Top 10 tips for post-mock exam results progress

By Kate Gibson, Active Revision Course Director

Studying is only one part of exam success. You have to attack revision from all angles and make sure that your whole body contributes. A healthy body and mind which is well rested, well fed and fit can support your brain through the tough times ahead much better than one which is exhausted, and lacking in nutrients. Your revision needs to be efficient and effective and the best time to start is NOW!

1. WHAT ARE YOU MISSING?

Once you get your mock papers back, read the markers comments carefully and make a list of exactly what you could have done to get a higher grade. If the comment is brief or difficult to understand go and talk directly to your teachers. Where do your knowledge gaps lie? What skills need to be worked on before the real exam? Do it this week before you forget!

2. GET ACTIVE

Start good habits now. Recent evidence has proved that the mind focuses better if study is broken up with exercise. Everyday do something aerobic which you enjoy to get your heart pumping such as running, dancing, swimming or cycling.

3. PLAN DON’T CRAM

Research shows that people remember things much better if they are given time without pressure. You have time now as the exams are still a few months away. Create a calendar showing the Easter holidays, when study leave starts and when each of your exams are and create a realistic schedule which includes all your subjects, time to rest and time to move.

4. EAT BLUEBERRIES AND AVOCADO

Sit down with your parents and google brain boosting foods. Select ones you enjoy and build them into your weekly meals. This will nourish your overworked grey matter as you head towards the summer. Eating healthy snacks will give you more energy than junk and stodge (top tip: dark chocolate is a brain booster!)

5. FIND SOME VARIETY

Test out different ways to revise. Sitting at a desk may not be the best way for you to learn. Record topics and questions on your phone and walk around your garden talking to yourself, get your family to ask you questions, team up with classmates and teach each other a topic.

6. BREATHE

Schedule in mindfulness activities to calm your body and mind. Stress is not helpful for memory. Learning to manage your stress now means you will have better chance of conquering it when exam nerves try to choke you.

7. DO ACTIVE REVISION

You have to be engaged with your revision, just reading is very ineffective, the best way is to do practice questions from past papers to train your brain, get a feel for timing and also discover what you don’t know. Get your teacher to mark them or find mark schemes online.

8. SLEEP

Get to bed early in these next few weeks so that you are fully alert in the final lessons. Sleep is essential for your brain to function properly. Minimise screen time before bed as the blue light stimulates your brain at a time when you want it to be feeling sleepy.

9. GIVE YOUR PHONE A BREAK

Learn to turn on the ‘do not disturb’ setting on your phone, or better still leave it in another room whilst you are revising so you aren’t tempted to look at it. But don’t spend every revision break on it - honestly what is more important at this time: your mates on social media or resting and refocusing your mind ready to keep revising for the most important exams of your life so far?

10. BE EFFECTIVE AND EFFICIENT

Revise in short bursts with active brain breaks in between. After 90 minutes the brain stops taking in new things so get up, get outside and get moving. Getting into good habits now puts you firmly on the path to success in the summer. Good Luck!

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