Sunday, 8 March 2015


In a few months you will be doing your GCSEs, well done me for stating the obvious. I'm sure that you have heard a million tips on how to revise effectively for your exams but please let me add the extra one as someone who went through the whole process just last year. Below are my five tips to approaching your GCSE exams:
Just start. Not next week, not even tomorrow, RIGHT NOW (after you finish reading this of course) REVISE!!! The trap that a lot of us fall into is both procrastination and convincing ourselves that we need a clear cut plan before we start doing anything. Planning is good; but don't spend more time making a revision plan than actually revising.
Revision plans are quite fun to make; that is until you realise how much you have to do, but fear not my young friends there is hope. Revision plans are there as a guideline and they should be realistic. Make sure you have some sort of list of all the topics that are going to be in your exam for each subject; then work your way through, ticking them off as you go. Focus on the topics that you find hardest first and do a few hours of revision every day (2 to 3 hours)  then do a lot more revision at the weekend. Oh and take breaks. Snack breaks, walking breaks, sitting down and feeling proud of how hard you're working breaks, just make sure you treat yourself and don't burn yourself out.
This is a point all on its own because I avoided past papers like the plague. I did not like sitting down and timing myself and feeling all pressured when I got things wrong, but after a while I realised that past papers are extremely useful. A lot of the time, especially in science papers, questions are repeated so it is likely a similar question will be asked in your real paper. You also get the hang of exam technique and realise the sort of things that the examiner wants you to write. If you haven't already, spend this week printing off tons of past papers, or ask an older friend if they have any spare and start working on them.
GCSE prep is very much a psychological thing as well as a school requirement. You are going to hear many people say 'I'm going to fail anyway' and you might be saying that as well. Now is the time to STOP! The 'I'm going to fail’ mentality is enough to throw you off track, so stop thinking and saying it and stay away from anyone or anything that reinforces that negative way of thinking. When preparing for exams it is so important that you do all you can to channel happy vibes because sometimes it gets hard.  Everyone gets stressed during this period, which is normal, some people's stress, however, is just not what you need so stay away from any negativity.
Right now you are worrying because the teachers are saying that you may not finish the syllabus in time, you have tons of homework to do and you are worried that there is not enough time for you to revise. Take a deep breath and relax. Everything falls into place. It feels stressful now but don't let things get to you. It's all about putting in effort. What you put in is what you will get out.
Hopefully these tips have helped you feel more at ease about your exams. For more advice feel free to drop any questions in the comment section below.
Have a lovely week
Itunu :)

Monday, 2 March 2015

Back to School, Dividers and the E-Word

 Back to school!!! 'Why the exclamation marks?' I hear you scream. School was actually really good last week. Such a plot twist, I know. After a much needed break I was totally ready to get back to work. Folders organised, pencil case with pens that worked. I was pretty much prepared for world domination from first lesson Monday morning. At least that's what I thought; I mean I had folders with dividers. DIVIDERS!!!
Once I got back to school the one thing on everyone’s mind was the e word- EXAMS. I couldn't even pretend that exams weren't going to happen with everyone giving me a countdown. Exams are soon, that's all I am going to say, and it seems that now is the perfect time to start preparing for them. According to Student Room 60% of students say that the best time to start revising for A-Levels (and GCSEs I would add) is in February. Student Room has some fantastic advice and resources for you to prepare for exams (check out the link below) but here is my advice on exam preparation:
GCSE: Make a proper revision plan. When I say proper, I mean proper. Make a really specific plan with the subjects you are going to revise every day (you could even do sub topics if you want to be really detailed).  I got through GCSEs by spending my evenings revising. I would get home and relax,watch TV listen to music , and just forget about everything for a while, then a few hours before I went to sleep I would revise. It means that you are always revising in a practical way without burning yourself out. Of course, everyone is different but I would say that during the school week revise for about 2 (maybe even 3) hours a day. That way you leave time for homework and relaxation. Then go all out at the weekend. With food, coloured pens and a snazzy notebook revision becomes a bit more bearable-trust me. Don't beat yourself up if you don't follow your plan exactly either; sometimes other things will get in the way of your plans but just make sure you are working frequently and effectively. (I’ll do a really detailed post for all of you doing GCSEs next week)
A-Level: I am in Year 12 so I can't really give advice based on experience because I am too busy EXPERIENCING it all. I had a read through Student Room discussion threads however and it seems 2-3 extra revision a day is advised. The importance of consolidating your knowledge is also stressed, so looking back on your notes frequently and making absolutely sure that you understand everything is really important.  For more detailed advice, past exam papers and to make your own online study plan  check out this link on the Student Room website.
Have a lovely week
Itunu :)