It is very easy to quickly put work in your file in a random order, which means you build up stacks of paper which can be confusing to understand.

Here are some tips to keep your work in order:

  • Have a ring binder, plastic wallets and some dividers
  • Arrange your class notes and handouts in topics
  • Make a contents page for each topic
  • Have a reference page at the end of each topic for useful websites, text books, extra-reading etc.

Consolidate your notes

Do you really understand all the information in your file? Or have you forgotten what you did 3 weeks ago?

  • Check you have all the information you need. If you have anything missing speak to your teacher or another student to help catch up
  • What are the main points that are essential? Go through your notes underlining or highlighting key words/concepts – then make a list of them on a separate sheet
  • If you are a visual learner, create a mind map that sums up the key concepts in a topic – this could also be used in revision
  • If you are a kinaesthetic learner you may want to produce summary cards for each topic or design a Power point presentation which brings out the key concepts

Practice Exam Questions

Once you have covered part of your course you can attempt to answer exam questions.

  • Log onto the exam board website and find some past papers
  • Look through your notes and find previous questions you’ve answered – try them again from memory.
  • Download the exam specification from the exam board website where you should find example mark schemes.
  • Ask your teacher for past questions.

Extra research

All examiners state that the students who ‘read around’ their subjects get better grades in their exams.

  • Use the computer facilities to ‘google’ a particular topic
  • Read other chapters in your textbooks to prepare for future topics
  • See whether your local library has relevant books, if not, request to order ones you are interested in
  • Make sure you know the exam board of your subject and log onto their website. You can find many resources, past questions and mark schemes.


In some subjects there are modular exams in January. In others all the exams are in June – however the earlier you revise, the more able you will be to recall information. Revision should be an ongoing activity throughout your AS and A2 courses.

  • Prepare for timed essays or topic tests well in advance
  • Ask your teacher when your next assessment will be so that you can be ready
  • If you don’t do very well in an assessment, attempt it again in one of your study periods.


There are stressful times in your life when you need to relax. Learning to relax can be a skill in itself and can take time and effort before you are able to unwind, but if you practice some techniques you will find it easier to de-stress. Each person is different; what works for one may not work for another.

The secret is to find a way that works for you. The more you practice the technique, the easier it will become to de-stress yourself. Some of the techniques can be used in the middle of an exam, for example, when you feel a moment of panic coming on.

Simple Ways to unwind

  • Long soaks in the bath with calm music and candles
  • Massage to relieve tension
  • Exercise
  • Music
  • Yoga/ Meditation
  • Talking to others

Deep Breathing

  • Breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose and count to 3
  • Breathe out slowly through your mouth and count to 5
  • Relax your shoulders and upper chest muscles when you breathe
  • This will slow your heart rate down and start to reduce your blood pressure
  • Only repeat this exercise a couple of times and you will feel the difference

Relaxation Exercise

  • Find a comfortable place to lie or sit. You may find it helpful to have relaxing music playing.
  • Close your eyes and focus on your breathing, then slowly tense and then relax each part of your  body
  • Legs – straighten your legs and bend your feet towards your face, hold for 3 and relax
  • Buttocks – Squeeze your buttocks together tightly, hold for 3 and relax
  • Stomach – tense your stomach muscles as tightly as you can, hold for 3 and relax
  • Chest – take a deep breath, hold for 3 then relax
  • Hands – clench your fists, hold for 3 and then relax
  • Arms – bend your elbows and tense your arms, feel the tension in your upper arm and then relax
  • Shoulders – shrug your shoulders up, hold for 3 and relax
  • Neck – press your head back and roll it from side to side slowly and relax
  • Face – screw your face up and hold for 3 and relax
  • Now that you have relaxed every part of your body, you can begin to visualise yourself in a calm and happy place, e.g. on a secluded beach on a warm day. Close your eyes and try to feel the sun on your face and the sand between your toes. Imagine the sounds and the smells. Feel all the peace and calmness around you. Lie for a while and then slowly open your eyes. Your body rhythms will have slowed down so don’t get up too quickly as you may be a little dizzy.