Updated: Mar 28
Preparing for you GCSEs is stressful, fact! Trying to revise multipy subjects at once, making sure you understand the topics and high scoring elements, knowing where to turn to for help if you don`t... It can very quickly feel overwhelming.
Alongside that, remembering to take breaks, eat healthily, drink lots of water, get enough sleep and exercise can all leave you feeling very under-prepared for taking your GCSE exams.
Luckily, in this article, we have compiled a list of some super helpful tips and tricks as your GCSE preparation checklist, to make sure you walk into that exam hall feeling confident and prepared for success!
How do you learn?
This may seem like a simple question but actually, it's the hardest step. Once you know this, you are flying! Everyone has a preferred way of learning and revising, and when it comes to exams, every minute counts. Take some time to think about which methods you find the most useful to help you remember information.
For some, coloured flashcards, for others, recording information and listening to it on repeat... Whatever your method, you will only truly understand a topic when you know you can successfully teach it to someone else. Once you have finished your revision session with whatever method you choose, practice explaining it to someone as if they were an alien, or had never studied that subject before.
Finding the most useful way of revising will save you wasting time and will set you up for all of the future exams you might come across. We have an article here on the different types of learning [insert article]
Organisation is key
Be smart with your time and revision efforts. Build a revision schedule around your exam timetable and actually write it down. Writing it out is an extra step, but it helps put it in your memory. This way you know the priority order of the subjects to tackle and areas of weakness that need concentrating on - in relation to the order of your GCSE exams.
Prioritise revising for the closest exams, you have more time to focus on the later ones. Be smart with your timetables and avoid what could be, a very heavy, extra stress.
Organisation is always key
Preparing for your GCSEs is more than just knowing your timetable. Organise EVERYTHING and this will be your future you's greatest accomplishment.
Organisation helps your mind stay clear and focused. Make sure that your notes are in order and in one place per subject (and that you can read your handwriting). Have a clear space without distractions that you can study in and keep it tidy.
Procrastination is the devil when it comes to exams and nothing gets your procrastination juices flowing like a messy room or desk full of fun distractions. Having a clear, designated area to study in will automatically tell your brain "I'm here to revise" and will allow you to maintain your concentration efficiently.
Put health first whilst preparing for GCSEs
Making sure you are getting good quality sleep and keeping yourself healthy may be at the bottom of your priority list, but we promise it will help you feel better prepared and more relaxed.
It's hard to focus, let alone absorb information when you are exhausted, so it is crucial to get a solid night's sleep. This means going to bed at a reasonable time and waking up at a reasonable time. Establish a good routine. As tempting as it can be, you can stay up late binging netflix series after exams are finished. Remind yourself this is just for a very short period of time and you want to give yourself the best chance for success in passing your GCSEs.
Eating well and drinking lots of water is an important factor in this health-first approach too. Although you may not be as physical during the time of exams; your brain is working harder than it has had to before. Have you ever heard of the term "brain food"? Make sure you are feeding your brain with nutritious food so that you can deal with fatigue, stress, and any other exam "symptoms".
Studies have found when there is a water loss of around 2% of body weight then memory, attention and mood are adversely affected.
Be your own best friend
This last tip almost goes without mentioning. Almost. But it is an important one and sometimes we need to remind ourselves of it. Any exam period, GCSEs, A-levels, driving tests, or even tests you do as an adult can be some of the biggest challenges we have to face and some of the most stressful times in our lives.
It becomes 100x harder when we talk negatively to ourselves or don't help ourselves. Remind yourself daily how great you are doing and that you are giving yourself every possible opportunity to do great in your exams and get great results.
If there's a topic you are still stuck on, seek out help. Don`t struggle in silence. Speak to your tutors, ask a friend, and do your own independent research if that helps. The same goes for anything in life, it is true when you say a problem shared is a problem solved. Listening to how someone else explains something may give you that alternative perspective that gets it to click.
Exam periods are challenging for everyone in different ways and it's important to know that alongside normal revision, there are extra steps you can take to help yourself feel prepared, less stressed, and ready for sitting your GCSE exams. For extra help and advice check out the Maths, English, and French courses and help that is offered on our website.