Our Guide To A* Revision Habits – Notes and Past Exam Papers
Notes and past exam papers really do matter! In this edition of our continuing revision habit guide we cover how best to use them to get your A* grades.
Step 4: Pull your class and course notes together
Before you go any further, get all your revision papers in one place. That’s your course materials, your own notes, your assignments and any other resources you think will be useful.
That done, it’s time to organise. Find the course specification and make sure your notes cover everything. Any gaps? Ask your tutor to help you fill those in.
Ideally, you’ll be working from your own notes, and we’re sure those notes are amazing. But, on the off-chance they’re actually a bit rubbish (too much doodling, not enough note-taking) then it’s worth asking your tutor again for a hand. Alternatively, you could buy a study guide; it will take you through everything you need for the exam. Just don’t cheap out and buy a second-hand one, it might be out-of-date.
Step 5: Check past exam papers and mark schemes
Past papers, mark schemes, examiner’s reports. These are your secret weapons to bossing your revision. Together, they paint a pretty accurate picture of what the exam’s going to throw at you and how to handle it.
Past papers introduce you to how the paper might be structured and worded. Are there sections to the paper? Are there question choices? How much time should you spend on each section?
Going through these papers will help you understand what to expect as well as highlighting any questions your notes don’t cover. Past papers are scattered all over the web. Next, look at how the mark schemes work. Looking through these will show you where marks are gained and lost, as well as how best to answer each question. Keep an eye out for key terms, which may be essential for marks.
Examiners’ reports are real goldmines; they’re an insight into the mind of the examiner. Basically they list all the questions from an exam, along with notes on exactly what students should have done to get the top grades. Read these and you will know what examiners think is important.
Step 6: Write up your study notes
Done all that prep? Good work; now you’re ready to get started. Kick off by creating revision notes that summarise the crucial information. You’re looking for notes that simplify what you need to remember, structured in a logical way with clear headings and subheadings that make them easy to read.
Once you’ve got these written up, you’ve got a quick and easy way of checking your knowledge. Just read them through, then cover up sections with a book and test yourself. Be tough and honest with yourself, you need to be confident this stuff is really sinking in.
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