GCSE blog by Calderstones School student Will Lawrence
What did I expect?
Before my GCSE exams began, I felt well prepared because we had previously done many mock examinations in both Year 10 and early Year 11. This dramatically helped with my preparations as I fully understood how the exams were conducted which in turn helped settle any worries I had. I also expected the exam period to be extremely slow and stressful but on reflection it was the complete opposite.
Firstly, we began revising in many subjects during Year 11 once we had finished each course. At home I created a revision timetable around a month before the exams started. This was tailored to all eleven subjects I was studying and included what day I would revise each one and how long I would revise them for. Then two weeks before the first exam I started my revision plan, revising a minimum of two subjects a night. I frequently used multiple half hour sessions while using a wide variety of revision techniques such as mind maps and flashcards. This helped boost my confidence by refreshing my subject knowledge. I also ensured that I knew how each exam was structured, how long each exam was and that I planned how long to spend on each question.
My first exam was Religious Studies on the 13th May. Before it I felt slightly nervous, as expected, however the moment I opened the paper I felt completely calm because I was confident in the revision I had done, this feeling continued throughout the rest of the exam period. I felt this gave me an advantage over many other students as it allowed me to remain focused. My revision plan continued, with me revising the subject I had the next day each night. The exams went on for two weeks until we got a much needed week off for half term. Although, during this time I continued revising to prepare for the remaining fifteen tests, I also ensured that I made time to exercise, get some fresh air and relax. When the exams re-started I felt fully prepared and then finally, after two more weeks of exams, I happily finished on the 14th June.
Looking back I felt that my GCSEs went really well, many exams felt easier than expected and hopefully I will achieve my predicted grades.
Advice and Tips
- Make a revision plan including all your subjects – this helps to boost confidence before the exams which is key
- Revise in smaller chunks e.g. 45 minutes with 15 minute breaks – this helps to stay focused
- Try not to stress – It’s not worth it and will likely only worsen your performance
- Get a good night sleep before every exam – don’t stay up all night cramming revision in or being on your phone
- Ensure you understand how each exam is structured, how you will approach and how much time you spend on each question
- Stay hydrated and eat well – take a bottle of water into each exam
- Use a variety of revision techniques that suit your style of learning