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Preparing to Revise

A Guide for Pupils in Year 7

The purpose of Year 7 Summer examinations are:

  • for your teachers to assess the progress you have made this year
  • for you to experience examinations at AGGS for the first time and to practise revision and examination techniques
  • The results are not used to put you into sets of different ability (we do not do this at AGGS). There are lots of other opportunities throughout the year to demonstrate your ability and progress to your teachers, so please do not worry if you feel you have underachieved when you get your results.

What do I need to know before I start revising?

  • which subjects you have examinations in
  • when they are
  • where they are
  • which topics to revise
  • the equipment needed for each subject
  • You will receive a timetable of the examinations for your form from your form tutor. Check which room they will be in as it might not be your usual form room.

You willreceive a timetable of the examinations for your form from your form tutor.  Check which room they will be in as it might not be your usual form room.

You can ask your teachers in each subject for certain information about your examinations e.g. which topics will be covered or if this any special equipment you will need for that subject.  They will not be able to tell you what the questions will be, however!

Make sure you bring a clear pencil case or plastic bag for essential stationery (pens, pencils, rubber, ruler etc) to all your examinations.

Check that you have copied up notes from any lessons you may have missed due to illness, or music lessons, before you start to revise.

Where should I revise?

The perfect study environment should be…

  • calm and quiet
  • well lit
  • not too hot, not too cold
  • well ventilated (fresh air)
  • free from distractions – mobile phone, TV, other people, facebook , MSNsocial media etc

It should contain…

  • a table or desk
  • a comfortable chair
  • all revision equipment and notes
  • a drink. and possibly a snack

It should not contain…

  • your phone, or any other devices that are likely to distract you from revision!

It is important that you are comfortable when you are revising and that you are able to concentrate.

You can learn by association; thinking about the place in which you revise can help you to recall information in an examination.

It might be difficult for you to revise on your own in your bedroom all the time.  You could try the school library, or with a friend (but if you find revising with a friend distracting, avoid it!) You could try the school library, or with a friend either in person or online via Teams.

Listening to music while revising does help some people, but most tend to find it off-putting.  Some people do find some quiet background noise more helpful than silence.

You might like to give classical music a try; it’s supposed to improve your ability to concentrate!

How should I organise my revision?

Make your own revision timetable or a tick list of topics for each subject.

It is important to spend some time deciding what to revise when, so that you are fully prepared for every subject.

Use a diary or wall chart to organise the time you have available for revision.

Try to vary the subjects you are revising.

Try tackling the subject you least like / find most difficult first and working towards a preferred one, rather than leaving difficult topics to the end of the day.

Do not plan to revise too late into the evening – your revision will be much less effective if you are too tired.

What’s the best way to revise?

  • rewriting notes from your exercise book – however, this can be time consuming, and most of the below techniques work better for most people
  • typing notes
  • creating a set of flash cards
  • drawing mind maps
  • using mnemonics
  • reworking examples from your notes or textbook
  • reviewing previous pieces of work and teachers’ comments

Revision should be as active as possible.  Rather than copying out notes from lessons, try rewriting them in another way or reducing them to key words / phrases on revision (or ‘cue’) cards.

Some people find using different coloured pens or highlighters help them to remember when revising.

Mind maps are more detailed and complex spider diagrams, which help your brain to make connections within a topic area.  They can include pictures, colours and links or arrows.

You can invent your own mnemonic to help you remember key words in a topic, e.g. the order of points of a compass (Never Eat Shredded Wheat = North, East, South, West).

Looking back at previous work done in class or at home can be very useful.  Can you see where you went wrong last time?  What was it that earned you marks or praise from a teacher?

You can ask your teachers for advice on revision techniques in their subject area.

How long should I revise for?

  • Do not try to study all day (e.g. at the weekend)
  • Allow time for breaks for meals, relaxation, planned clubs or activities and exercise in your revision timetable
  • Take short breaks during revision for snacks & fresh air

Breaks and variety are important when revising.  If you revise for too long, your mind will start to drift.  Try revising for 25 minutes, then taking a 5 minute break before continuing for another 25 minutes before a longer break. Find what works for you.

What should I avoid?

  • leaving revision until the last minute – the sooner you start, the easier it will feel and the less likely you are to panic
  • reading notes over and over again – this is unlikely to stick in your mind – revision should be active
  • copying notes over and over again – this takes a long time, and is not very helpful
  • writing out homework and learning it off by heart – same again, this takes a long time, and is not very helpful
  • getting bored with revision – keep it varied
  • getting into a revision panic
  • getting bored with revision

You can avoid a lot of problems by producing a realistic, well thought-out revision timetable. It should include space for free time hobbies such as watching TV or planned clubs and activities. You should vary your revision schedule and take sensible breaks when you need them.

Work steadily.  Set yourself small targets each time you revise.  Invent little tests for yourself to keep revision interesting and satisfying.

Be positive and be wary of what classmates are saying about their revision. Don’t let others panic you, when you are working to your own, carefully worked-out schedule.

What should I be doing just before an exam?

The night before an exam…

  • get plenty of sleep the night before
  • pack your equipment the night before

On the day…

  • arrive in good time on the day
  • walking to school and getting fresh air can help wake you up
  • eat a good breakfast with complex carbohydrates, and bring healthy snacks
  • bring a water bottle, and drink steadily throughout the day

In the exam room…

  • read any instructions carefully before you start the exam
  • ask the teacher if you’re not sure about something before the exam begins
  • allow enough time for every question in the exam

What can my family/carers do to support me?

  • Provide a quiet study environment.
  • Help you construct a revision timetable.
  • If you share a bedroom, consider other places you can work, e.g. a parent/carer’s home office, a spare room, a relative’s house.
  • Be positive – particularly in moments of panic
  • Offer you help – particularly to test you.
  • Offer some incentives to work (but not bribes to do well!)
  • Consider taking you away from the house (or out of your bedroom) for some of your breaks.
  • Make sure you have a healthy balanced diet whilst revising.
  • Try to avoid tension / arguments, no matter how grumpy you are.

A message from your Mr Lovelady:

The most important advice I have is for you to try your best: exams don’t always run to plan, and we can learn just as much from our mistakes as from our successes.

Listen to the advice of your subject teachers, form tutors, parents and carers – they’ve all been through exams and know what they’re talking about! 

When you’re in the exam room, follow instructions from teachers and make sure you read the exam paper carefully.

Allow time to check your answers thoroughly at the end of the exam if you can.

Good luck everyone!

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Altrincham Grammar School for Girls
Cavendish Road, Bowdon,
Altrincham, Cheshire WA14 2NL
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