18 killer revision tips for GCSE and A-Level

Revision season is approaching so here our are killer revision tips for both GCSE and A Level.

Plan ahead and start early to avoid freaking out

Start early to avoid cramming later. Once you've got you exam dates work backwards to plan your revision well ahead of time. The longer you give yourself the less pressure you'll be under throughout the exams and you'll have time to focus, get help and go over all you need to know.

Know the syllabus

Make sure you know exactly what it is you'll be tested on. For the same subject there may be various exam boards and even various exams offered by the same board so it's not always straight forward: You don't want to be revising for questions and topics you'll never be tested on! If in doubt, ask your teacher or tutor.


revise in showervia pinterest.com
Even the shower isn't off limits.


Organise your revision time so that you focus more on your troublesome topics and tough subjects. You don't need to waste time going over areas that you already know inside out.

Find your golden time

Figure out when you're most productive and schedule your revision then. It will vary from person to person and if it's 3am in the morning, so be it! Just make sure you catch up on your sleep the next day.

Pace yourself

You'll revise far easier if you take your time and pace yourself. Organise revision into small sessions up to 30 minutes with regular breaks to eat, drink, relax and just have some general time away from it all.


Teach friends or family

Teaching others is perhaps one of the best ways to actually revise and learn yourself. Get with a group of friends and see who needs help on what topics and teach each other or as a group. You can also grab a friend or family member who doesn't do your course and give them a lesson to help your revision.

Watch some videos

Don't just read notes or revision books, get interactive by watching videos too. There's no doubt a YouTube channel dedicated to revision notes on your course!

Make flash cards

Flash cards are bitesize revision notes that you can look at and refer back to in a bid to make things sink in. Even if you don't actually use them that often, the process of making them is itself helpful in helping your memory.

Practice exam questions

A must for revision of any topic or exam from GCSEs to University, look at and complete past papers. These will give you an idea of how the exam works, the questions to expect and ultimate test how well your revision is going. Take note of any specific questions you struggled on and go back over those topics in your next revision session.

Lock away distractions

You want to make sure that you keep yourself focused so lock away any distractions, turn off your phones, disconnect from the internet and tell your family or room mates to leave you alone!

Make up some mnemonics

Improve your memory with mnemonics. Make up acronyms or acrostics to help you remember key ideas. A classic science mnemonic most will probably be aware of if OIL RIG, which describes the difference between Oxidation and Reduction: Oxidation Is Loss, Reduction Is Gain.

Ask for help

Never be afraid to ask for help be it from teachers, friends or even online forums, almost certainly someone else has the same query.

Stay healthy!

Stay healthy during your revision time and the lead up to exams: Avoid energy drinks, take lots of water and follow a healthy revision diet, as well as looking at this piece on brain foods for students. And sleep lots!

Take a nap

Talking of which, take a nap. Yes - we're actually counting this as a revision technique. It's been shown that sleeping improves memory so that 30 minute afternoon doze may be helpful!

Prepare for the exam

Revision shouldn't just be about going over the content of your course, also make time to revise your general exam technique to get the best marks.

Read more: > Improve exam technique: Top Exam Tips

Create an exam day cheat sheet

Finally draw up an exam day cheat sheet: A piece of A5 or A4 paper that contains key facts, formula, ideas or keywords you need to make sure you remember and have sunk in. Customise it for yourself to feature what you're struggling with and be sure to take it with you on the day of the exam to refer to before you sit the paper.

Reward yourself!

All work and no play will make for a VERY stressed out student so reward yourself with whatever you want for, say, every hour of revision you complete. It can be time on Facebook, games or just food!

About the author: Thomas Brella

Thomas Brella is the founder of Student Hacks, starting the website in 2013 while studying at the University of Brighton to share tips and tricks on life as a cash-strapped student. He's now spent over 10 years scoping out the best ways to live on a budget

Follow on Twitter
Follow on Twitter
Like on Facebook