Exam Techniques – What Works?

It’s happened again. The exam season is upon us in only a handful of weeks. GCSE and AS exams start in only two months time. Coursework should be finished by now, so should the science ISAs. All that is left is the revision.

I’m often asked about revision techniques by parents and students alike. There is no easy answer to this one, as there is no ‘one size fits all’. My response is always “revise in the way that is best suited to helping you!” The method that your best friend uses, or your older brother, or even your Dad (back in the dark ages of slide rules and log tables) may not be the best method for YOU.

Personally, I like mind maps. I like the blank sheet of paper with the topic in the middle. I like all of the random words and phrases littering the page, with colours and arrows, highlights and asterisks. It works for me, but is undecipherable to anyone else. My daughter made flashcards and spent hours shuffling them around in the days before her own science A levels. I couldn’t see the point of them. One student made postcard-size crib sheets and put them all in a photo album.

What we actually did as individuals didn’t really matter. What mattered was that we had each found a strategy pituitary worked for us. It enabled us to go through our notes and make sense of them, the re-enforcing the learning from months before and allowing us to identify areas needing further work. You may already know what works for you – but it’s not quite too late to try something new. Now you understand Exam Techniques – What Works?