With public exams just around the corner and students faced with the prospect of sitting GCSE and A-level exams for the first time since 2019, Chris Randell, Principal at Abbey College Manchester, shares his advice for students preparing for exams.
In so very many ways, the last two years have been far from normal. We first went into lockdown 2 years ago – when the Y13s were in Y11, and the Y11s were in Y9; a very disrupted schooling has ensued. Online lessons, remote teaching, bubbles, tiers, masks, hand-sanitiser – the list is almost endless.
Following an unprecedented period of time students are now preparing for exams for the first time, and while examination boards have sent out ‘Advance Information’ to assist with areas of focus, I firmly believe in the value of focusing and enhancing study skills.
It is important to remember when preparing for the forthcoming period, that it is quality of work, rather than quantity of work, that ultimately will have the biggest impact. At Abbey College Manchester we like to focus on the 5Ps for exams:
Plan your intensive revision periods. Amongst the active note taking, self-testing, recall, analytical and discursive writing, also plan in breaks. You need time to reflect, rest and relax – go out for a walk, a run, or cycle ride, and don’t forget to plan in sleep, food and social time too.
Prepare your work space and routine. Silence works best for revision despite what you may think. Are you an early-bird or a night owl? Do not work at 6am if you know you work best in the evenings but, don’t work late if you are going to be up at 6am. Do what works best for you.
Process your revision. Do not just sit and read your book or your notes. Make notes, draw diagrams, mind maps, flashcards; be active.
Practise exam questions. Learning lots and absorbing information will not be beneficial if you do not know how to apply your knowledge and answer that 20-mark question at the end of the paper.
Persevere, don’t give up! It is hard, it’s meant to be. You will be fine. Don’t give up.