaking. I left my vocab learning a little two late and learnt roughly 1800 out of the 2000 in the vocab list, so I would literally start now. Just learnt five or ten words a day quickly builds up until you have a huge bank of words at your arsenal. Another way of improving vocab is an app called Drops, which is literally a really visual app that learns vocab as basic as numbers up to as niche as astronomy. This helps you build up a large general vocab because it’s really important you understand that you’re not going to understand every word in your reading and listening. You can learn the vocab, but there’s still gonna be words there you’ve come across, so further broadening your vocab decreases the chance of you stumblig across lots of words you’ve never seen in your life. Drops is really visual and simple to use, and is pretty suited to someone who’s a compete beginner at a language or someone who struggles with deciphering a load of words at once because it learns you through pictures.

I did a little fishing on Quizlet and managed to find some pre-made 9-1 German and Spanish vocab if you’re desperate:

https://quizlet.com/vampiremojo/folders/gcse-aqa-9-1-french]Frenchies[/url]
https://quizlet.com/class/5159741/]Spaniards[/url]
https://quizlet.com/class/1842991/]Germans[/url]

Your next step is to get your grammar in check, and I’m talking everything: tenses, irregulars, endings, the whole lot. There’s really no way around the fact that you’ll just have to do it again and again, and a good ol’ workbook is probably the answer here. in the beginning of year 10, I stuck pieces of paper onto my roof with the irregular endings to common irregulars such as être and avoir, and a few of them are still there because I moved my bedroom around and couldn’t take them down again.

Something I think is pretty handy to know, espeically if you want those higher gardes, is to learn a few fancy phrases and idioms to stick in your wirintg and speaking. These examples are all gonna be in French, but leanring a cheeky 'si j'étais riche', 'après avoir mangé' or 'quand j'étais jeune' to throw in there bumps up your marks a little, and is it even a french exam if you don't throw in a quick 'quel dommage!' at the end of your wiritng? Non.

Here's the usual speil about listening to French music, reading Italian articles and watching Spanish films because it does help you to get acccustomed with the langauge. I read somewere that reading your favourite childhood book from when you were 8-11 is supposed to really help with learning a langauge, so now I have a copy of the Hunger Games in French just chilling on my bookshelf

Here's a French spotify playlist I was particulary fond of, seeing as I can't link my own because my username is legit my full name lmao


History:
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History is such a hard subject because there’s so much content to learn. And out of that content, it’s inevitable that only a fraction will be actually assessed, which is just lovely.

For the content, I made a mindmap for literally every single topic of every single unit and stuck it on my wall. I found it really useful because I was able to paraphrase my unnecessarily detailed notes into something that was easy to understand, and rewording it made it a lot easier to remember. In the centre of each mindmap, I’d have the topic and then I’d have smaller subtitles with information around each of them. For example, I might have written The Fall of Wolsey in the centre, then I’d write stuff like ‘the failed Annulment’ and ‘failed foreign policy’ and ‘failed domestic policies’ around it, with information on each coming out of it.

From mindmaps, I’d make flashcards, in which were basically each sub-topic of a mindmap, but condensed enough to fit only the key points on there. These were what I’d mainly use for revision, so I’d take them to school, have people test me and stuff like that. For each of my unit, I’d also make date flashcards. Dates aren’t actually necessary in any of the units apart from the second question of the depth study (the narrative account) where you have to put stuff in order. However, knowing dates is really important in getting marks for your specific factual detail, so I would advise you learn the key ones at the very minimum. There’s really no fun way around learning dates apart from standing in a circle and chanting them with your friends like you’re in a Galen-worshipping cult, but if you go over them enough times they really do stick. The stuff I remember now from GCSE are the things I learnt over a long period of time instead of cramming the night before (guilty as charged), and I do still remember a good chunk of the dates now, so start leaning them as you go along.

Something that I actually only did around half way through year 11 was make timelines because I thought they were pointless and a waste of wall space (wall space was something I’d rationed by february lmao). Yikes, was I wrong. Timelines are really helpful with your thematic study because you can clearly see the evolution of medicine (in my case), but also the sequence of events within each period. But I found them particularly helpful with units that aren’t taught completely in order and where there’s some overlap in dates, such as the American West and Henry VIII because then you can cleary see what happened when. For your depth studies like this, it’s even more helpful to colour code each topic- so I had a colour each for the Mormons, the Homesteaders, the Indian Wars etc. Putting your timeline somewhere you see every day will encourage you to actively look at it and test yourself frequently, which is going to help you not just learn the order things come in but also the dates themselves.

The other element to history is the exam technique, which is often underestimated in its importance, but it’s honestly crucial to a good grade. You can have all the fun facts about Stressemann you want, but if you don’t know how to answer the question, you’re not going to get any marks, and you’ve worked hard to do yourself the injustice of missing easy marks.

For a source question, you’re going to need to include both content (the source itself) and the provenance (where the source comes from). A lot of my source marks were lost because I’d said the source wasn’t useful because it didn’t include something, but then I’d failed to say what it didn’t include. For example, if the source was a picture of a motor ambulance and asked you the usefulness of this source for an inquiry into modes of transport during WW1, you could say that it wasn’t useful because it doesn’t show the other methods of transport. What’s really important in these questions is that you include your own knowledge, so here you’ll need to specify the other methods of transport before ultimately deciding on your judgement.

For 16 markers, you’re going to need both an introduction and a conclusion, and for 12 markers you’ll also need a conclusion (I think this is correct..?), and in the conclusion you need to give your own opinion and evaluate using the evidence you’ve just talked about. It’s really imporatnt you land on a judgement, and you can do this by saying which out of the three/four things you’ve talked about are the most important or significant.

After every piece of evidence you give, you need to say why this is important/ significant. If you write a sentence about the buffalo being shot off of trains as a factor of the Indians’ lifestyle being destroyed, you need to explain why this is a big deal. I used to never do this because I thought it sounded clunky, but literally just write something along the lines of, ‘this is important because the Indians used the buffalo for everything, including food, so the decline in buffalo numbers would also lead to Indians dying from a lack of food’

At the end of each paragraph, refer back to the question. This was where most of my marks were dropped, and it’s so easy to gain these. You’ve made your point, you’ve used your evidence, you’ve explained it’s importance and now all you need to do is refer it back to the original question. a simple ‘This ultimately shows how the white people were destroying the Indian lifestyle because they were actively targeting their main food source, which would mean the Indians either had to adopt the white lifestyle or die’ ties up your point so you can move onto your next paragraph. In the words of my current history teacher, ‘answer the bloody question’.

For questions where you’re already given information to use, you need to include at least one of your own points or your marks get capped at around half, I think, even if your evidence is fantastic. If you’re given a point you’ve literally never heard of before or you’re not that confident on, you don’t have to write about it, but you now have to have two of your own points, because you still have to include your own info as if you used that point. If you get me.

If you turn the page to a question and you’ve got absolutely no idea, don’t panic, because your exam technique could still save you. It’s easy to just scribble down any old thing and move on, or worse, not answer it at all, but make sure you still have an introduction and a conclusion (if that essay requires one) and the evidence you do use, however tenuous, is still back up by ‘this is significant because..’ and ‘this meant that…’ and you still answer the question.

Literally my biggest tip for history is do the paper backwards. Start with the question worth the most amount of marks and finish the question worth the least. You don’t have enough time to be spending twenty minutes on an eight mark question, and it’s so important that you at least have a go at every question because it’s not fair on yourself if you miss out a twelve mark question because you didn’t time it well enough. In my march mock, I got a 6 in history because i messed up my timings by doing the papers chronologically, which meant my big sixteen markers really suffered.

If you’re really, really short on time and you know you’re not going to finish a question (especially if it’s big one), you can write in bullet points, but be aware that you won’t get as many marks here as you would had you written in full sentences. If you’re got a few minutes of a 16/12 marker left, it’s better to write your conclusion in full sentences, and your last paragraph in bullet points, but still make sure you say why the evidence is important, no matter how succinct.

What merges both your content and your exam technique together is, you guessed it, exam questions. We got a big booklet of these and I did try to do about one of these a week, but if you’re short on time essay plans are always useful. What’s really important, though, is that you get your teacher to mark them, because there’s no point having a pile of essays at home that haven’t been corrected, so you know where you’re going wrong.


Geography:

Aiming for grade 5/6+:

Not gonna lie, geography was my least priority subject. I didn't want to take it for a-level and I never found it particularly difficult, either, so I didn't spend a whole lot of time revising geography. However, my teacher was great and set us a load of homework every week, so I did do quite a lot of geography in year 11, but not a lot of it was actual revision. If you get me.

Geography is another one of those ’swallow a textbook whole and regurgitate it in the exam hall subjects’, so I went for the classic Meghan approach of making mindmaps, then flashcards

. i especially put emphasis on the case studies- you need to know these upside down inside out, particularly the big two practical ones on your paper 3 exam. for these ones, our teacher made us put together two a3 sheets with hypothesis, results, evaluation etc. on it, and i made each section into, you guessed it, a flashcard, and put the a3 sheets above my bed.

my number one geography tip in two words: case studies. Learn these badboys like they’re you’re own family.

exam technique is also quite crucial in the higher mark questions, and the best tip is to just practice. our teacher was great at giving us exam question after exam question until we were all constantly hitting the higher band, but i also bought a workbook to use. geography is another subject where it’s hard to mark the longer questions yourself, so i was always getting my teacher to mark question after question, but she didn’t seem to mind. shoutout to Vicky B- you were awesome.

apart from that, there’s not much else i can say about geography apart from use past papers as often as you can. geography is a subject where you an really revise any way that works best for you, so definitely try out a few methods and maybe combine them.












Aiming for grade 4/5: (the 5 steps to getting a 5)

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Unless you want to take a level geography or it’s your favourite subject, geography always seems to get cast aside and not very many people revise for it. personally, i did, though i can understand why some people didn’t when their main priorities are english and maths.

so this part is for you: the comprehensive guide to getting a 4/5 in geography the night/ week/ month before the exam:

step 1: case studies

the case study questions are probably going to be between 4-9 marks, so if you’ve got these nailed you’ll quickly wrack up marks, so learn them. and i’m not just talking knowing what a hurricane katrina is, i’m talking you need to specifically know the impacts and responses. these are more likely to be asked in a question, so make sure you can not only name at least three, but you can also categorise them into long term and short term, and social, environmental and economical. facts are also good. for example, if we refer back to hurricane katrina, you want to learn between 3-5 facts. here, the date, death/ injury toll, wind speed, cost and direction of the storm would be very useful, not just to answer specific questions, but to throw into the bigger questions, to show the examiner you know what you’re on about. case studies are especially important for paper 3; if you’ve only got time to revise a few, learn the big ones for your paper 3 exam (these are the ones where you actually went on a trip and did an investigation, like the beach or the city). Paper 3 is about 50% case study, so if you don’t know your big case studies, you’re pretty much screwed. if you have a revision guide, it will help you greatly here, for all 3 papers because they have all the case studies you’ll ever need ready to go.

step 2: the mark schemes of the case studies

the new gcse geography mark scheme for the longer questions are broken down into tiers before individual marks are given: simple, clear and detailed. look at examiners reports or mark schemes to learn what you need to do to get into the top band, and make sure you can replicate it. To hit those 7-9 marks, you’ll need to be able to frequently link between your own knowledge and the question, as well as using key terminology.

step 3: grammar

for the 9 markers specifically, you get awarded 3 points on SPaG, so if you’re naturally good at grammar, you’re covered here and these should be easy marks. You’re probably not going to be able to correct every inch of your bad grammar in one night, so focus on long words that you could spell wrong, and getting those right in the exam might excuse a missing comma. If you’re not, perhaps brush up on spelling key words or using the actual paper to help you. if you’re stuck spelling “Philippines” the paper might already have it written down somewhere. i’m pretty sure SPaG marks are also awarded for technical vocabulary (don’t quote me on that), so if you can use words like “desertification” or something when talking about your case study, you might be able to compensate for a few spellings here and there.

step 4: maths skills

you don’t need to be a mathematical genius for this. you need to know how to read and then talk about graphs and occasionally how to plot them. basic map skills also come under this, such as being able to read coordinates or cholorpleth maps (sounds a lot more complicated than there are) and things like that. knowing these will hopefully get you a few more marks under you belt and push you closer towards the passing grade boundary.

step 5: general knowledge

i always think geography is easier than history, and i think that’s mainly because you can apply common sense to a geography exam which you can’t really do in history. put it this way: you’re more likely to talk about climate change with someone than you are Thomas Wolsey, so can probably pick up a few marks on what you know already. There’s little bits of geography that crop up in the sciences, so you probably know a few bits about deforestation or urbanisation from either your other lessons or just from listening to the news, and you can probably coast (haha, gettit?) your way through the rest. Geography papers aren’t tiered anymore, which means that the questions need to be accessible for all abilities. they’ll definitely be some easy one markers to pick up, which, coupled with the case studies and practical questions, should help to bag you a C. maybe. don’t quote me on that one.













Motivation:


I’ve put this at the end because it’s the one thing i can’t give you. i can help you to find it, but i can’t hand you a burning desire to study on a silver platter; you have to find that yourself. and it’s hard, i know it’s hard when everyone’s screaming at you to revise and you barely have the motivation to breathe, but i’m living proof you can find your motivation and crawl out the deep dark hole of netflix binges.

i think motivation is the hardest part of revision that no one talks about. it doesn’t matter if you’re in all top sets, it doesn’t matter if you can access abundance of revision resources, because if you don’t have motivation, you’re not going to perform as well as you hoped. and it’s the hardest part because it comes from within- you either have it or you don’t and it’s hard to suddenly gain motivation when you’ve lived for so long in the dark.

i guess the obvious would be to think long term- do you want to go to university? college? dream job?- and work towards your goal of having a degree, being able to support a family etc in ten years or so. If you want to get into Cambridge (or is it Oxford that are really snobby about GCSEs? I’m pretty sure both want A*s anyway), print out a nice big colour picture of Cambridge uni and slap it above your desk.

The whole uni/careers thing wasn’t such a motivator because i think i want to be an author and you don’t need any qualifications for that. But, honestly, this rarely worked for me, because i knew i would pass- and it seems arrogant which it is, but i knew that with minimal revision i could pass with 5s and 6s. And that was where my motivation came from, because i didn’t need to get all 9s or whatever, but i wanted them, just to prove that, yeah, i could do it.

although some would argue that short term motivation is pointless, sometimes you just need a reward to get you through that gruelling session, day, week… (year)

gcses didn’t make me feel half as good as i thought they would, but that’s just my personal experience. i didn’t mean for this to become a sob story, but this is how i felt, and i feel like it would be dishonest to not include it.




there are people who are adamant that the secret to doing well is to find a way to enjoy the content you’re learning, while i disagree. You just have to do it, man. You just have to dedicate three months of your life to learning a bunch of facts you’ll never need again before you can enjoy a summer equal in length. there is no secret: there’s just motivation and determination. There’s just you, your notes and the internet, and you need to choose which one you’re gonna go for.


And, finally, we come reach the end. I hope it wasn't too overwhelming and i wacked in a load of spoiler tabs so you can only read the bits that are relevenat to you.

Thank you for your time, and i hope i was able to help, even in the slightest. All the best, good luck, bonne chance, you got this!



please don’t hesitate to ask me any questions; i’m always happy to help. also i don’t have much of a life (as you can probably tell) so i’ll almost definitely reply.

also huge props to @Joshiee for not only inspiring this, but for making the original and helping loads of people. you can find it here.

https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=4298480
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won.of.a.kind
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Sorry its very long u might wanna get a cup of tea and a seat lol...
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Thank you so muchhhh must of took u agesssss x , Ah lol its okay no worriessss x Are you Year 12 ?

(Original post by won.of.a.kind)
Sorry its very long u might wanna get a cup of tea and a seat lol...
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Yeah hi sorry no i'm am not I am year 11. Umm yeah so I only wrote the first part the massive chunk was written by troubletracking so most of the credit goes to her and she is in year 12. Glad it could help you !!! Good luck !
(Original post by xperix)
Thank you so muchhhh must of took u agesssss x , Ah lol its okay no worriessss x Are you Year 12 ?
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Oh oopsies x , Thank you still , How is revision going ?
(Original post by won.of.a.kind)
Yeah hi sorry no i'm am not I am year 11. Umm yeah so I only wrote the first part the massive chunk was written by troubletracking so most of the credit goes to her and she is in year 12. Glad it could help you !!! Good luck !
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Haha lol its going ok I guess I'm still doing really well - but procrastination is a problem lol I procrastinate a lot even though I am motivated to do well and revise I just never quite get round to it :eek: ......
(Original post by xperix)
Oh oopsies x , Thank you still , How is revision going ?
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That’s exactly like me mate
(Original post by won.of.a.kind)
Haha lol its going ok I guess I'm still doing really well - but procrastination is a problem lol I procrastinate a lot even though I am motivated to do well and revise I just never quite get round to it :eek: ......
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lmao
(Original post by Lilllyyyy3)
That’s exactly like me mate
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We have a thread here for Business Studies GCSE Edexcel - https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho...post&t=5719966

I created quite a few resources too (which is also linked to in the thread above) -

From March onwards, here are 5 questions daily on Theme 1 and Theme 2 until the date of the Paper 2 exam - https://getrevising.co.uk/files/docu...%20a%20day.pdf

Practice paper 1: https://getrevising.co.uk/files/docu...p1%20prac..pdf

Practice paper 2: https://getrevising.co.uk/files/docu...0paper%202.pdf

Theme 1 revision guide: https://getrevising.co.uk/files/docu...0Theme%201.pdf

I'm also in Year 11, doing Edexcel BS. Even after creating all of these resources I'm procrastinating and feeling like I'm going to do badly.
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HAHAHAHA everyone literally procasinating which is awful but you know always be positive
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(Original post by won.of.a.kind)
Sorry its very long u might wanna get a cup of tea and a seat lol...
Hey, are you troubletracking?
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Guys I got a grade 6 in my recent mocks but when it was January mocks I got a high 7
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No sorry - only wrote the first half I have given a lot of revision information on other forums but this (linked ) is troubletracking she takes most of the credit - troubletracking
(Original post by Tolgarda)
Hey, are you troubletracking?
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the link isn't working


(Original post by won.of.a.kind)
Hiiii this is my advice:

Big post


Anyway here are some tips for sitting the actual exam :

English lang and lit - divide your time up into sections a 20 mark question should roughly take you 20-minutes to half an hour to complete fully - likewise with a 40 mark question for something like a narrative or descriptive piece I recommend spending most of you time doing this (50 mins) and checking grammar as that is where most of the marks are....

Maths - start the paper normally then when you get halfway through the paper exactly (i.e. where the staple marks are) swap and work backwards towards the middle - this method works very well as they always finish their papers with harder and higher marking questions - this means you can use your time wisely to maximise the marks you would get

Sciences - past papers are key - the questions are almost ALWAYS the same. When you do the papers make sure to read the mark scheme thoroughly & analyse them so you know what specific words and phrases you have to get marks for this saves oodles of time in the exam.
Lastly in the exam always check how many marks you get for that question - no of marks = number of points that need to be made. If you have no idea ALWAYS TRY TO ANSWER THE QUESTION based on pre-existing knowledge.
For physics you can also make risqué / x-rated phrases to remember the formulas for - this is a VERY fun thing to do with friends ...

Language - watching and reading books and films In that language is a fun and efficient way of learning that language. I watch youtubers in the language i'm studying - you will notice that they will repeat a certain iconic but useful phrase that you could use in your exam. In addition Recording native speaker will help with pronunciation and recording yourself and listening will help you to prepare answers for questions. Lastly in the actual exam always leave 10-15 mins at the end to check grammar and SPAG.

Other - Coursework based subjects are relaxation from test based subjects so be sure to do these in your break - many find them more fun and relaxing to complete

General - If you ever feel stressed or unsure of what to do in an exam - ask to go to the loo splash water on your face, excrete do whatever you need to do to get yo' stressed out head back in the game. This helps me a lot because when you enter that room afresh so are your thoughts.

Lastly good luck !! From one GCSE student to another spend less time online and more time revising or sleeping - Remember that whilst GCSE's are important A-levels are more so don't sweat it !!



This is from a better and another source (troubletracking takes all the credit):

How I (somehow) managed to get all 8/9s in my GCSEs
Just a side note: apparently, I like to talk a lot. this post is huge. maybe get a cup of tea and some biscuits. sorry.



Hey, my name’s Meghan, and I sat 8 of my 9 GCSEs this year (2018) and 1 the previous year (2017) and, somehow, managed to get 5 9s (AQA English Literature, AQA English Language, Edexcel History, AQA Geography, AQA Biology and 4 8s (Edexcel Maths, AQA Chemistry, AQA Physics and AQA French). These aren’t the best grades in the country, and I didn’t have that many subjects to study compared to other people which probably really helped, but I’d been approached by a few people asking how I did it, so here we go guys and gals.

Okay, so basically I received a couple of PMs asking for advice on how I revised for my GCSEs, and the resulting messages were too long to send, so I thought I’d merge everything together and just create one long ass post. Maybe this will help some other people too. I’m also very aware I’m gonna read this back in a few days and hate how I’ve worded some things because I sound like an absolute ass, so please imagine I’m saying everything with a slightly sarcastic tone and a genuine smile, just to clear up any misinterpretations before we begin.

I’ve seen one of these badboys before, which I read in year 10, before I’d even joined TSR, and it was really motivational and helpful, so perhaps this might come in useful to a few people. Also a quick disclaimer that what worked for me might not necessarily work for you, and that I’m not making this to feed my ego, because there are probably better forums I could turn to brag when TSR is filled with maths prodigies and chemistry geniuses who could easily overshadow whatever I’m trying to say.


A cheeky bit of background info:


I was predicted mostly 7/8s, and my high school was neither a grammar school nor a private school, though it was (and still is) rated Good by Ofsted. I also didn’t pay for tutors, although I came pretty close to getting a maths tutor. Obviously, I’m not saying these things to undermine anyone who did use these, but rather as a way to show that you can still achieve what you want to achieve without having access to certain services.

Revision is a very personal thing, and what works for one person might not work for another. I would also like to say that success is relative, and what I may perceive to be success might not be the same as what you perceive to be success, and that’s okay, because we all have our own different expectations of ourselves.

So, uh, let’s get to it.


Organisation:


Listen y’all, someone once told me that effective revision is organised revision, and they were damn right too. You won’t revise effectively if you don’t know when and want to revise, have notes all over the place and leave everything till last minute. This is where organisation comes it, otherwise known as productively procrastinating revision because, let’s face it, who doesn’t love kidding themselves into thinking they’re revising by reorganising their chemistry folder?

The truth is, organisation doesn’t mean pastel highlighters and a bullet journal. Organisation means you know where your things are and you know what time you have and what you’re going to do in that time. Whatever that means for you is organised, whether or not that includes zebra mildliners and a cute planner.

Organise yo’ things:

I personally had a ring binder for each of my subjects, with the specification printed out in colour at the front (rip my daily printer allowance), followed by all of my revision notes, and then practice/past papers at the back. I also had a massive A1 yearly calendar above my desk where I put my exams on, but also days where I’d be doing things or going on holiday and stuff, as a way to have things to look forward to. If you feel the need to go out and buy funky stationery, you do that, but there isn’t really a need to if that ain’t your thing. Organisation was probably my biggest form of procrastination that didn’t involve the internet, so don’t spend all your time faffing with dividers because it’s not really getting you anywhere.

Something that really did help me, though, was making sure my room, specifically my desk, was tidy at the end of each day. I’m an inherently messy person, but I found that the state of my bedroom really affects my levels of productivity. If it’s an absolute tip, I’m not going to want to do anything, so I dedicated my Sunday evenings to set my bedroom back to neutral for the start of the new week. I’d find that on times where I hadn’t tidied my bedroom and I went into the new week with a messy space, I was a lot more disorganised and unproductive, and it set my week off on a bad note.

Organise yo’self:

If I could go back and do high school again, I’d make sure I did my homework the day it got set. I’ve always been disorganised to the point I’m an absolute mess but it’s lowkey enough so that no one knows I’m an actual wreck apart from my closest friends, so year 11 was a bit of a wake up call to get my act together, especially with homework. I remember doing my maths homework in the lesson it was due in year 8, and I spent way too many form periods doing homework that I should’ve done days ago. Therefore, at the start of year 11, I vowed to do my homework when I got it and it was, eh, about 50% successful. I still did my geography homework late Sunday night and failed to pluck up the courage to do my maths before the night it was due (I used to dread Wednesday nights so much omg because the maths was due Thursday. But it did help massively (despite my inherent laziness), and I would urge you to do the same, although hopefully you’ll be a bit more successful than me. Thank god I never have to do maths homework again *shivers*

As another way to organise your time, I do think it’s important to say how you’re probably not going to be able to spend the same amount of time for each of your subjects, and because of that, you’re going to need to prioritise. You could do this by solely focussing on English Language and Maths if they’re the only ones you need to get to the next step of your life. Or perhaps you just want to focus on five (including English and Maths- if you’re only going to pass two, please make it these ones) and sod all the others to dedicate your time to getting what you need to get into where you want to go. Alternatively, you might focus on the subjects you want to take for a-level to make sure you’ll get on the course and so you understand what’s going on when you do. What I did was focus on my weaknesses, so I spent a hell of a lot of time doing science revision, while I didn’t do so much geography because it really wasn’t a priority.

What you’re all here for:

Now for the big question: when did I start revising? And, more importantly, when should you start revising? I’m sorry to say this, but I don’t actually know when I did start, as silly as it sounds. I can’t remember there ever being a turning point from no revision to ALL THE REVISION, because it just seemed so gradual. I guess revision technically started in October if you count when I started doing work outside of homework. Put down your machine guns, my friends, because that doesn’t mean I whipped out the past papers in October or did eight hour-long sessions, but I think, for me, revision was a gradual process. I stared in October time because my mocks were in November, and then I picked it up again around February half term because I had march mocks, and by the time they were over I entered MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE and hit it hard until the end of exam season. There’s no magic formula, there’s just being able to figure out what works for you and not getting stressed when your friend’s doing something else. You just need to understand that everyone works at their own pace and just cos your mate’s already doing eight hour sessions in September doesn’t mean you need to.

However, something I did do throughout year eleven which I think really contributed to my grades was to not measure my productivity by hours, but by things done. Personally, I just think measuring productivity by hours isn’t particularly helpful, and if you’re into the ‘study community’ you’ll know of the infamous 15+ hour 'study with me's that float around the internet, and they give off the impression that the more hours you spend working, the more productive you’re being and, therefore, you should spend every waking moment studying. Newsflash: none of that is true, and because of this, I think it’s much more helpful for both yourself and your productivity to measure how much work you’ve done by how many things you’ve done. I might be only working for four hours, but if I’ve ticked off everything on my to do list, then I've been productive. And vice versa: even if I've been sat at my desk for six hours, if I've only done one small thing I can't kid myself into thinking I've been productive.

You don’t (always) need Excel to excel:

Spoiler: revision timetables might not work for everyone. There, I said it. Throw me into the fire. It gets to that point in the year where everyone’s throwing templates at you for revision timetables or sending you Excel spreadsheet links and you think, right, time to get my life together, let’s make a timetable. It’s easy to cram it full with hours and hours of work in the hopes that it’ll really get you into gear, but most people fail to revise for four hours straight with no breaks, and very few can do more than six to eight hours of revision in a day. Because of this, don’t cram that sucker full of coloured boxes coordinating with each of your subjects. Factor in breaks, hobbies, rest, sleep, jobs, and then put schoolwork in around that.

For some people, they do work really effectively, but personally, it wasn’t for me. I didn’t like how tight the time restraints were: If I’d put down I’d start Chemistry at 9am and I didn’t start until 9:17, I’d immediately feel like a failure and that my whole day was out of whack. Because of this, I found I work better with daily to-do lists, where I have the same things to do as I did on a timetable but without the time constraints so I could do things at my own pace and not stress about feeling like a failure if I started work at noon.

If you’re struggling with how to go about making a revision timetable, I found this video and this video very helpful.

The important thing here is not to feel guilty or bad if you say you’re going to start revising history at 10:00 but start at 10:30. You’re doing fine. In a year you won’t remember this. As long as you get something done, it’s really not a problem.

Finding Yo self:

Revision is like a spiritual journey: you gotta find yo self. For many people in year 11, this might be the first time you’ve actually seriously revised ever, and, if you’re not a natural born genius, you probably can’t coast your way through GCSEs and expect 8s and 9s, so a good place to start learning is to find out how you learn best. You could go for your bog standard ‘Which learner am I?’ quiz, or just do the whole trial-and-error thing with a bunch of different methods. I know I learn best through writing things down over and over again, so the main bulk of my revising was writing notes to turn into mind maps to turn into flashcards in order to do practice papers from.

Here’s an impromptu list of techniques you could try out:

Writing notes:
Spoiler:
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Handwritten notes are, for me, the way to go. I find they stick better in my head because it’s easier to engage with the content as opposed to mindlessly typing them into a Word document. However, if you have particularly unreadable handwriting or you want to print them out to annotate them, computerised notes might be better, and they also do save a lot of time. Make sure your note taking isn’t just you copying out the revision guide, only this time complete with calligraphy and muji fineliners. There’s literally no point in doing that.
To make effective notes, reword them or add new information using external resources (like, maybe use a combination of your class notes and the revision guide). Putting them into your own words practically forces you to understand it before you can jiggle the sentence around, and you’re more likely to remember something if you understand it. If you learn by listening, maybe reword them and record yourself back saying them instead of rewriting them.



Practice questions:
Spoiler:
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Probably the best way to revise for subjects which test you on applied knowledge, and not just the knowledge itself (maths, physics, english language, probably literally every subject ever), but should probably do some practice questions for each of your subjects. An easy way to do this is just to buy a revision workbook, or you can google ‘GCSE 9-1 AQA biology worksheets’ and have a dig through all the teacher resource websites until you find something (literally spent most of year 10 lurking round TES for English lang practice questions). If the 2018 AQA science papers are anything to go by, yikes, y’all better start applying that **** to lettuce leaves from the get go.








Practice papers:
Spoiler:
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Look, I know what you’re thinking: you’re on the new spec, there’s hardly any out there, you can’t do any of the old spec papers. Seven of my nine exams were the first to do the new 9-1 specification, and, although the resources were limited, a little bit of digging on the AQA website was all it took to find a specimen paper.

For some subjects,you can use the old spec papers. Use the old spec papers for maths and sciences, although they'll likely miss out some things, which you'll need to do in a wokrbook separetely. They can change how they ask the questions, but they can’t change the fact enzymes are biological catalysts. The main issue with older papers (particularly science) is that the topics aren’t grouped in the same way they are now, so an A*-G paper 1 won’t have the same topics as a 9-1 paper 1 will have, if you get me.

Don’t use the older stuff for things like English Language though: the question style has completely changed and you’ll end up with perfect A*-G technique and non existent 9-1 exam technique. CGP do sell practice papers for around £5 for two sets on Amazon, which I bought for some of my subjects like english language, where there weren’t many papers online.








Revision Guides:
Spoiler:
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It’s safe to say that I went a bit overboard on revision guides and workbooks, buying a guide and a workbook for each subject, only to realise for most i only used one. If you’re stuck between a workbook and a revision guide, definitely get the workbook.I would recommend you only get a revision guide if you don’t have a very good teacher, you really don’t know what’s going on, or you haven’t taken understandable notes. If your notes are fine and you understand the topic, just buy a workbook. Workbooks have practice questions which test you and force you to learn, which is far more productive than highlighting a revision guide. Don’t do that.

I used revision guides most for the sciences, and history (although the CGP history one wasn’t that detailed and didn’t have Henry VIII in it), and didn’t ever really use my maths revision guide (need to hear it being explained rather than just reading it for me to understand what’s going on) or my French one. I used workbooks most for maths, English language and I did use them pretty frequently for the sciences. I didn’t have a geography workbook, but my teacher printed us off pages for us to do practically every week, and it turned out to be pretty useful in the end. Controversial, but if you’re aiming for about a 6/7 in English lit, I wouldn’t bother buying the text guides because I found the points to be pretty basic and not very well deveoloped, but by all means try them out and see if they work for you.








Youtube:
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If you’re a visual or an auditory learner, revision through youtube is a great way to learn, and was my main source of revision for english and science. It’s free, and there’s hundreds of videos out there, particularly for maths, the sciences and English. The people running them are teachers so they do know what they’re on about and are great if you don’t understand something.

English:

Mr Bruff (all hail king bruffsy)
Mr Salles
The English Teacher
Mrs Whelan's English

Science:

Primrose Kitten
Christopher Thornton
Freescience lessons
Science with Hazel

Maths:

Hegarty maths
Corbettmaths
Mr Elhassan
DrFrostMaths

History:

Mr Allsop HIstory
Ben Newmark

Just discovered I’m Stuck- GCSE Revision and omg where was this when I needed it? There’s literally every subject not there, and if you do History VIII for history do check it out because NO ONE does Henry

I would like to add that this using this method to revise is particularly dangerous, especially to someone like myself who is easily distracted and a master at convincing myself I’m revising when I’m really not. Be strict on yourself, and don’t kid yourself into thinking that watching stationery haul videos count as revising. Spoiler: they don’t. You can download an app called SelfControl on the computer which literally blocks you from going on certain sites for an amount of time- and I mean blocks you. You can’t even uninstall the app to check Tumblr again, you have to wait it out.

Another side of YouTube is the ’studytube’ community, which kinda has mixed reviews. Some found it very helpful, myself included- particularly in year ten, but it can easily become very overwhelming and unrealistic. I used to find it really helpful for motivation, but near exam season it just stressed me out further so I distanced myself from it all. That said, there is some really helpful advice on there.






Flashcards:
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Call me biased, but if you’re a visual/ kinaesthetic learner, these are the way to go- for me, personally, anyway. Flashcards are great because they strengthen quick recall for small bits of information, such as equations, key words or vocabulary. You can get premade ones online, download an app like Quizlet and do/ make them online, or you can write them yourself. I find that by just writing them out, I’ve learnt around 1/4 of the pack, so I made my own flashcards for all subjects apart from French, because I couldn’t be bothered making and carting around 2000 flashcards.
Whether you make them on your phone or you make physical ones, you can take them with you and whip them out whenever you have a spare moment instead of scrolling through twitter. I pretty much always had a cheeky pack of flashcards in my blazer, just to whip out if I had a spare moment waiting for the bus or something.





Teaching others:

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My geography teacher was adamant about this method, and said it was the best way to learn and remember information, and she was probably correct. There’s this graph that’d make an appearance literally ever assembly in the run up to exams that you’ve probably seen, and it said how you retain 10% of information you read, but 90% of the information you teach. You actually have to understand the content to be able to teach it, and if you understand it you’re going to subconsciously reword your notes while you’re teaching.
So, you know, teach your mum about enzymes and your dog about the Nuremberg Laws- who ever’ll listen. An engaging audience will further help you because hopefully they’ll ask questions (no shade to your dog but that’s probably not his forte), and you’ll need to really understand the topic to answer them. Not gonna lie, this was a method I never did use, but I’m starting to wish I did as it’s really helpful in getting yourself to learn complex processes in the sciences, for example.





Mindmaps:
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A popular method for humanities, mindmaps are a great alternative to flashcards or other visual prompts. Put your topic in the middle of the page, and arrange your notes in a way that is easy to follow and understand. Making them colourful and adding drawingswould help visual leaners, while auditory learners would benefit from going around the mindmap and reading out the notes. You could use a mindmap sort of like a giant flashcard, and go around it and learn the information, then getting someone else to test you on it (though I couldn’t be bothered to do this).
Mindmaps are also a good way to condense information to its most basic form by starting with an a3 piece and gradually making the paper smaller until you can fit only the most important bits on a flashcard. Mindmaps were the reason my history grade was what it was, but I also used them in english lit, geography and even sciences. Please just don’t write OSMOSIS in beautiful colourful letters and only have enough room and time to write two sentences, though.




Recording yourself:

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This is for you auditory folk: record yourself reading out your notes and listen to it every waking moment of every waking day.
When you’re doing flashcards, read them out. The same goes with notes. You’re engaging both the visual and aural parts of your brain, so it should help more than just reading it in your head.




Apps:
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There’s some great apps out there to aid studying, and apps were one of the main ways I got some revision done because lmao I don’t go anywhere without the reassurance of my favourite hunk of glass and metal pressing comfortably against my leg.

Quizlet and Memrise are your obvious choices: both are flashcard apps that you can use for anything, but I only used Memrise for French and Quizlet for everything else. I find Quizlet is a lot more personal to you, whereas I just used the pre-made AQA vocab sets for French on Memrise.

Temple GCSE is excellent for GCSE Science, economics and languages (think it only does Spanish and French tho) though I’m pretty sure it’s still the old spec, which I guess you can get away with for science and languages. The more questions you answer, the bigger your tower for that subject gets, so if you’re motivated by completing games, it might be something to check out.

Speaking of languages, Duolingo is an obvious reccomndation. It doesn’t learn you to the spec like learning the vocab list would, but gives you a well rounded knowledge of your language. I was in a Duolingo group where we motivated each other (kinda fell apart by January but the effort was there), so if you’re competetive and motivated by streaks then it might be a good one to try.

Drops is also a language app, but unlike Duolingo that teaches you sentences and grammar, Drops only does vocabulary. It’s a very visual approach to a language, so if you’re struggling and find other language apps too wordy, then this might be a good one to use, though i doubt just using this as your sole resource of language revision will get you those top grades.

Exam Countdown is an app that does what it says on the tin, really, and I kid you not I imported the dates for all my exams literally over Summer (2017), although they were provisional. So if you’re doing your exams in 2019, you can find your exam dates now, although they are subject to change at the moment. For me, having tangible proof that my exams were getting nearer and nearer really helped motivate me, as a lot of my motivation came from me being stressed into revising, which wasn’t the most healthy way of going about it. That aside, just knowing when your exams are and knowing what to prioritise is really helpful, and you can also see how long you’ve got left until your last exam when it’s all over, so that’s always a plus.




Music:
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This isn’t a way to revise, per say, but more so a way to *maybe* help retain information. Basically, studies show that you shouldn’t listen to music whilest studying because it’s distracting and all this other stuff about complex neuroscience, but, for me, it makes revision 10x more enjoyable, so I listen to music anyway. I’m easily distracted and I hate silence, so I find that music satiates the restless part of my brain and provides background noise that’s less distracting than silence.

Half way through year 10 I had this idea: I often do this thing where I associate certain songs with certain periods of my life or memories because I was listening to those songs during that time. When I come to listen to that album again, I’m reminded of a certain month or a certain memory. So I did this with revison and assigned each subject a different album to lisen to while doing that subject.

Each album had to follow these rules: I had to have never listened to it before, only listen to while while revising and use contrasting albums for similiar subjects.

I’m gonna be honest and say that around February time I gave up and just listened to what I wanted to during revision, but the one subject where I properly only listened to the album right up to the exam was English Language, and I’m not sure how effective it was. Listening to the album on the morning of the exam easily reminded me of revising the subject, but not so much the actual content. I don’t know if it would work differently for more content heavy subjects like history or something, but perhaps this wasn’t a massive success.







Sleep:

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This is not a way to revise (although I wish it was lmao), but in year 11 I realised just how important it was, so I’ve given it it’s own section.

The reason you need at least a semi-decent night’s sleep is because you need to have energy left in you to revise when you get home. And it’s obvious, yeah, but in year 10 I could barely keep my eyes open at 5pm, so just don’t be me. Screw all the health benefits, because if you really cared about them over Netflix, you wouldn’t go to sleep so late. Sleep well so you can still work when you get home. School is bloody draining, and getting 6+ hours of sleep is going to give you the stamina to keep working. Not late, not relentlessly, but productively. You need to be awake enough to take in information.

The average (and I stress average, because everybody’s different) sleep cycle is 90 minutes long, and the reason you feel like you’ve been hit by a truck after a full night’s rest is because you’ve woken up in the middle of a sleep cycle, when your sleep is deep. What you want is to wake up in between sleep cycles, when your sleep is the lightest. So, the solution is getting an amount of sleep that’s devisable by 1.5. Obviously, 9’s the ideal, but we can’t all fall asleep at 10, so 6 and 7.5’ll work too. It’s all a trial and error thing, but what pretty much every scientist seems to agree on is that getting up and going to sleep at the same day will work wonders for your productivity. Did I do this though? I’m writing this at 2am in September, so no.








Individual Subjects:


AQA English Language (2017):

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I did English language in year 10, which is probably the reason why I did so well. I’m naturally better at essay based subjects, so I would have put it at the bottom of my list had I done it in year 11 in order to focus on subjects I found harder, and I would 100% would not have got as good a grade because of that. Because it was the first exam I had ever done that mattered, I started revising on the 1st of May when my exams were on the 6th and 12th of June.

(literally written circa summer 2017 and shamelessly copied and pasted so don’t @ me)

I started out revising by filling in three pages of my workbook a night. The one iIused was by Pearson, the ones that are purple. I had a revision guide as well, but I only used that when i didn’t understand something. My teacher was amazing, so it wasn’t a matter of knowing what to do in the exam that was the problem, it was the problem of being able to do it, and, more importantly, being able to do it in the exam, under time conditions and pressure.

I then introduced Mr Bruff into my revision by watching his videos along side the workbook. I typed up the Frankenstein examples he provided and printed them out, then annotated them saying why he got top marks, and making sure I did the same in my practice questions.

The week before half term, 2-3 weeks before the exam, iImade my final revision resources. Knowing flashcards were my strong point, I made flashcards of techniques, structural and language, and put them on my wardrobe. Something I wanted to work on was a more advanced vocabulary, so I picked nine common positive words and nine common negative words and used google to find four more advanced synonyms. I put these on the window in front of my desk, but I soon made this technique more effective by making them into proper flashcards that I could take to school with me and actually learn, instead of look at. Within a week I had learnt them all.

For the final sprint, I made a timetable. I filled in the workbook for half an hour, followed by fifteen minutes of going through the vocabulary. I now started testing myself on spelling as well as whether i knew them or not. I watched a Mr bruff video, made notes, then attempted a corresponding timed question. I could only find one specimen paper online, so I bought some practice papers from amazon, and used the ones at the back of my workbook. No matter how desperate you are, DO NOT use the old spec questions. Step away from them. Don’t even think about it. Search on the internet, buy some off amazon, ask your teacher to write you some, ask your friends if they have any they can send you photos of, just please, for the love of god, don’t do the A*-G papers because in the real exam you’re gonna be hella confused when nothing is the same as it was when you did the old papers. Combining everything together, I had three full papers or six half papers. I aimed to do half a paper a day, which was really ambitious and I didn’t do that, but I still completed two full papers on my week off.

For me, section B was my weak point, as it could go either way, depending on the question. I preferred using Mr Salles for section B and mr bruff for section A, and I would, again, make notes and attempt a timed question. The biggest tip I have for paper one section b is to go in with an open mindset and prepare for both a narrative and a description. Yes, you may prefer to write a narrative and you might be better at it, but don’t only prepare for a narrative and think “I’m going to do a narrative”. You might find a narrative question hard to write about, and be unprepared to write a description. I normally go for a narrative, but a general rule i go by is that if I don’t have an immediate idea within around two minutes, I go for a description.

You only have 1hr and 45 minutes, and although that may seem a long time, it goes by so quickly and you don’t have time to be spending over a minute planning. Another tip for section B is to do the opposite of what everyone else is doing. You gain points for originality, so you want to go against the route thousands of others students will be taking. If you think the majority of students will disagree with the statement on keeping uniform or whatever, then agree to set you apart.

Another crucial part of any essay based exam is that you need to know the timings. My next tip may be controversial, and definitely won’t work for everyone, so perhaps try it out in a mock or something. If you work out the timings, you have 15 minutes to read the source(s) and make notes, but you can start writing as soon as you want to. For me, this was five miutes in because i like to write a lot and i can plan preetty quick, but my friend spent a good twenty minutes making a detailed plan for all her questions, so it's truly down to what works best for you. An english teacher once said that a brave candidate isn't someonw who starts writing straight away, but someone who plans for fifteen minutes, because it's easy to get swept up in the adrenaline rush and start scribbling away. Although i didn't plan much, i did plan something, and i think a plan is reall important because you now what you're on about i. i writeo one o f y answers without a plan and it felt a lot less organised that my ones wirtten with a plan.

English language is hard to revise for, and even harder to predict the outcome. I came out of both exams nearly crying, convinced i done poorly: i should have done a description, i hardly used any of my advanced vocabulary, did my story even fulfill the brief about two characters from different backgrounds? and paper two, i thought i’d lost half my marks in section b because i used the phrase “‘grinding’ upon members of the opposite sex” in a broadsheet newspaper article and messed up my formal tone. However, everything turned out alright in the end and it goes to show you can never predict the outcome of an exam.





AQA English Literature:
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English is probably the only subject I feel somewhat decent about dishing out advice to because I’d like to say it’s my best and it’s definitely my favourite. I studied An Inspector Calls, A Christmas Carol, Macbeth and Power and Conflict poetry, but I’m going to try and make this applicable to all texts. I’ve got a Macbeth post in the works so hopefully I’ll link that in here when I’ve (finally) got around to finishing that.

Gonna start from the start (duhh meghan), and recommend you read the books at least three times, which I don’t think’s too bad if it’s spaced over one or two years. Ideally you’d read it before you study it but I understand that’s not always possible, you read it while you study, I’d advise you to read it again over a holiday (maybe summer before year 11 or the Christmas holidays) and then read it for the final time nearer to your exam (I'm thinking easter holidays). This builds a strong timeline of the novel/play in your head, and knowing the sequence of events is really important for those AO1 marks. Something as simple as “later on in the play, in Act 3, we see..” shows the examiner you know the play well. You don’t have to just read it either- adaptations are also good ways of refreshing your knowledge of the play (do NOT reference these in your exams though, because some elements are diffenrent) and audiobooks are also nice to put on in the background while you’re cleaning or commuting or something.

As for the actual essay writing, I think it’s really important you know both where your marks are coming from and how long you have to get those marks. Knowing what AO1 is is different from knowing how to get those marks, so sometimes a structure is useful. I was never a fan of a structure myself, but our teacher recommended we use point (make your argument), method (what the author does), quote (an example of this method), explore (effect of this method and/ or connotations), theme (link back to the question), context (what the author is trying to say) and compare (link this to another part of the text; use another example). I do feel like English is a subject where there is no one right way to do things, so it’s all about playing around and seeing what works best.

In exams as long as these, it's really important you keep an eye on the time and don't get too carried away writing. I'd recommend you spend around 45 minutes on each section in paper 1, which still give you 15 minutes to plan and check. Paper 2 is a little trickier for timings because there's SO MUCH, but I'd suggest roughly 40 minutes for each section, and 15 minutes to both plan at the start and check at the end.

Tentative language is an absolute must. It shows the examiner there’s other interpretations out there, which is kind of the whole point of English literature, so the use of a simple word can change the whole band the examiner places you in. Instead of saying ‘and this shows…’, write ‘this could show’, which makes it a hell of a lot easier to bring in an alternative point. An alternative interpretation is basically your way of telling the examiner you’re aiming for those high grades and you’re able to look at the text from different angles, which is an important skill to have. Your alternative interpretation doesn't need to be as detailed as your first one; a simple sentence will do, but I’d recommend you have at least one alternative interpretation for each essay you do.

As for revision, I was such a big advocate of mindmaps (and deforestation, apparently). You’re going to be asked a question on either a theme or a character, so the best way to go about it is to make a list of all the main themes and character from each text, then make a mind map on each one. I’d have a few quotes around it, but each quote was explored in detail, so you eventually end up with a bank of key quotes that encompass multiple themes and characters. You can further go for it, by taking each quote and sticking it on a flashcard, and trying to recall the analysis from each quote. Not gonna lie, I only did this from a few of them but I did find it effective (still can reel off a load of ACC quotes I didn't even use grrr).

Once you know what you’re talking about, your next port of call is to whack out some essays and essay plans. Before you do this, make sure you don’t focus too much attention on the characters and themes that haven’t already been covered in previous years because chances are Ozymandias prolly isn’t going to make an appearance again in 2019 (but ya never know:dontknow: ). The most important part of this by far is to do them timed (if you can) and to get your teacher to mark them so you know where you're dropping marks. Doing an essay and not getting your teacher to mark it is like making a meringue and not holding it above your head,,,,,if you get me

For poetry, my biggest tip is to not learn all of them in detail because there’s no point. What is really important, however, is to make sure you know the context for every one of them (context is the one thing in English you can’t just make up), because you’re gonna need that no matter what poem comes up. Do make sure you know every poem at least briefly though- you’ll need two good quotes and a point on structure for each (#givestructurecredit because examiners are going to think highly of someone who doesn't just discuss language). Then, pick around five of the poems you know best that cover a range of themes- these will be your comparison poems. You’ll want to know these really well and make sure all of the poems compare to one of these. Something my English teacher said was that all poems can be compared to either Exposure or Kamikaze (apart from each other), and leaning them in pairs helps you to compare them from the beginning.






Edexcel Maths (2018):
(meg's guide to revisin maffs,,,, when u don't like maffs)

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Maths has forever been my weakness, so most of my time went towards maths, especially after my traumatic October half term test score, in which I got 13/40 and 24/40. And so, with the combined effort of my burning motivation and my wonderful teacher, I managed to secure an 8 by the end of the year.

It took me a few good months until I could confront the truth about maths: the only way to get better is to do it more. And I guess it’s surprising to say that I only realised this in like january, but I could learn biology just by going over flashcards, I could write an english essay just by knowing a few quotes.

But maths is different: you get it or you don’t, you can do it or you can’t, you’re gifted with the powers of our great lord pythagoras himself, or you’re not. And if you’re like me and can write an english essay blindfolded but still need to draw the claw thingys while expanding brackets, it’s not going to be easy. You’ve just got to do it again and again and again, but not until you get it right, until you don’t get it wrong. Youtube video after youtube video, practice question after practice question, exam paper after exam paper. And if you hate maths, it’s awful. It’s hard. You’d rather be eating glass right now.

But you don’t have a choice. There’s no excuses, no fancy frills you can hide behind when you revise for maths, because if you’re not doing maths, then you’re not revising maths.

I’d recommend you buy a workbook of some kind, and if you’re particularly mathematically inclined CGP do sell a grade 9 targeted one. If I didn’t understand something, I’d turn to youtube because I’m awkward and struggle to ask for help from my teacher, and because I found the best way for me to understand maths was through someone telling me what to do, as opposed to reading a book full of jargon I didn’t understand.

My main source of maths revision came from Hegarty Maths, which was a website my school gave us a code to use, and it literally saved my grades. It had every topic going with questions and videos explaining the questions, and if your school uses it definitely take advantage of it. I wish I’d used it more tbh, because I didn’t even complete half of it, and my teacher said that everyone who completed Hegarty Maths got a grade 9, so there’s your incentive to revise.

Past papers are also pretty golden, and here you can definitely take advantage of the old papers, although the set up might be a little different and there may be a few topics that don’t come up. After a while, you do start to realise that maths is very repetitive and a lot of the questions are recycled year after year, just with a few different numbers thrown in, and by the time you’re in the real exam it just kinda feels like another practice paper.

If you’re a wordy gal like myself you’re probably well acquainted with the feeling of digging out your year ten maths books to help you with a problem only to find page after page of numbers with no apparent meaning or correlation. The solution: write down all the examples the teacher gives you and annotate, preferably in a different colour, what is going on. Explain how to do the problem, so you end up with a handwritten revision guide of sorts that tells you how to do each type of question in vocabulary you understand.






Triple Science (2018):

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Apart from history, science was the subject I revised for most. A combination of there being masses and masses of content and my natural inability to understand what the hell was going on half the time led me to dedicate literal hours to subjects I despised and I probably took out half the Malaysian rainforest while I was at it. But, that said, I do think science is one of the easier subjects to revise, because there’s a lot of resources out there to help you.

The sciences were one of the only subjects that I wrote actual notes for, and I used a combination of my school notes and the CGP revision guides (mainly the latter) to make these. I also used MyGCSEScience, which is a subscription service that gives you access to videos off all the topics and worksheets to go alongside them. The first ‘unit’ is free, so, if you started science in year nine, you get those topics free. That being said, for double science, it’s like £25 and for triple £50 to have unlimited access to all his videos and worksheets and stuff, so it’s by no means cheap. I’m not sure if i’d recommend it to everyone, as you could find similar content for free elsewhere (coming thru shaun love ya xox), but if you’ve got a terrible teacher and you’re really uncertain on huge chunks, it’s a great resource. That said, the subscription ends in July regardless of when you buy it the day before your last physics exam or in November. This means that you shouldn’t buy it in year 10 because you’ll only have to buy it twice, and if you are going to get it, buy it in September to get the most value for money.

Flashcards were my saviour in science. I had pretty much one for every unit of all three sciences, and I made them just by going through the revision guide and making a bunch of simple question and answer cards with short bits of information on the back. I was always that friend who’d whip out some flashcards at lunch because they’re such easy ways to learn bits of important information, like definitions or steps of a otherwise complex process. I always wrote out my flashcards for everything apart from French because writing stuff down helps me remember, but Quizlet is great too.

Flashcards were also key to my grades because I used them to remember any equations, which are absolutely essential with the new GCSEs, especially in physics, which is 30% maths. I kid you not, in my November mock the only thing I did for physics was learn all the equations, and I came out with a 6, because once you know the equations you’re pretty much sorted with the maths questions. The main way I learned the equations were simply through making flashcards with ‘equation for charge’ on one side and ‘Charge= current x time’ on another, but mnemonics were something that I found really helpful. My friendship group learnt the equations collectively by coming up with unbelievably X-rated mnemonics for the physics equations that they were pretty much guaranteed to stay in my head, and I’d give you some examples but I’d probably get banned from TSR for life, but the more risqué, the better.

In the more wordy parts of science, so basically biology and some parts of chemistry and physics, I used mindmaps. I would probably have been more effective if I’d made the mindmaps before I made flashcards but basically I just condensed all my notes from one particular topic to fit onto an A3 sheet of paper, which both forces you to include the important bits and forces you to rewords the content, which you can only really do once you understand it.

For anything I didn’t understand (and believe me, there was a LOT), my go to source of revision was YouTube, because i find a lot easier to understand something when someone’s telling me it as opposed to just reading it. MyGCSEScience, FreeScienceLessons and Primrose Kitten were all really helpful in this aspect, but it’s important that while you’re watching the video, you also making notes because just sat there watching it is more passive than active and chances are you’re not gonna retain as much than if you had written the important points down.

Primrose Kitten also does these super helpful summary videos for literally every exam board going and summarise each unit of each science. They’re about fifteen minutes each and cover only the basic points, but they’re great as either a starting point before properly revising or as a refresher the night before an exam. Don’t just put them on in the background as you scroll through twitter though, it’s so important to pause the video and write things down which sounds so tedious but it really does help. All I did for my Chemistry paper 2 mock was watch every one of her AQA chemistry paper 2 videos and make notes, and i got a solid 7 on that paper, which goes to show how much you do retain if you write it down. That is, if writing things down is what makes you learn.

Now comes the worst bit: so you understand the content, you’ve learnt the content, now comes the final step. You need to learn how to apply the content. I’d really recommend you invest in a science workbook for each of the sciences, and simply work through it. The CGP ones are great because it tells you the grade of each question, which is really useful in working your way up to the harder questions and also lets you know the things you really want to nail if you’re after those 7s, 8s and 9s. But the most important part is that after you’ve done the questions, make sure you mark them and correct them. I think some of the CGP ones make you buy the mark scheme separately so try and get a book that includes a mark scheme at the back because correcting the ones you got wrong is how you’re going to get better.

Past, or practice, papers are so important in science because year after the year the examiners pretty much just copy and paste the same questions, with a few alterations and maybe a new diagram thrown in. I remember a teacher once telling us that if we just did past paper after past paper for revision, then we wouldn’t really need to understand the science nor even learn it, we’d just need to know it. We’d just need to know which order the words would have to be in in order the get the mark, as opposed to actually understanding the theory behind it. This method can be somewhat problematic in some ways, especially if you want to do science for a-level and I’m not sure whether it’s actually all that useful, but I do think the point still stands in that the more papers you do, the more you’ll be familiar with the types of questions they ask you. Our science papers were wildly different from the ‘what is osmosis?’ questions we went over in class, because we had to apply the information we’d learnt instead of just reeling it off, and I think if i’d done more preparation applying the content instead of just learning it, my science grades could’ve been the next grade up.


Languages:
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Although I did french, you can use these tips for any language. I split my language learning into two sections: vocabulary, and grammar and, for the most part, that was it.

My number one tip is to learn the vocabulary. If you’re going to do one thing, do that. I think the best way to do this is through flashcards and, although I’m normally an advocate for handwritten flashcards, I make an exception here because i really didn’t fancy carting around 2000 flashcards, so i made them electronically. There’s two main ways you can do this: through Memrise or through Quizlet, and they're both flashcard apps, though I used Memrise more because it was slightly more intuitive than quizlet, which is a lot more personalised.

Vocab is so damn important: you’ll need to recognise it in your reading paper, be able to understand it in your listening (another reason why I loved Memrise-it said the word to you), and most importantly, be able to use the vocab in your writing and speaking. I left my vocab learning a little two late and learnt roughly 1800 out of the 2000 in the vocab list, so I would literally start now. Just learnt five or ten words a day quickly builds up until you have a huge bank of words at your arsenal. Another way of improving vocab is an app called Drops, which is literally a really visual app that learns vocab as basic as numbers up to as niche as astronomy. This helps you build up a large general vocab because it’s really important you understand that you’re not going to understand every word in your reading and listening. You can learn the vocab, but there’s still gonna be words there you’ve come across, so further broadening your vocab decreases the chance of you stumblig across lots of words you’ve never seen in your life. Drops is really visual and simple to use, and is pretty suited to someone who’s a compete beginner at a language or someone who struggles with deciphering a load of words at once because it learns you through pictures.

I did a little fishing on Quizlet and managed to find some pre-made 9-1 German and Spanish vocab if you’re desperate:

https://quizlet.com/vampiremojo/folders/gcse-aqa-9-1-french]Frenchies[/url]
https://quizlet.com/class/5159741/]Spaniards[/url]
https://quizlet.com/class/1842991/]Germans[/url]

Your next step is to get your grammar in check, and I’m talking everything: tenses, irregulars, endings, the whole lot. There’s really no way around the fact that you’ll just have to do it again and again, and a good ol’ workbook is probably the answer here. in the beginning of year 10, I stuck pieces of paper onto my roof with the irregular endings to common irregulars such as être and avoir, and a few of them are still there because I moved my bedroom around and couldn’t take them down again.

Something I think is pretty handy to know, espeically if you want those higher gardes, is to learn a few fancy phrases and idioms to stick in your wirintg and speaking. These examples are all gonna be in French, but leanring a cheeky 'si j'étais riche', 'après avoir mangé' or 'quand j'étais jeune' to throw in there bumps up your marks a little, and is it even a french exam if you don't throw in a quick 'quel dommage!' at the end of your wiritng? Non.

Here's the usual speil about listening to French music, reading Italian articles and watching Spanish films because it does help you to get acccustomed with the langauge. I read somewere that reading your favourite childhood book from when you were 8-11 is supposed to really help with learning a langauge, so now I have a copy of the Hunger Games in French just chilling on my bookshelf

Here's a French spotify playlist I was particulary fond of, seeing as I can't link my own because my username is legit my full name lmao


History:
Spoiler:
Show

History is such a hard subject because there’s so much content to learn. And out of that content, it’s inevitable that only a fraction will be actually assessed, which is just lovely.

For the content, I made a mindmap for literally every single topic of every single unit and stuck it on my wall. I found it really useful because I was able to paraphrase my unnecessarily detailed notes into something that was easy to understand, and rewording it made it a lot easier to remember. In the centre of each mindmap, I’d have the topic and then I’d have smaller subtitles with information around each of them. For example, I might have written The Fall of Wolsey in the centre, then I’d write stuff like ‘the failed Annulment’ and ‘failed foreign policy’ and ‘failed domestic policies’ around it, with information on each coming out of it.

From mindmaps, I’d make flashcards, in which were basically each sub-topic of a mindmap, but condensed enough to fit only the key points on there. These were what I’d mainly use for revision, so I’d take them to school, have people test me and stuff like that. For each of my unit, I’d also make date flashcards. Dates aren’t actually necessary in any of the units apart from the second question of the depth study (the narrative account) where you have to put stuff in order. However, knowing dates is really important in getting marks for your specific factual detail, so I would advise you learn the key ones at the very minimum. There’s really no fun way around learning dates apart from standing in a circle and chanting them with your friends like you’re in a Galen-worshipping cult, but if you go over them enough times they really do stick. The stuff I remember now from GCSE are the things I learnt over a long period of time instead of cramming the night before (guilty as charged), and I do still remember a good chunk of the dates now, so start leaning them as you go along.

Something that I actually only did around half way through year 11 was make timelines because I thought they were pointless and a waste of wall space (wall space was something I’d rationed by february lmao). Yikes, was I wrong. Timelines are really helpful with your thematic study because you can clearly see the evolution of medicine (in my case), but also the sequence of events within each period. But I found them particularly helpful with units that aren’t taught completely in order and where there’s some overlap in dates, such as the American West and Henry VIII because then you can cleary see what happened when. For your depth studies like this, it’s even more helpful to colour code each topic- so I had a colour each for the Mormons, the Homesteaders, the Indian Wars etc. Putting your timeline somewhere you see every day will encourage you to actively look at it and test yourself frequently, which is going to help you not just learn the order things come in but also the dates themselves.

The other element to history is the exam technique, which is often underestimated in its importance, but it’s honestly crucial to a good grade. You can have all the fun facts about Stressemann you want, but if you don’t know how to answer the question, you’re not going to get any marks, and you’ve worked hard to do yourself the injustice of missing easy marks.

For a source question, you’re going to need to include both content (the source itself) and the provenance (where the source comes from). A lot of my source marks were lost because I’d said the source wasn’t useful because it didn’t include something, but then I’d failed to say what it didn’t include. For example, if the source was a picture of a motor ambulance and asked you the usefulness of this source for an inquiry into modes of transport during WW1, you could say that it wasn’t useful because it doesn’t show the other methods of transport. What’s really important in these questions is that you include your own knowledge, so here you’ll need to specify the other methods of transport before ultimately deciding on your judgement.

For 16 markers, you’re going to need both an introduction and a conclusion, and for 12 markers you’ll also need a conclusion (I think this is correct..?), and in the conclusion you need to give your own opinion and evaluate using the evidence you’ve just talked about. It’s really imporatnt you land on a judgement, and you can do this by saying which out of the three/four things you’ve talked about are the most important or significant.

After every piece of evidence you give, you need to say why this is important/ significant. If you write a sentence about the buffalo being shot off of trains as a factor of the Indians’ lifestyle being destroyed, you need to explain why this is a big deal. I used to never do this because I thought it sounded clunky, but literally just write something along the lines of, ‘this is important because the Indians used the buffalo for everything, including food, so the decline in buffalo numbers would also lead to Indians dying from a lack of food’

At the end of each paragraph, refer back to the question. This was where most of my marks were dropped, and it’s so easy to gain these. You’ve made your point, you’ve used your evidence, you’ve explained it’s importance and now all you need to do is refer it back to the original question. a simple ‘This ultimately shows how the white people were destroying the Indian lifestyle because they were actively targeting their main food source, which would mean the Indians either had to adopt the white lifestyle or die’ ties up your point so you can move onto your next paragraph. In the words of my current history teacher, ‘answer the bloody question’.

For questions where you’re already given information to use, you need to include at least one of your own points or your marks get capped at around half, I think, even if your evidence is fantastic. If you’re given a point you’ve literally never heard of before or you’re not that confident on, you don’t have to write about it, but you now have to have two of your own points, because you still have to include your own info as if you used that point. If you get me.

If you turn the page to a question and you’ve got absolutely no idea, don’t panic, because your exam technique could still save you. It’s easy to just scribble down any old thing and move on, or worse, not answer it at all, but make sure you still have an introduction and a conclusion (if that essay requires one) and the evidence you do use, however tenuous, is still back up by ‘this is significant because..’ and ‘this meant that…’ and you still answer the question.

Literally my biggest tip for history is do the paper backwards. Start with the question worth the most amount of marks and finish the question worth the least. You don’t have enough time to be spending twenty minutes on an eight mark question, and it’s so important that you at least have a go at every question because it’s not fair on yourself if you miss out a twelve mark question because you didn’t time it well enough. In my march mock, I got a 6 in history because i messed up my timings by doing the papers chronologically, which meant my big sixteen markers really suffered.

If you’re really, really short on time and you know you’re not going to finish a question (especially if it’s big one), you can write in bullet points, but be aware that you won’t get as many marks here as you would had you written in full sentences. If you’re got a few minutes of a 16/12 marker left, it’s better to write your conclusion in full sentences, and your last paragraph in bullet points, but still make sure you say why the evidence is important, no matter how succinct.

What merges both your content and your exam technique together is, you guessed it, exam questions. We got a big booklet of these and I did try to do about one of these a week, but if you’re short on time essay plans are always useful. What’s really important, though, is that you get your teacher to mark them, because there’s no point having a pile of essays at home that haven’t been corrected, so you know where you’re going wrong.


Geography:

Aiming for grade 5/6+:

Not gonna lie, geography was my least priority subject. I didn't want to take it for a-level and I never found it particularly difficult, either, so I didn't spend a whole lot of time revising geography. However, my teacher was great and set us a load of homework every week, so I did do quite a lot of geography in year 11, but not a lot of it was actual revision. If you get me.

Geography is another one of those ’swallow a textbook whole and regurgitate it in the exam hall subjects’, so I went for the classic Meghan approach of making mindmaps, then flashcards

. i especially put emphasis on the case studies- you need to know these upside down inside out, particularly the big two practical ones on your paper 3 exam. for these ones, our teacher made us put together two a3 sheets with hypothesis, results, evaluation etc. on it, and i made each section into, you guessed it, a flashcard, and put the a3 sheets above my bed.

my number one geography tip in two words: case studies. Learn these badboys like they’re you’re own family.

exam technique is also quite crucial in the higher mark questions, and the best tip is to just practice. our teacher was great at giving us exam question after exam question until we were all constantly hitting the higher band, but i also bought a workbook to use. geography is another subject where it’s hard to mark the longer questions yourself, so i was always getting my teacher to mark question after question, but she didn’t seem to mind. shoutout to Vicky B- you were awesome.

apart from that, there’s not much else i can say about geography apart from use past papers as often as you can. geography is a subject where you an really revise any way that works best for you, so definitely try out a few methods and maybe combine them.












Aiming for grade 4/5: (the 5 steps to getting a 5)

Spoiler:
Show











Unless you want to take a level geography or it’s your favourite subject, geography always seems to get cast aside and not very many people revise for it. personally, i did, though i can understand why some people didn’t when their main priorities are english and maths.

so this part is for you: the comprehensive guide to getting a 4/5 in geography the night/ week/ month before the exam:

step 1: case studies

the case study questions are probably going to be between 4-9 marks, so if you’ve got these nailed you’ll quickly wrack up marks, so learn them. and i’m not just talking knowing what a hurricane katrina is, i’m talking you need to specifically know the impacts and responses. these are more likely to be asked in a question, so make sure you can not only name at least three, but you can also categorise them into long term and short term, and social, environmental and economical. facts are also good. for example, if we refer back to hurricane katrina, you want to learn between 3-5 facts. here, the date, death/ injury toll, wind speed, cost and direction of the storm would be very useful, not just to answer specific questions, but to throw into the bigger questions, to show the examiner you know what you’re on about. case studies are especially important for paper 3; if you’ve only got time to revise a few, learn the big ones for your paper 3 exam (these are the ones where you actually went on a trip and did an investigation, like the beach or the city). Paper 3 is about 50% case study, so if you don’t know your big case studies, you’re pretty much screwed. if you have a revision guide, it will help you greatly here, for all 3 papers because they have all the case studies you’ll ever need ready to go.

step 2: the mark schemes of the case studies

the new gcse geography mark scheme for the longer questions are broken down into tiers before individual marks are given: simple, clear and detailed. look at examiners reports or mark schemes to learn what you need to do to get into the top band, and make sure you can replicate it. To hit those 7-9 marks, you’ll need to be able to frequently link between your own knowledge and the question, as well as using key terminology.

step 3: grammar

for the 9 markers specifically, you get awarded 3 points on SPaG, so if you’re naturally good at grammar, you’re covered here and these should be easy marks. You’re probably not going to be able to correct every inch of your bad grammar in one night, so focus on long words that you could spell wrong, and getting those right in the exam might excuse a missing comma. If you’re not, perhaps brush up on spelling key words or using the actual paper to help you. if you’re stuck spelling “Philippines” the paper might already have it written down somewhere. i’m pretty sure SPaG marks are also awarded for technical vocabulary (don’t quote me on that), so if you can use words like “desertification” or something when talking about your case study, you might be able to compensate for a few spellings here and there.

step 4: maths skills

you don’t need to be a mathematical genius for this. you need to know how to read and then talk about graphs and occasionally how to plot them. basic map skills also come under this, such as being able to read coordinates or cholorpleth maps (sounds a lot more complicated than there are) and things like that. knowing these will hopefully get you a few more marks under you belt and push you closer towards the passing grade boundary.

step 5: general knowledge

i always think geography is easier than history, and i think that’s mainly because you can apply common sense to a geography exam which you can’t really do in history. put it this way: you’re more likely to talk about climate change with someone than you are Thomas Wolsey, so can probably pick up a few marks on what you know already. There’s little bits of geography that crop up in the sciences, so you probably know a few bits about deforestation or urbanisation from either your other lessons or just from listening to the news, and you can probably coast (haha, gettit?) your way through the rest. Geography papers aren’t tiered anymore, which means that the questions need to be accessible for all abilities. they’ll definitely be some easy one markers to pick up, which, coupled with the case studies and practical questions, should help to bag you a C. maybe. don’t quote me on that one.













Motivation:


I’ve put this at the end because it’s the one thing i can’t give you. i can help you to find it, but i can’t hand you a burning desire to study on a silver platter; you have to find that yourself. and it’s hard, i know it’s hard when everyone’s screaming at you to revise and you barely have the motivation to breathe, but i’m living proof you can find your motivation and crawl out the deep dark hole of netflix binges.

i think motivation is the hardest part of revision that no one talks about. it doesn’t matter if you’re in all top sets, it doesn’t matter if you can access abundance of revision resources, because if you don’t have motivation, you’re not going to perform as well as you hoped. and it’s the hardest part because it comes from within- you either have it or you don’t and it’s hard to suddenly gain motivation when you’ve lived for so long in the dark.

i guess the obvious would be to think long term- do you want to go to university? college? dream job?- and work towards your goal of having a degree, being able to support a family etc in ten years or so. If you want to get into Cambridge (or is it Oxford that are really snobby about GCSEs? I’m pretty sure both want A*s anyway), print out a nice big colour picture of Cambridge uni and slap it above your desk.

The whole uni/careers thing wasn’t such a motivator because i think i want to be an author and you don’t need any qualifications for that. But, honestly, this rarely worked for me, because i knew i would pass- and it seems arrogant which it is, but i knew that with minimal revision i could pass with 5s and 6s. And that was where my motivation came from, because i didn’t need to get all 9s or whatever, but i wanted them, just to prove that, yeah, i could do it.

although some would argue that short term motivation is pointless, sometimes you just need a reward to get you through that gruelling session, day, week… (year)

gcses didn’t make me feel half as good as i thought they would, but that’s just my personal experience. i didn’t mean for this to become a sob story, but this is how i felt, and i feel like it would be dishonest to not include it.




there are people who are adamant that the secret to doing well is to find a way to enjoy the content you’re learning, while i disagree. You just have to do it, man. You just have to dedicate three months of your life to learning a bunch of facts you’ll never need again before you can enjoy a summer equal in length. there is no secret: there’s just motivation and determination. There’s just you, your notes and the internet, and you need to choose which one you’re gonna go for.


And, finally, we come reach the end. I hope it wasn't too overwhelming and i wacked in a load of spoiler tabs so you can only read the bits that are relevenat to you.

Thank you for your time, and i hope i was able to help, even in the slightest. All the best, good luck, bonne chance, you got this!



please don’t hesitate to ask me any questions; i’m always happy to help. also i don’t have much of a life (as you can probably tell) so i’ll almost definitely reply.

also huge props to @Joshiee for not only inspiring this, but for making the original and helping loads of people. you can find it here.

https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=4298480
Last edited by troubletracking; 3 months ago
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won.of.a.kind
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sorry it's not my original post so I cannot change it but this is the person mentioned Joshiee and this is who it was written by troubletracking
(Original post by kri123)
the link isn't working
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kri123
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How can I find it?
(Original post by won.of.a.kind)
sorry it's not my original post so I cannot change it but this is the person mentioned Joshiee and this is who it was written by troubletracking
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kirudsika
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try and find it....
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Go to the original thread by troubletracking ( how I got grade 8's and 9's in all my subjects) then contact her
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efaugust19
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Business is easy but when it comes to exams I dont get the best grades because the mark schemes are so specific.

I would suggest knowing the structure for each question.
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