Article from Sarah Harris in the Daily Mail – 27th October 2016
“Last-minute cramming for exams is not ideal, and most students benefit from a more sustained approach to studying. Following Department for Education changes, those studying A-Levels now site all their exams in each subject at the end of a two year course. And although next year’s A-Level exams might seem a long way off, canny teenagers can begin consolidating their knowledge well in advance.
Dr David Crouch, of Justin Craig Education, says pupils should try to set aside a regular time each week to focus on each subject outside of lessons. ‘A good rule of thumb is to spend an hour rewriting or going through your notes for every hour of ‘academic study’ in your lessons,’ he says.
‘Some students find it easier to revise form notes they’ve written themselves rather than a textbook. Either way the more you familiarise yourself with the material, the easier it will be at the end of the course. Whether you are starting in year 12 or year 13, one key to success is not to leave exam preparation until the very last minute.’
Dr Crouch also suggests students download subject specifications from each exam board and use a ‘RAG’ system. This involves reading each bullet point and writing R (red) for things they don’t; understand; G (good) for bits they are comfortable with and A (amber) for everything else. He advises: ‘Try to revise the things you have coded R and A first. At the end of the course, pick up these specifications and check you are still ok with the areas coded R and A.’
Studying past papers – and assessing them against official mark schemes – is also good preparation. Legacy tests – those sat before the changes were brought in – are still available on the exam board websites.
There are many different methods for revising, but Dr Crouch advises: ‘Whatever method you use, make sure it works for you. At Justin Craig, students often find that working in small groups over a two or three day revision course is a great way of sharing information and revision strategies under the watchful eye of an expert tutor, many of whom are examiners or heads of departments. These insights into what to revise and exam technique can be invaluable in giving you the tools you need to create a good revision timetable several months before the public exams and ensure you fulfil your potential.’
Justin Craig is the UK’s leading provider of GCSE, AS and A2 revision courses, with over 30 years’ experience. Dr Crouch adds: ‘Our mission at Justin Craig is to help every student reach their full potential, and we fully appreciate that exam time is becoming more stressful for families. So preparation is invaluable.’