hot air balloon high in the sky

Higher and Nat 5 Revision tips: five ways to turn around prelim results


Prelims have recently finished in most Scottish schools, and many students are now absorbing how they did in these ‘trial’ exams. Inevitably, some pupils’ grades may unfortunately not be quite what they had expected or hoped for.

If that’s your situation, the key thing is not to panic. Your final results are far from doomed. Your prelims need have no bearing at all on your final results – even if you failed one or more of your subjects. For example, with Higher English and Nat 5 not scheduled until mid-May, there’s still plenty of time to turn things around.

Schools use prelims to help them identify which students need additional support, and in which areas. It makes sense, therefore, to use them yourself in a similar way.

revision cards with poetry quotes

Prepare a revision card for each of the set Scottish poems

Here are our top five tips for converting disappointing prelims into final exam success:

  • Don’t dwell on any poor results

While there’s still plenty of time to prepare for your actual exams, there isn’t time to wallow, lamenting that your academic future is over. (It really isn’t.) Focus on the goals ahead, and start making changes right now. Don’t try to pretend these results didn’t happen – simply take them as a helpful indication that something needs to change.

  • Ask for help

Talk to your subject teachers and class tutors. And we don’t mean 30 seconds before dashing off to lunch… Make a proper appointment to discuss your concerns.

Where you don’t understand something, don’t pretend you’ve got it. Ask for the point to be explained again. Your classmates are probably wondering about exactly the same thing.

Equally, take full advantage of any after-school revision clubs or extra classes going. Imagine yourself receiving your results in August, and remember that any hours you put in now could well change the outcome and make (rather than break!) your summer.

  • Find out where you went wrong

Understand what was behind your results. Had you misread some of the questions? Did you remember to read them more than once to understand thoroughly what was required? Had you set enough time aside for different sections of the paper, especially those worth most marks? In maths, had you shown your workings? In history or modern studies, did you offer enough evidence to support all your arguments?

  • Make a plan – and stick to it

Does your revision timetable itself need revision in light of your prelim results? Make a realistic plan you can and will stick to, allowing extra time for going over those areas which need most effort or which your prelims have identified as areas of weakness. Make sure you cover everything the exam is likely to require you to know. Don’t focus on just a couple of topics in the fond hope that the ones you’ve not covered ‘don’t come up’. A certain law (which shall remain nameless) dictates they probably will…

  • Look after number one

We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again. Look after yourself – get enough sleep and exercise, eat sensibly and drink enough water. But also make time for hanging out with friends and family and just relaxing, not to mention extra-curricular activities such as drama, sports or music.

Finally, know your worth and work hard to ensure your results reflect all the effort you’ve put in. That way, you’ll be able to look forward to results day in August with a clear conscience, safe in the knowledge that you gave these exams your absolute best shot.

exam revision highlighters and revision sheet

Highlighter pens can make dull revision a little more interesting, especially if you use them judiciously…

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.