It doesn’t matter whether you are trying to scrape an E grade at A level Maths, or get straight A’s in Biology, Chemistry and Physics, the secret to passing any exam is organisation. Here is our essential to-do list.
Download the specification (syllabus) from the exam board website (there’s a list below). It tells you everything that can possibly come up on the exam. If you don’t know which exam board you are doing, ask your teacher or have a look on your school website.
Make sure you have good notes for every subsection of the specification. If not, make them using textbooks or use our Factsheets (which also contain exam-style questions and mark schemes).
Download all the available past papers and mark schemes from the exam board website. These are invaluable... they show you exactly what kinds of questions are likely to come up and the mark schemes (the answers) tell you the keywords the examiners are looking for.
Make a timetable so that you know you have the time to revise everything.
Start revising topic by topic. Start with the ones that you are scared of.
Revise actively – don’t just read the notes. This would only ever be of any use if the actual exam consisted of you having to read – it doesn’t; you have to be able to recall and apply information to new contexts. So make notes, cross-reference different topics and above all, never give up and simply try to remember stuff you don’t understand. Make lists of things you can’t get your head around and ask in school tomorrow. Once you think you know your stuff, try out some of the exam questions. Mark yourself. Then go back and see where you lost marks. In a week’s time, revisit the topic and try more questions – you’ll just get better and better!