exam success starts with effective revision

Ten top tips for exam success in prelims (or mocks)

Improve your chances of exam success by starting revision now

To enjoy exam success start revision soon

Whether you’ve had your autumn mid-term break or are still looking forward to the holiday, at this time of year your thoughts are no doubt turning to prelims (or ‘mocks’ if you’re in England or Wales)…

Here are our 10 top tips for how you can best prepare for these examinations:

  1. Take them seriously

These tests may not be the real thing, but you need to treat them as though they were, tempting though it may be to think that prelims or mocks ‘don’t matter’. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security – putting in the hours now will seriously reduce stress next year at exam time.

  1. Try new techniques

The fact that these are trial exams means you can afford to experiment a little with different study styles. For some, that may involve taking copious notes, doing lots of reading and working from past papers; others may prefer to record and then listen to information.

Equally, think about where you study best – be that at home, in the library or at an after-school club. What’s your most productive time of day? (NB: If you’re more night owl than morning lark, remember you still need to sleep!)

  1. Learn from your mistakes

Absolutely everyone makes mistakes, but these exams offer an important chance to learn from them, and to put any feedback from your teachers into practice. Prelims highlight the areas you need to focus on, while offering reassurance on the topics and skills you’ve already mastered.

  1. Avoid overworking

It may sound a cliché, but studying for the big public exams is a marathon, not a sprint.  And while you do need to work hard, it won’t pay off if you burn out – you still have to get through the next few months until the ‘real’ exams. Take regular breaks and make time for sports, music and other hobbies, as well as just being with family and friends. Pace yourself!

Start revising early for exam success


5. Get into good habits now

After mid-term is a perfect time to get into good habits (if you haven’t already!) so you’re all set when you finally sit your papers. That means devising a proper revision timetable, finding your study rhythm with a good daily routine, and organising your workspace. That way, nothing is left until the last minute.

  1. All covered

Your revision timetable needs to cover everything, including (and perhaps especially!) those subjects you’re less keen on. It’s always worth getting your least favourite topics out of the way earlier on in a revision day, then ‘rewarding’ yourself with something you enjoy later on.

  1. Be resourceful

Are you making the most of all available resources? That could mean past papers, books and online resources or support from teachers, family and friends. And don’t forget that ‘available resources’ extends to emotional support – be sure to talk to someone if you’re feeling worried or stressed. Remember, if you are feeling anxious, there are plenty of people you can talk to including friends, family, teachers, tutors, school guidance staff or your local GP.

  1. Get the balance right

At this stage, you still need to complete exam coursework and any homework assignments the school sets. These all need to be done, so don’t focus on revision exclusively at the expense of other ongoing academic work.

  1. The six-week rule

As a general rule, a six-week run-up to your prelims should give you enough time to revise everything sensibly without feeling rushed. Working backwards from your exam dates, plan your revision timetable accordingly.

  1. Don’t panic

With sensible forward planning, you can avoid reaching a last-minute panic station. While no one can afford to be complacent, you do still have time in hand to give yourself an excellent chance of success, provided you start putting in the legwork now!

For more advice about revision tips and techniques, check out this previous post about how to revise effectively and remember to follow The Learning Cauldron on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.

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