Many students of all ages ask the question, how do I revise? Well there is not one fixed method for effective revision as different people learn in different ways but there are a number of common things that seem to work for many people. The following list are general ways that people revise which can applied to any subject and any level. For subject and level specific revision see further down this page for more detailed information.
How to revise general:
1. Revision timetable – A good place to start is with a revision timetable. Although this doesn’t tell you how to revise, without managing your time effectively any revision you do is likely to be ineffective. Take a look at our revision timetable below.
Download: Revision Timetable
2. Note taking – It is common knowledge that you take in more when writing notes as opposed to simply reading texts. However, many students make the error of simply copying text from one book into another which is very time consuming and not very effective. A better way to revise is to read a section or page of text, focusing on the key aspects of that section and then try to write down the notes from memory. See which bits you have missed and then fill in the spaces.
3. Condensing – When asking how to revise, we are effectively asking, how do I take this huge lump of information, remember it and understand it for my exam. Well the key to this is condensing it. Whether you use spider diagrams, flash cards, audio notes or drawings to help you take in the information, the key is to condense the original text down into smaller more manageable chunks that make sense to you. This condensing process may require multiple stages, where you condense it once, then you condense the next set of notes and so on until you can cover the entire course in as little as a few pages of really key condensed notes and at this stage the notes may not make sense to anyone else but they are the key things that remind you of all the information you need to know.
4. Flash Cards – Revision cards are a good way to condense the information you have to learn, into smaller more manageable chunks. When we asked a cross section of our website users how they revise, many responded with flash cards as an answer. Many people find them useful. To see our selection of maths flash cards visit our dedicated page.
5. Past Papers – Past papers are arguably the most useful revision tool and are a great way to prepare for an exam. It is essential that these limited resources are used in the right way. Trying to do past papers too early before you know the course can be demoralising and attempting them too late may mean you miss out on some really valuable practise and insight into what the examiners are looking for. To access all past papers, for all levels, subjects and exam boards, visit our dedicated page.
6. Practice Questions – Because past papers are finite in resource, especially for the new specifications, looking for other sources of practice questions is advisable. The older past papers from previous specs are not always that relevant so before you get onto the new past papers, you ideally want to start by practising questions from other sources. At Maths Made Easy we have a question bank of over 1 million practice questions across a range of subjects and levels so whether you are looking for worksheets, online tests or PDF’s you will find the practice questions you are looking for. You can even look at technology and using something like a maths app to help you practise questions.
Revision tips can be really useful when preparing for exams. We have collected a list of revision tips that we think apply to most people sitting most exams. Although we all learn differently, there are common revision tips that we can share and still find useful, regardless of age, ability or the type of exam you are preparing for, for example we all know how effective past papers can be which is why these make it in to our top revision tips list.
Revision tips can be really useful when preparing for exams. At Maths Made Easy we have compiled a short list of quick revision tips that we think will help you to effectively revise for your exams, whether they be GCSE, A Level or another type of exam. The following list are the revision tips that have made it into our top tips pile.
1. Flash Cards – Flash cards can be an excellent way to condense large amounts of information that you have to learn.
2. Past Papers – Everyone knows using past papers is a must when revising. However, our top revision tip is to use the papers sparingly, and only tackle them when you are confident you have revised the entire course.
3. Little and Often – Many studies have shown that the human brain only has a short concentration span and that as you try to focus for longer than 30 minutes the amount of information you are able to retain starts to decrease. So 30-45 minute sessions are advisable with regular breaks .
4. Start Early – Don’t leave your revision until a few weeks before the exam or until school has finished the course. Be proactive, you can start revising after your very first lesson by making sure your course notes are up to speed and that you have understood what was covered in the lesson. If you can fill in your gaps in knowledge as you go along, the amount of revision at the end will seem less daunting as you will already have a great understanding of the course which will enable you to access the higher grades.
Keep coming back to see what other revision tips are shared on this dedicated tips page. As we get closer to the exams we will share more tips and links to useful resources to help you learn the best revision techniques.
Having effective revision techniques can make such a difference to exam outcomes at every level. Learning the best revision techniques can be tricky as there is not a one size fits all, with some people being visual learners whilst others learn better with different types of materials. However, there are some commonalities between all effective revision techniques and these are covered on this page so that everyone reading them, regardless of the type of learner you are, can take something from them and put it into practise.
There are different forms of revision to consider and different revision techniques to look at. The following list covers a selection of revision techniques and approaches that we believe are relevant to most students but in particular those preparing for GCSE and A Level exams. That said, the revision techniques discuss below can be applied to any type of test, from numerical reasoning tests to KS2 SATs papers. Take a look at the revision tips below and see what you find useful, in helping you to know how to revise.
1. Revision Cards – In recent years revision cards have taken off with many students using flash cards for all types of subjects. Maths revision cards have possibly been the most popular. However, how do you apply an effective revision technique to revision cards, simply buying them and writing on them isn’t necessarily going to be effective. What you shouldn’t do is simply copy out your course notes in small writing on to these cards. Making condensed notes onto the flash cards is a must, then using the cards to cover up and test yourself. You can then test yourself across all of the cards you have made and split them into 3 piles of the ones you confidently know, the ones you kind of know and the important pile, the ones you need more practise on. This will then help you to narrow down on the bits of the exam that you need to focus on.
2. Spider Diagrams – As a revision technique, spider diagrams can be useful in helping to convey the key points of a topic or section from your revision guide. With all revision techniques you should make sure that you are actively thinking and trying to recall the information rather than simply copying it bit by bit. Once a spider diagram is complete the key is then to see if you can verbally expand on all of the key points and make total sense of the topic from the minimal notes you have made.
3. Practice questions – Whether you are doing past papers or practice questions from a worksheet, the key to getting the most use out of questions is simply to learn from your mistakes. The ones you get wrong are the ones you need to focus on. Our top revision tip is to collate all the questions you get wrong with the mark scheme answers in a revision book specifically for them. Continue to do this over the weeks you are revising and then before you go into your exam, ensure you can answer every single question you have got wrong up to the standard of the mark schemes, paying close attention to the key marking points.
How to revise by subject and level:
How to revise KS2 SATs:
KS2 SATs are the first time that children think about how to revise, often with the help and persuasion of their parents. Revising for KS2 SATs is tricky as the children at this age are young and find it difficult to concentrate on revision but a few questions each evening, little and often, is the way to go. To get access to KS2 SATs papers visit our dedicated page.
How to revise at KS3:
Key stage three revision is a little different in that it tends to be students preparing for topic tests and end of year tests rather than external exams. Knowing how to revise for these types of exams is still important as they often contribute to what sets students are put into for GCSE. The old KS3 SATs papers are still a useful tool to revise from. You can access the KS3 SATs papers from the following links
How to revise GCSE’S
Knowing how to revise for GCSE exams is crucial as an effective revision approach can make a huge difference to outcomes. All of the general revision techniques described above still apply, so it is a case of using a combination of these with access to the best resources. Actually finding useful revision materials to revise from can be a challenge which is why we are here to help. The following list will give you access to a whole host of GCSE revision materials for your core subjects that will help you to revise.
How to revise A Levels
Knowing how to revise for A Level exams is key to getting into the University of your Choice. Again all of the general revision pointers above still apply, so using revision cards, spider diagrams, condensing notes but by this stage you have to be really good at them because the amount of information you are trying to condense. Once you have condensed your notes and you are on to practice questions then the following links will help you to revise.