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Revision Methods for GCSE

I just started GCSEs this year, and I’ve noticed the workload is noticeably larger than what I’ve done before, so I’m trying to go through the syllabus and make sure I understand the concepts as we learn them, so that I can get a head start in exam revision. I’ve heard a lot of varying revision techniques though, so I’m not sure which ones are best for each subject. Some people say taking notes and highlighting ideas are a waste of time because it’s not going through your brain, but other people say summarising lessons into notes and putting knowledge into your own words means that you can consolidate your understanding. Are notes effective? What are the best revision methods for each subject (sciences, languages, english lang and lit, maths, etc.), based on experience? Thanks!
Hello,
For context, along with my core subjects, I do computer science, geography, psychology and German.
For me I find that for a lot of my subjects (sciences, computer science, psychology) the revision methods that work best for me involve active recall, so I use flashcards, practice questions, and past papers for those subjects. The flashcards are made using my notes from lessons, basically turning them into questions (so for example for biology, if my notes had the uses of glucose in plants listed, my flashcard would have "what are the uses of glucose in plants?" on one side, and the answer on the other side), and I keep going through the flashcards until I can answer all of them correctly before moving on to doing past papers/practice questions. Also I make all of my flashcards on Quizlet because they are a lot quicker to make and easier to edit and add to, and a lot of the time my friends and I share our revision resources, so having them online makes that a whole lot easier.
I personally can't do flashcards for geography, because there is so much to remember about the case studies and I end up having too many flashcards, so I make summary note pages on each topic with subheadings and ignoring any information that I won't need, and then test myself on them by covering the content and just looking at the subheading to use as guidance to do blurting. Once I feel confident on the content and case studies and examples, I do some past papers to get familiar with how I will be tested in the actual exams.
For languages, my teachers make sets of all of the vocab we learn along the way on Quizlet, so I use these to refresh all of the vocab, and then go over all of the grammar rules to make sure I'm confident on them. Then I go through all of my key questions, semi-memorising my answers (basically until I am able to answer all of them spontaneously and include everything that my target grade requires), and look at past papers to practice writing.
For maths I use a checklist to see what I can/can't do, and then use Hegarty maths to go over any topics I'm not confident in or have forgotten from the check list, and then do a bunch of practice questions and revision papers. For some things in maths, like the circle theorems and formulas, it can be useful to have flashcards, so I have a few for that.
For English literature, I go over the texts I've studied, skimming through to remember any key quotes and then on a large piece of paper I write down themes related to the text and any quotes that relate to each of the themes in a mind map, and make a mind map on each main character about the themes they may represent, key quotes related to the character, and their relationships with other characters in the texts. For the poetry anthology, I go over how each of the poems may link with each other, and how they represent power/conflict (because I'm doing the power/conflict poems in the anthology). For the unseen poetry, I don't think there's much you could do apart from just practice using past papers available online. And overall for English there are many youtube videos that discuss exam techniques and analysis of the texts you may have studied, which is really helpful for getting new ideas for analysis that you may not have covered before.
I don't really do much for English language - past papers are useful to practice with, and also if you do wider reading it's great to expand your vocabulary for the creative writing part.
Also for all of the subjects it's really useful to fully know the spec, so the day before any exams I make sure to go through it to make sure that I have covered everything.

I hope this has helped, and feel free to ask me any questions you may have!
I think it really depends which method suits you the most. However, I finished gcse with these subjects: triple science, english language + literature, maths, business, geography , Physical education (PE), chinese, further maths.

English language - my advice: finish all the questions in the exam, no blanks (Very important). revise method: I just looked at the past papers and analysis which part I didn't do well. e.g. I did not do well in AO2, then I remembered what should I improve and write more AO2 in the exam paper.

English literature - get a notebook, out down the important quotes and summary and what should I improve (Ao1,2,3...) for Shakespeare and An Inspector Calls. For poetry, I recited 5-6 poems (evaluate which poem has the most overlap themes and recite that poem) [but it depends if you want to do it or not, or your study method]

Maths and further maths - I did a lot of past papers

Physics, Biology, Chemistry - I wrote notes on every chapter based on WS the teacher gave me and the specification!!!!! then some past papers. (find the type of questions that you are familiar with and do it, if you have time)

Business, geography, PE - I just revise and use the specification.

NOTES: specification is very important!!! follow the specification when you are studying (because the teacher might missed some of the few bullet points in the specification or they briefly talk it through)
@eileenjing are you a gamer?
When I was doing my gcse revision last year I used online resources:
maths-maths genie, online past papers and GCSEs maths tutor (he’s on yt).
For French I brought the CGP revision book which had listening,speaking and writing resources. Did past papers from the aqa website and got my teacher to read my writing essays. For writing I recommend using multiple tense not just past, present and future tense and try using other subjects other than I and use don’t use the same adjectives over and over again.
English lit- I had detailed quote analysis flashcards on Quizlet, did past papers and got my teacher to mark it.
English lang- didn’t do much but I would watch yt videos.
Science- I created a cognitino (not sure if I spelt it right) account. It has videos, quizzes and past papers. I brought the CGP revision textbook and read it countless times.
History- I read the textbook religiously, did so many exam questions and got my teacher to mark it (he was really helpful as he is an exam marker)

Overall: do past papers and get your teachers to mark it, use the CGP book and watch YouTube videos
Original post by eileenjing
I just started GCSEs this year, and I’ve noticed the workload is noticeably larger than what I’ve done before, so I’m trying to go through the syllabus and make sure I understand the concepts as we learn them, so that I can get a head start in exam revision. I’ve heard a lot of varying revision techniques though, so I’m not sure which ones are best for each subject. Some people say taking notes and highlighting ideas are a waste of time because it’s not going through your brain, but other people say summarising lessons into notes and putting knowledge into your own words means that you can consolidate your understanding. Are notes effective? What are the best revision methods for each subject (sciences, languages, english lang and lit, maths, etc.), based on experience? Thanks!

In gcses for each subject i pretty much went through the whole of the cgp textbook which will give you everything you need. However for physics chemistry and biology i would watch freesciencelessons videos make thorough notes on what he isaying then went to the cgp textbook adn added any extra information he missed which wasnt much. Maths and further maths is just maths genie and tons and tons of practise questions and that will then be one of the easiest nines you can get. If you do PE i used everlearner and did the same technique as i did with fressciencelessons with watching them and then adding extra information from cgp book. This got me 9's in most my subject but if you are quite happy with content then just practise exam questions youll realise when you go onto to do alevels the importance of t so might aswell start early. For subject likes english lit and lang i got 7's so may be better to ask someone who got higher as i didnt really revise for english or french
Original post by eileenjing
I just started GCSEs this year, and I’ve noticed the workload is noticeably larger than what I’ve done before, so I’m trying to go through the syllabus and make sure I understand the concepts as we learn them, so that I can get a head start in exam revision. I’ve heard a lot of varying revision techniques though, so I’m not sure which ones are best for each subject. Some people say taking notes and highlighting ideas are a waste of time because it’s not going through your brain, but other people say summarising lessons into notes and putting knowledge into your own words means that you can consolidate your understanding. Are notes effective? What are the best revision methods for each subject (sciences, languages, english lang and lit, maths, etc.), based on experience? Thanks!

Heya!
It depends on the individual.
Personally, for sciences, I found notes and spider diagrams to be effective (flashcards also work for people but they didn't work for me!). Study Mind offers tons of free resources for science subjects which you might find helpful
For languages I found reading books, watching basic movies and memorising complex sentences to use during the exam to be very helpful.
For maths - practice practice practice! I barely took notes for it, instead just did tons of past papers which was really helpful especially if done by topic.
For essay-based subjects - it's helpful to learn to plan your essay first and have some notes or templates which you can use during the exam. For example, for history, I would always write down my essay plan first before starting my essay and note down everything I want to say at the beginning so I won't forget to mention it.

I hope this helps!
Milena G.
UCL PFE
Study Mind

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