Top Ten A-Level Revision Tips

By Matt Jones in Student Life –

Yes, it’s summer, yes, it’s festival season soon and yes, there are more exciting things to be doing than reading a mountain of textbooks. But going to a festival, or partying in the sun (read rain), won’t get you into the uni you want. So, don’t despair, here’s all you need to know to get great A-Levels and get into a great uni – it’s raining anyway!

1. Organisation

This one’s a bit of a no-brainer; if you approach your A-Level revision in an organised manner, you’re more likely going to smash it and get the grades you need to get into your preferred university. And that’s what it’s all about. From the offset, approach revision responsibly – no skiving, no excuses! Boo!
No doubt your teachers have been banging on about this for what seems like forever, and now you’re probably bored of hearing it, but the best way to ensure you stay on top of that daunting A-Level revision is by making a revision timetable. Splitting your revision into tiny little chunks will make it look much less scary and more achievable. So, first, whack in all of your unavoidable commitments (to be honest, I’d put off as many as you can, for now) then timetable specific times each day – be realistic, don’t just cram all your revision into one whole day, it’ll kill you.

2. Tell Everybody

After making your timetable, stick it up right where everyone can see it – on the fridge, on your blog, on Facebook – anywhere where people can see what you’re supposed to be doing, and when. It sounds weird, but knowing that everybody can see your commitments actually helps you to get down to it. Plus, it’s a great kick up the behind when someone reminds you you’re supposed to be revising Psychology rather than looking at funny cats on YouTube.

3. Give Yourself Plenty of Time

Start early. Start as early as you can – especially for the subjects that you find most difficult. Simples.

4. Assessment Objectives

Make it your goal to understand exam questions. Often, different questions are designed to test different skills so, a fantastic way to exercise your question answering dexterity, is to be aware of the assessment objectives. If you recognise the question type, you’re more likely to be able to give the markers exactly what they want. Assessment Objectives are available on the exam board websites (so you need to know which exam board’s exam you’ll be sitting).
On top of this, a bright idea would be to look at past papers, lots of past papers. Do them and check the answers/get your teacher to mark them. You should also be able to find past papers on the exam board’s website.

5. Go With the Flow

Make flow charts, diagrams, posters, charts and mind-maps – that sort of thing – then post them everywhere. Try recreating them from memory. Another way to kick start the old grey matter is by defining a colour coding system – highlight important facts/dates and names. Also, post-it note every-where with important facts.

6. Brain Foods

So, the popular saying goes, ‘you are what you eat’ and going by that, eating junk food when revising will turn your brain to well, junk! What you put into your body really does affect the mind. Don’t be a fool, get on the brain foods, be a brainiac and smash your A-Levels.

Memory Boosting Foods:

Fish – fish being a ‘brain food’ may be a bit of a cliché, but there might be some truth in it; there’s been a lot of research, all of which points to fish, especially the oily kind, being awesome for memory. Ok, so fish is not to everyone’s liking – if you can’t think of anything worse than tucking into a huge plate of kippers then take Omega 3 supplements (you can even get vegetarian ones).
Whole-grains – such as wholegrain pasta, cereals (no, not Frosties) et al, will help boost short-term memory as they are bursting with B-vits.

Other foods that’ll ensure your brain is firing as bright as a strip of burning magnesium are pumpkin seeds – which contain enough zinc to galvanize your garage – and eggs, brown rice, nuts and seeds which are great sources of vitamins. Eating these foods will give your memory the kick it needs.

7. Energy

Keeping with the food theme (I’m getting really hungry now) let’s talk about energy: Red Bull may very well give you wings, but the effects don’t last very long – pretty soon you’ll find yourself crashing down to earth. Alas, continued drinking will not grow you more wings – it’ll just make your head hurt. The best way to keep alert is by loading up on bananas – get peeling!

8. Take Breaks

Don’t overwork your poor brain – take regular breaks – watch Jeremy Kyle, do a bit of Facebook trolling (no, don’t!), walk the dog – whatever. Taking time out allows your brain to process all of the information you’ve been stuffing into it.

9. Go See Your Friends

No, no! I’m not talking about skiving completely – start a group or invite a friend over to help you revise. It helps if they are doing the same A-Levels as you. Have a party, eat crisps, watch TV but share notes, test each other, and swap tips – and who knows, maybe a bit of laughter might help it all stick in your mind.

10. Turn Off Your Computer/Phone

Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and friends will not help you revise. That is all.