Five tips for maximising exam revision

The first working week of 2015 means that many peoples’ thoughts will no doubt turn to what lies ahead in the coming year.

For parents, teachers and of course pupils, mock GCSE exams are now not far away, so we wanted to share Five Tougher Minds tips for maximising revision. They will help preparation for mocks and for the real thing, later in the year. The tips are drawn from the award-winning Personal Brain Management programme that has been successfully implemented at Colfe’s School in London.

The programme is delivering a wide-range of benefits, including improved exam results. They peaked this year, with the school gaining its highest ever number of GCSE A or A* grades.

Here are the five key revision tips:

  1. EXERCISE BEFORE YOU SIT DOWN TO REVISE – this will release brain-derived neurotrophic factor substances, making it easier to learn. Exercise could be a 15 minute walk, a short run, or some press-ups and sit-ups.
  2. HAVE A CLEAR PLAN – how are you are going to approach revision? We suggest breaking each hour into three 20-minute sessions, revising a different subject in each 20-minute period. This gives a better chance of turning neurological “cobwebs in to cables”.
  3. WRITE DOWN SOME CLEAR GOALS – use a post-it note before you start revising. This will engage your dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, making it easier to concentrate. Goals could focus on how long you are going to revise for, exactly which topics you will revise or what distraction you need to remove to help you concentrate.
  4. KEEP TESTING YOURSELF – test yourself throughout the course of each revision session, and always at the end. You need to grow neurological connections to help gain the marks which are available in each exam paper. This means that you have to practise getting information out of your brain onto a piece of paper, in the same way you will be required to, in each exam you sit.
  5. REFLECT AT THE END OF EACH REVISION SESSION – write down three things that you learnt and did well during the session, and one thing that you want to improve during your next session. Also rank ,out of 10 , how much effort you put in. Doing this will help you to engage your medial prefrontal cortex, which helps build confidence and sustain, or improve, your performance for your next session.

These tips are based on the latest neuroscience and will ensure revision is underpinned by appropriate effort, is effective as possible and is efficient as it can be. We hope you find them useful.

If you feel Tougher Minds can help you or your organisation, or if you would like to know more about our performance programmes for education or business, please contact us today.

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