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Christmas revision tips

Life with Mocks: our top five Christmas revision tips

You are not alone… mock exams come as a shock for many students. You might have already completed them or perhaps you’ve got them in January. Whatever your circumstance, the Christmas break is a crucial time for reflection and independent revision. For all students, better results are theirs for the taking through planning, effort and determination. Students should be able to improve their subject results by 1 or 2 grades in the next 4/5 months. Here are our top five tips for using the Christmas holidays as a spring board to great GCSE results:

  1. Reflect on your mocks
  2. Have a plan: Stop procrastinating and get started
  3. Work little and often
  4. Get active
  5. Reward your efforts

1. Reflect on your Mocks:
Whether you’ve done your mocks or not, to improve your results you will need to think about how you previously studied and revised. Answer the questions below to help you identify what is working well for you and how your revision can be improved.
Looking back:

  • What revision strategies worked well for me?
  • What strategies did I find challenging?
  • What helped me to manage my time?
  • What were my main distractions?

Planning forwards:

  • Which new revision strategies will I test over the holiday?
  • Which subjects do I need to prioritise?
  • How long will I revise for each day, and when?
  • How will I manage my distractions?

2. Have a plan: Stop procrastinating and get started
Get all your sport commitments, parties and family dinners on a calendar or timetable so you can see what blocks of time you have available for revision and other purposes. Having a good time over the holiday is important as well, so plan this in. Take a day or two off after the last day of term, you’ve earned it. Now organise your notes and get started with some structured and effective revision.

3. Work little and often
There are different ways you can approach your timing of revision over the Christmas break. One method is to work an hour every day, early in the morning or afternoon, and gradually chip away at your subjects over the holiday. Another is to do long, intensive revision sessions over a few days. It depends on how you work best. Remember, whether you do a regular hour a day or focus on a handful of complete revision days, don’t forget that short, active breaks are essential to help your brain and memory take in the revision.

4. Get active with your revision
Research shows that actively engaging with your revision helps to aim understanding and retention. Try not to spend hours staring at a screen or a book if you’re not actively learning anything. Keep your brain alert and your attention focused by changing tasks and mixing up your learning method and revision strategies. For example, condense your notes onto a revision card then create a mnemonic device to sequence the key information. When reading notes or textbooks, do so with a pen in your hand; identify and underline essential information as you go. The more you engage with your learning, the better your results will be.

5. Reward your efforts
Having an incentive will keep you going. Reward yourself each time you tick off another topic, rather than just another hour of revision. Whether your reward is an afternoon movie, a bit of Christmas shopping or a game on the Xbox, adopting a strategy of completing topics will ensure that you stay focused and use your time effectively.


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