How to get As in your exams
Here is how I study or revise for exams:
1) Condensing my notes
So my subjects are normally split into topics and then into chapters. So for example; Maths - Calculus - Coordinate Geometry. So to begin condensing I would make notes on each chapter on an A4 page (bullet points, mind maps etc). I condense notes by reading through the textbook and my notes from throughout the year and picking whatever I feel is important. (Remember to think: “could I write this/use this in an exam?” to determine whether it is important) Then I would condense these notes and create an A4 page on the whole topic (these notes will be very broad but should contain the hardest to remember information). You could then condense the whole subject onto one page, if you wanted to.
2) Flashcards/ Cue cards
Flashcards should have questions on one side and answers on the other. The questions and the answers should be short. Flashcards only really work if the subject is information based (like history, some parts of science, religious studies etc). For languages, having your first language on one side and your second language on the other will help with vocabulary.
As you use flashcards place the ones you know and answer immediately in one pile (“easy” pile) and the rest in another (“hard” pile). Each session continue to go through the “hard” pile until it is non-existent. Go through these flashcards as much as possible before bed.
3) (essay based subjects) Write plans
Right, essays are my worst nightmare but this year I got an A in my essay based subject because of this technique.
Find every past exam question and compile them. Add to this list any questions you think could come up this year.
Now using marked essays from your teacher and hopefully with some help from them, you should know the perfect structure for the essays you will need to write. Using this main structure you need to write a VERY brief plan for each question that might come up. These brief plans help you to think about each question, so you’ve already created an opinion and thought about what evidence you need to know before the exam. It also helps you to know what information is unusable in an exam and therefore what not to put on the summary pages.
4) Practise questions
Self explanatory really… Maths subjects, just practise, practise, practise. For essay subjects, use your brief plans and write TIMED essays. Then after a while stop using the plans and just do questions from scratch. If timing is a problem, use a stopwatch and time how long it takes to write the essay. Then work on going faster. The more you practise the faster you will be able to go. (I cut ten minutes off my essay times in a month using this method, something about watching time tick away helps you write faster).
5)“Don’t Forget” page
This is a page of A4 that contains everything you always forgot/got wrong in your practise questions. It should also contain things that always came up frequently in the flashcard “hard” pile. This is the page that you hold in the queue outside the exam and throw in the bin as you walk past going into the hall. You should make this page the day before or the morning before the exam. Once this page has been completed forget any other studying and focus on relaxing and learning this one page.
Using these methods you should be able to ace your exams with relatively little stress and effort on the day.