Caitlin, one of our student bloggers, shares her top tips for surviving your exams

Friday, May 30, 2014 12:00 AM

Year 12 student blogger, Caitlin, shares her top tips for surviving your exams.

Welcome once again to my blog! For anyone taking GCSEs, AS or A Levels, here are some things that have been useful for me and my friends when revising...

Post-It Notes

Now, I know what you’re thinking, aren’t these boring, beige rectangles? They can be, but they also come in a huge variety of shapes and sizes. e.g. pieces of toast, space invaders etc. My current favourite are hand-shaped. These have the advantage that you can fold the digits so as to reflect your current mood. Fold down all the fingers and leave the thumb sticking up as if to say ‘hey, I like’ or ‘well done’. Alternatively you can fold down the thumb and some of the fingers, leaving an altogether different arrangement that may reflect your true feelings about a particularly difficult subject... 

Post-It notes can be surprisingly useful for sticking pieces of revision anywhere and everywhere. They are really good for those tricky facts and figures that keep fluttering out of your head like dandruff on a windy day. Finding it impossible to remember when Richard III was crowned? (July 6th 1483). Stick a note on the bathroom mirror, on your headboard, inside the door of the cupboard where you keep the cereal. Heck, everyone knows that Richard III ate Choco-Pops for breakfast in Plantagenet Britain.

Flash cards

These are Post-It notes’ bigger but poorer cousins, as they aren’t sticky and can be made out of any old card (even an empty and discarded Choco-Pop box will do). Shove them in your pocket and get them out any time that you find yourself having to waste time through no fault of your own, e.g. waiting for a bus.

Mind maps

These are a good way of ‘shoe-horning’ a whole topic onto a single page and for linking things together. If mind maps do it for you, I am guessing that you were one of those Duke of Edinburgh expedition ‘get up and let’s punch a hole in the day’ kinda folk whose brains are ‘hard wired for branchy things on paper peppered with coloured symbols,’ a.k.a. a map!

I personally find mind maps very annoying because my brain is ‘linear’, so I prefer to revise from lists, or by singing through my notes in silly voices (yes, really).

Finally, when you reach the exam venue, don’t forget to take along some ‘virtual earplugs’ because you’ll need them. Beware people who hang about outside the exam hall and say:

  • ‘Revision? I haven’t opened a single book.’ (translation - I have opened at least twenty!)
  • ‘Revision? I haven’t opened a book since my last lesson.’ (translation - that was yesterday when I left my personal tutor’s house).
  • ‘REVISION?! Don’t tell me you haven’t read the article on cereal crop rotation in the USA and how this relates to the struggle for identity in contemporary literature.’

Smile and reply “Yeah, I got it covered. Post-it note on the kitchen cupboard door says it is all down to how EU regulations affect the sale of Choco-Pops in post-Plantagenet Britain. Surely, you knew that?”

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