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Uni of Leicester
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#1
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#1
We understand anxieties might be high at the moment with exams not too far away and we know how easy it is (you told us!) to put off starting to revise.

'When should I start?', 'What's the best time to revise?', 'How do I stop getting distracted?' might just be a few questions running through your heads.

Don't worry, we're here to help!

We've got two of our world-leading academics (bios below) and two of our current students with you all week to offer their advice, answer your questions and to share hints/tips to give you a HeadStart into smashing your exams out of the park.

Let us know what you're studying and if there is anything you're concerned about. Feel free to share your own advice as well, it's great to hear what works best for different people!

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Dr Fabrizio Ortu - I'm a Lecturer in Chemistry and Admissions Tutor for the School of Chemistry, University of Leicester. My teaching covers various topics in general and inorganic chemistry, and I also research the use of metals for synthetic and industrial applications, with a particular focus on improving the sustainability of chemical manufacturing.

Dr Ben Parsons - I am Associate Professor in Medieval and Early Modern Literature, and have taught English at Leicester since 2008. My teaching and research take me across the literature of the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and I am especially interested in its stranger outskirts and darker recesses.

Ross Pickering- Hi, I'm Ross - a UK Student Recruitment Support Officer here at Leicester based in Greater London. I work with Schools and Colleges in London and the Southeast to help students learn more about the University of Leicester increasing applications and enrolments to the University.
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StrawberryDreams
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#2
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#2
Hey - What would you suggest is the best way to get started on your revision? I think it can feel a bit overwhelming at times just to get started so any tips would be really helpful!
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Uni of Leicester
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#3
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#3
(Original post by StrawberryDreams)
Hey - What would you suggest is the best way to get started on your revision? I think it can feel a bit overwhelming at times just to get started so any tips would be really helpful!
I know exactly what you mean - having to tackle all the information you've accrued can be extremely disorienting! The best advice I can give is simply to break up your work, and your time, into manageable pieces, and try to work with your own strengths rather than against them. It's good to draw up a working schedule beforehand and do your best to stick to it, but at the same time, you need to make sure that the workload you draw up is realistic and will work for you. Scheduling is good - there is no sense in trying to assimilate a shapeless mass of information in a haphazard or piecemeal way, especially since knowledge has to build on other knowledge in order to make coherent sense, so timetabling an hour here and there to address specific subjects should eliminate that sense of vertigo. But you should also organise your day according to your knowledge of your own working practices, and the points in the day at which you are most alert and are likely to produce your best work. Some people work best in mornings and evenings, some prefer to work in a solid block from morning to afternoon - you know your own tendencies, so capitalise on that knowledge. I'd also make sure that your dedicated work times are spent in a space that is different from where you spend your downtime - blurring the line between your leisure and revision time will only lead to you getting distracted and dispirited. Drawing a clear line between work time and down time will help immeasurably with focus and discipline.
I hope that helps a bit! If you have any follow up queries, just let me know!
Ben
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Viin
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#4
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#4
Hey there.I'm a international student who will be part of your campus on September hopefully if I get chosen. I wanted to know. Once I get there where do I stay? Do I meet students on my first day? What happens if I land in United Kingdom and in your campus? How will things take place?
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University of Leicester
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#5
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#5
(Original post by Viin)
Hey there.I'm a international student who will be part of your campus on September hopefully if I get chosen. I wanted to know. Once I get there where do I stay? Do I meet students on my first day? What happens if I land in United Kingdom and in your campus? How will things take place?
Hey Viin, there's a wide range of accommodation you can choose as a student at Leicester - definitely worth checking out le.ac.uk/accommodation for the full selection.

Yes you'd meet students on your first day. That could be in your flat, when you're registering, when you're grabbing some lunch - anywhere really! . We've got a really close knit campus so nice and easy to meet new people.

We put on airport transfers for students landing in the UK (you'd receive info about this nearer the time with more specific details!) and all of the arrival information will be sent in advance of you flying in.

Hope that helps!
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Anonymous #1
#6
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#6
(Original post by Uni of Leicester)
We understand anxieties might be high at the moment with exams not too far away and we know how easy it is (you told us!) to put off starting to revise.

'When should I start?', 'What's the best time to revise?', 'How do I stop getting distracted?' might just be a few questions running through your heads.

Don't worry, we're here to help!

We've got two of our world-leading academics (bios below) and two of our current students with you all week to offer their advice, answer your questions and to share hints/tips to give you a HeadStart into smashing your exams out of the park.

Let us know what you're studying and if there is anything you're concerned about. Feel free to share your own advice as well, it's great to hear what works best for different people!

Spoiler:
Show
Dr Fabrizio Ortu - I'm a Lecturer in Chemistry and Admissions Tutor for the School of Chemistry, University of Leicester. My teaching covers various topics in general and inorganic chemistry, and I also research the use of metals for synthetic and industrial applications, with a particular focus on improving the sustainability of chemical manufacturing.

Dr Ben Parsons - I am Associate Professor in Medieval and Early Modern Literature, and have taught English at Leicester since 2008. My teaching and research take me across the literature of the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and I am especially interested in its stranger outskirts and darker recesses.

Ross Pickering- Hi, I'm Ross - a UK Student Recruitment Support Officer here at Leicester based in Greater London. I work with Schools and Colleges in London and the Southeast to help students learn more about the University of Leicester increasing applications and enrolments to the University.
Hi, are there specific revision methods that work best for different subjects?

Also, do you have any recommendations for revision resources e.g. any websites/videos/books that you know are good for revision help?
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Uni of Leicester
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#7
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#7
(Original post by Anonymous)
Hi, are there specific revision methods that work best for different subjects?

Also, do you have any recommendations for revision resources e.g. any websites/videos/books that you know are good for revision help?
Hi! I can give you some guidance with regards to chemistry revision, which probably applies more broadly to other scientific subjects like biology and physics. However, I'm sure this could also be relevant to other subjects.

One things that I strongly recommend is avoiding passive revision, such as copying notes that you have already written. Whenever you revise you should do something 'new' in order to stimulate more active learning. This could be done by writing down a new summary of the key things you have learned, or by drawing a concept map, or even by talking about a specific topic that you have just revised.

Another important thing to avoid is doing 'compartmentalised revision'. When we finish revising a certain topic, the tendency is to put this knowledge in a drawer in our brain and lock it away. But in order for revision to be effective, we need to be able to recall every concept with a certain fluidity. This is very important with scientific subjects as many topics can interpenetrate each other and we need to be able to link up different concepts whenever required. To do this, it's important to go back occasionally on topics that have been previously revised and refresh that knowledge - in other words, we need to open again every drawer multiple times!

Here are the links to some chemistry specific resources: https://www.chem1.com/acad/webtext/virtualtextbook.html and https://chem.libretexts.org/

I hope this helps!

Fabrizio
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University of Leicester
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#8
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#8
Hey,

Revision methods vary and you may find that some work best than other depending on what subjects you are studying.
For subjects such as Maths, Physics and Chemistry, its all about practice so past papers are definitely the way to go with those. I would recommend printing off as many past papers off as possible and attempting them on your own first before using the mark scheme as a guide. This way you know the method used to answer each type of question.

For essay based subjects such as Psychology, History, Sociology, I would recommend doing revision cards of essay questions that could come up. Ensure its concise with 2 or 3 bullet points for each paragraph. Using mark schemes here is also vital, because you can include the main points into the revision cards. This way you can actively recall marks that will get you higher grades and won't waste time on waffling.

To help with active recall for subjects which are heavily content based e.g. Biology, Psychology. I suggest switching up ways to revise, simply rereading your notes over and over again may not work for everyone so trying other methods such as diagrams of Krebs cycle / Photosynthesis to help visualise them. Also recording yourself saying these processes in Biology, though it may sound strange at first, surprisingly makes a huge difference in actively recalling streams of information. It's such a simple but effective way to revise because you could literally listen back to the recording on the way to school like a song and just as your brain remembers lyrics to songs it will remember these processes.

Some resources that helped me in my A levels
Psychology- Simply psychology- Has all info needed for AQA Psychology,- https://www.simplypsychology.org/
Biology, Physics and Maths - Save my Exams is useful for all three subjects, has past papers and revision notes for each
Chemistry- I found these videos extremely helpful - MaChemGuy YouTube channel - https://www.youtube.com/user/MaChemGuy

hope you found this helpful
Alex
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Uni of Leicester
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#9
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#9
(Original post by Anonymous)
Hi, are there specific revision methods that work best for different subjects?

Also, do you have any recommendations for revision resources e.g. any websites/videos/books that you know are good for revision help?
For English, especially literature, I think the key thing you can do is familiarise yourself with the texts you are writing about. I wouldn't necessarily advise reading through them from beginning to end on a rinse/repeat cycle, but there is no harm going back over passages with which you are less familiar, or haven't quite managed to grasp. (In fact, not understanding something is often an excellent reason to look at it again - if your text hasn't quite yielded itself up to interpretation at first glance, it may well contain interesting ambiguities, ironies, or tensions that can be worth exploring and thinking through.) Revisiting parts of the text with which you are less familiar will help round out your understanding of its general structure, plot and purpose - we like to see students acknowledging the complexity of writing, and the culture from which it has emerged, rather than treating it in simplifying terms. It might also help to write out your own summary of the main action and characters of your text, rather than relying on a readymade synopses from Wikipedia or Sparknotes etc. - tracing out its bare bones in your own words will help the larger picture to stick, which will in turn ensure greater accuracy in your analysis.

It is also worth thinking about what use you will make of your texts when you come to sit the exam. There is little point in memorising enormous chunks of language - this is not a great use of your revision time! While large quotations might look impressive, they are generally ineffective when drawing up an argument (and, once you have gone to the trouble of memorising them, you feel almost duty-bound to regurgitate them on to the page). Remember that the text is only there to provide you with evidence to support your observations and arguments - quotation is nothing more than a system of proof. Selective, focused snippets of texts can be threaded into your own prose easily, and will demonstrate your points more efficiently than large passages of material; in fact, long quotations can even work against you, since they will tend to open up more questions that you will need to pursue, rather than validating the specific point you want to make. So, in short (pun very much intended), isolate shorter, more readily manoeuvrable details from your texts - key phrases, images and statements - rather than long sequences of sentences.

I hope that helps! I'm here for any follow-up queries if you have them.
Ben
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keanureeeves
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#10
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#10
I think I've started way too late yikes
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Uni of Leicester
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#11
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#11
Hi keanureeeves, it can happen to feel that way. Maybe it would help to have a revision plan in place, so that you have a structure to work with. But it needs to be a realistic, achievable and manageable plan, otherwise it might all become a bit overwhelming. May I ask what subjects you're taking?

Fabrizio
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Viin
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#12
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(Original post by University of Leicester)
Hey Viin, there's a wide range of accommodation you can choose as a student at Leicester - definitely worth checking out le.ac.uk/accommodation for the full selection.

Yes you'd meet students on your first day. That could be in your flat, when you're registering, when you're grabbing some lunch - anywhere really! . We've got a really close knit campus so nice and easy to meet new people.

We put on airport transfers for students landing in the UK (you'd receive info about this nearer the time with more specific details!) and all of the arrival information will be sent in advance of you flying in.

Hope that helps!
Thank you so much for the information. I really appreciate it. I wanted to ask when will I hear from you?
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Uni of Leicester
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#13
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#13
(Original post by keanureeeves)
I think I've started way too late yikes
Fortunately, it's never really too late (except for after the exams themselves, of course). As Fabrizio says, developing a plan that will help you to tackle your workload in an organised, coordinated way should help you feel a bit less like a rabbit in the headlights. On top of that, I'd simply advise not to panic - you know more than you think you know, and the entire point of revision is not to acquire a whole bunch of brand new knowledge, but to refresh your memory, and bring up to the surface material that is already there. If you start off with that mindset, the whole exercise should seem a bit more palatable!
Ben
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keanureeeves
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#14
(Original post by Uni of Leicester)
Hi keanureeeves, it can happen to feel that way. Maybe it would help to have a revision plan in place, so that you have a structure to work with. But it needs to be a realistic, achievable and manageable plan, otherwise it might all become a bit overwhelming. May I ask what subjects you're taking?

Fabrizio
bio chem maths need AAA
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Uni of Leicester
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#15
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#15
(Original post by keanureeeves)
bio chem maths need AAA
As mentioned by Alex, al least for Maths and Chemistry it's important to get as much practice as possible using model questions or past exam papers. So, you should revise some specific topics and combine revision with exam-style questions and problems.

Biology can be a little bit different, as it's often less problem based and requires more bookwork knowledge. Alex gave some very good suggestions on how to tackle this in her previous message, such as drawing diagrams to improve visualisation of biological cycles or talking through a specific topic. The latter is a very powerful technique to process information and can also be useful for revising Chemistry - as Ben said in his last message, revision is used to bring up material that you already know, and talking through a certain topic can really help with that.

I can tell you also something that you shouldn't do: long and exhausting revision sessions immediately followed by a mock exam/problem session! You will get very tired, very quickly, which also means that the quality of your revision will decrease. We've said this a couple of times on this thread: start with coming up with a plan and set some realistic expectations, and avoid overdoing it as much as possible.
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keanureeeves
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#16
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(Original post by Uni of Leicester)
As mentioned by Alex, al least for Maths and Chemistry it's important to get as much practice as possible using model questions or past exam papers. So, you should revise some specific topics and combine revision with exam-style questions and problems.

Biology can be a little bit different, as it's often less problem based and requires more bookwork knowledge. Alex gave some very good suggestions on how to tackle this in her previous message, such as drawing diagrams to improve visualisation of biological cycles or talking through a specific topic. The latter is a very powerful technique to process information and can also be useful for revising Chemistry - as Ben said in his last message, revision is used to bring up material that you already know, and talking through a certain topic can really help with that.

I can tell you also something that you shouldn't do: long and exhausting revision sessions immediately followed by a mock exam/problem session! You will get very tired, very quickly, which also means that the quality of your revision will decrease. We've said this a couple of times on this thread: start with coming up with a plan and set some realistic expectations, and avoid overdoing it as much as possible.
Thank u so much , ill stop freaking out and actually get to it today !!! Hopefully it will be worth it in 3.5 months
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brightestgeek
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#17
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is doing lots of past papers enough ?
for physics edexcel
pure math edexcel
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HumanOrganism368
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#18
Can you give me advice on how to make free-time during GCSE year (i.e. Y11)? I am afraid to sacrifice any hobbies I might have.
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Uni of Leicester
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#19
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#19
(Original post by HumanOrganism368)
Can you give me advice on how to make free-time during GCSE year (i.e. Y11)? I am afraid to sacrifice any hobbies I might have.
Hi HumanOrganism!
Your instincts are correct here - it is certainly important to carve out time for your further interests as much as possible. Not only will your hobbies help to keep you grounded (and help you in turn to stay motivated and engaged in your work), but they are useful things to have when making applications to university - they are an excellent way of individualising your personal statement, and showing yourself as a rounded and developed candidate; admissions tutors are always keen to hear about wider interests. However, how best to keep a satisfactory work/leisure balance is a complex question. There probably is no silver bullet here - it will depend in no small part on your own habits and practices. It's certainly a good idea to draw up an initial schedule, even if you keep in mind that it may need to adapt and be revised in future - dedicating a number of fixed hours each evening to your work, and making clear in your own mind the distinction between work-time and free-time, should be a good first step to take. It's very easy to let work (especially homework) bleed over into your free time (and vice versa, especially if the work is less stimulating than the fun stuff you really want to do), so creating a clear timetable that sets the two apart should help you to focus your energies appropriately.
Hope that helps!
Ben
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Uni of Leicester
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#20
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#20
(Original post by brightestgeek)
is doing lots of past papers enough ?
for physics edexcel
pure math edexcel
Hi brightestgeek! Practice on past papers is very important for both physics and maths, but limiting yourself to solely doing lots of past papers might be extremely challenging if not combined with a broader revision. The risk is to neglect basic concepts and fundamental knowledge which are necessary to do a good exam in the first place. One strategy is to combine book revision with past papers, alternating between the two in a strategic way. For example, after doing a certain block of revision, you could look at a past paper and find a question related to the topic you've just revised. This way you will switch off from book revision and apply the knowledge you've just gained. You could also follow this up by writing a short summary of the concepts you've learned and key things you've applied when going through exam-style questions. It goes without saying that once you're happy with all the book revision, then it will be a lot easier to focus almost exclusively on past exam papers and model questions.

There are obviously a lot of different strategies that can be used - we are all different, so there is no one-size-fits-all approach, I'm afraid! But I that I've given you some ideas of how to structure your revision plan.

Fabrizio
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