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There are some important tests you have to take throughout your education that can determine the outcome of your professional future—or at least have a significant impact on it. The GSCE and A Levels for science are no exception to this rule, and if you want to succeed on these difficult exams, then it is of great importance that you dedicate a lot of your time to both studying and revision.

A lot of people find it extremely difficult to find a study method that works for them. How is it that some people can spend only a few hours preparing for a difficult exam and pass it with flying colours, while others can spend weeks upon weeks pouring over books and scribbling down notes, only to be disappointed with the results?

Is the difference natural talent? Well, partly—but that’s certainly not all of it. A significant factor in the difference between a good score and a bad one is not how much time you spend studying, but how effectively that time was used. If you are using revision tips that are most effective for your individual learning preferences, then you might find yourself surprised at how much more material you can cover while you are preparing for the exam than you do with the tried and not-so-true methods you have been using thus far.

Here are some revision tips you might want to try out to make your studying methods more efficient. Remember, though, that everyone learns and retains information differently, so you might have to try more than one before you find the best tactic for you.

  • Spider diagrams: This is a unique way of taking notes that forces you to understand a topic before you put it on paper. It also is extremely handy to refer back to during the revision process, because it provides a clear visual of the material. Start with the main subject and draw lines coming off it, leading to secondary points, showing how ideas relate to one another.
  • Schedule time for breaks: Studies show that students are not studying as efficiently if they do not give their brains an opportunity to rest. A good way to ensure that you are getting the breaks your brain needs while still budgeting plenty of time for actual studying, create a schedule and stick to it. Make sure to start your studying early so you don’t become overwhelmed!
  • Take concise notes: Taking notes has a dual purpose. When you are originally learning the material, writing it down hammers the knowledge into your head. Secondly, your notes provide you with something to review that is much faster than flipping through your textbook again.
  • Do practice tests: Most of the time, it is fairly easy to track down a past version of your exam, whether through your school or online. Taking these practice tests can give you a good idea of how prepared you are for the real deal.
  • Create flash cards: Flash cards allow you to be able to test yourself when there is no one around to help you. With a question written on one side and the answer written on the back, covering the key points you need to learn, you can carry your flash cards around everywhere you go and review them in your downtime.