How do you revise effectively to get an A/A*

  • 0 votes

Hi everyone! Im in year 10 and doing about 7 GCSE exams in june. i usually get good grades (i've never got lower than a B), but im looking for a really effective way to revise to get an A* which i always seem to be a few marks from.. recently i've been getting bored and stressed easily because i'm overwhelmed by how many GCSEs i have.. HELP?!

How do you revise? Please reccomend any techniques, ASAP 


Posted Tue 17th May, 2011 @ 21:08 by Uchechi

5 Answers

  • 21 votes

Effectively, I tend to read, re read and read again. Majority of the marks for A Levels are from application of knowledge and the ability to compare, analyse and evaluate. GCSE's are no different.

You could try reading, highlighting in one colour. Re read and highlight the information you missed in another colour. Then the third time read everything you highlighted.

Write your notes, then condense it, and condense again. I know it seems like a *lot* of work but it's worth it. Three is the magic number. More than that, you are wasting time.

Practice papers are your friend. Exams don't just test your application of knowledge, or your ability to comprehend but also the ability to adapt to the demands of the examination. Practice papers revise more than the subject but they get you into the mindset of the examiners. You know what they want and can avoid the needless drivel teachers warn you about.

If you follow the above you'll not only have a stack of flashcards, with the bare essential facts and terms... but you can then use those to condense it again to a simple mind map, bullet points or a poster.  If you're more of an auditory learner then record yourself reading these condensed notes. Listen to it before bed, on the way to school. Place the posters everywhere. Places you visit daily. My brother put his A Level Law poster in the bathroom so whenever he showered or used the toilet he could read something. He got an A*. 

Lastly- look at what YOU like. The best revision techniques are personal. Look for a way to make your revision personalised by adding some of your, as my English teacher said, sparkle. If you love music, try making a revision song. Love a game, or film? Try to integrate that in. 

Now for the other side- relax. Stress seems impossible to avoid. It's not. Long term stress can cause damage... more than just psychological. Don't revise in long sessions. Block them. Chunk together in 30-45 minute sessions with 15 minute breaks. 3 chunks a day, with a total of two 15 minute breaks and a 30 minute break is more than enough. Three again!

And lastly, don't fret. Don't get overly cocky, but don't fret. Listen to music, relax... watch a film. Spend time with a pet or family member. Get plenty of sleep, food and drink. Water or squash is best. Avoid caffeine. 

Apologies for the wall of text. Hope it helps and best of luck!

Answered Tue 17th May, 2011 @ 21:48 by Michaela
  • 3 votes

I do the following:

  • Read a revision guide or my notes before I go to sleep and then remember if I can remember it in the morning.
  • Write important factors on sticky notes and stick them around the house.
  • Get family members to test you or maybe have a quiz with your friends for a prize as that gets you motivated.
Answered Sun 30th September, 2012 @ 17:13 by Alice Deane
  • 3 votes

Like you, I feel like I fail if I don't get an A/A*, so here are my tips:

  • Find out which way you revise best. Are you a visual learner? Or do you learn best by listening or doing things.
  • If you're unsure, revise in as many different ways as possible.
  • Create flashcards!
    These are a brilliant way of condensing your notes and creating mini tests for yourself. Best of all, they're portable, so you could take them easily in a pocket if you can't carry a revision guide and they test your quick thinking. Also, you don't just have to use them as an individual. You could test your friends and get your friends to test you back!
  • Create videos!
    There are some really good apps out there (e.g. ShowMe), which allow you to make a video and record yourself speaking over it as well! You could play it back as a reminder and listen to it even if you're too busy to actually watch the video.
  • Past Papers!
    These can be your friends or your enemies. The trick is to complete them in a timed condition to highlight any problems with timing or exam skill. Also, I would recommend trying a paper with no revision beforehand. I found this useful because it showed me which topics I need to do less revision on, and which ones I need to do more revision on. It also gave me confidence when I got answers right that I guessed, which shows my educated guesses can give me marks if all else fails. However, please remember that there are a limited number of papers so don't start using them too early and run out before the exam.
  • Examiner's Reports!
    Not many people rate these, but as an A/A* student you should read the Examiners Reports for previous versions of your exam. This allows you to see the most common mistakes made, which means you know not to make that mistake again in the future. Also, it gives you an insight into how an Examiner marks an exam, which may help your exam technique.
  • Exam Techniques!
    Each and every exam is different so a different exam technique should be applied to each. First, speak to your teacher about exam techniques as they may have a structure which helps you to gain the necessary marks (e.g. WJEC RE, part e) 6 Steps to 8 Marks - Agree, because, Disagree, because, Another reason, My Opinion) Also, take a look at the amount of marks for each question. If you're like me, you write too much for some answers. If it is 2 marks, more often than not they are looking for a point and explanation. 3 marks, 2 or 3 well explained points, etc. English normally has a PEAL structure in order to gain marks. I have also been recommended to start with the higher mark questions first as most people rush them at the end and drop easy marks out of panic!
  • Your friends!
    Occasionally, revise in study groups with your friends. They may have new things to teach you and you may teach them something new. By teaching others, you are applying your own knowledge, which you will be able to use in the exam.
  • Books!
    Loads of people just re-read their books/notes and think that's all they need to do. It's fine if it works for them, but more often than not it doesn't. Re-reading is fine, but try to condense the information into bullet points, then into shorter bullet points and then in just a few important words. At my school, we called it 100 - 50 - 20 -10.
  • Games!
    Try to be creative with your revision. If the activity isn't exciting then you won't learn as well. Why not try Articulate with key words or Pass the Bomb with topic categories.
  • Apps!
    There are so many apps out there to aid with revision. So many! The CGP Revision Guides have brilliant science apps which I would definitely recommend!
  • YouTube!
    There are tons of revision videos on YouTube by teachers to students or by students to other students. Some are songs, which really to stick in your head, and others are quick presentations. I found some brilliant videos on YouTube for 'How to get an A* in Lord of the Flies.'
  • Take Breaks!
    No matter how much you try, you can't focus on something after more than an hour. These breaks refresh your mind and allows the information you have just revised to sink in gradually. They don't have to be long!
  • Eat Well!
    Don't skip meals! Don't have an unbalanced diet! Take snacks to have just before an exam! The best foods to eat to help the brain I find are: fish and blueberries (but I wouldn't recommend having them at the same time!)

I hope this helps you, and any others who are looking for revision help too!
Good luck guys!

Answered Sun 3rd May, 2015 @ 08:42 by Phoebe_Lynch
  • 2 votes


NEVER panic and always be Optimistic because scientific studies prove that optimists score way better than the negative ones. 

ALWAYS believe in that you CAN DO IT! Although it seems impossible...

Aim for your best. E.g. - If your target is a grade B aim for an A or an A* where you will get ATLEAST a B/A. If your target is an A* then don't hesitate to aim for a certain percentage. Aim for like 100% or 95+% if you desparately wants an A* in the hope that you atleast get the minimum boundary of an A*.

Eat HEALTHY.... NEVER skip lunch or dinner and most importantly BREAKFAST!

Enjoy STUDYING or REVISION and don't do it for the sake of doing so...

USE both RIGHT and LEFT Brain!! This will make you 2x smarter and faster when it comes to learning. To do this: combine your study methods - highlight key things, draw mind maps, practice questions, read out loud, discuss with others and record yourself saing it loud and listen to it. THESE always WORK!!!

Finally, teach others what you have larnt. This may sound crazy but scientific research proves that 95% of what you teach others is stored in your brain for a very long time. Teaching could mean to your pet, young siblings or even a toy or a doll. Teaching means discussing or explaining what you know so do not hesitate!!



Answered Thu 12th March, 2015 @ 07:05 by Mathu123
Edited by Mathu123 on Thu 12th March, 2015 @ 07:07
  • -7 votes

do lots and lots of practice until you know it like the back of your hand!

Answered Tue 17th May, 2011 @ 22:21 by Georgina