Yesterday was my last exam of the year which means that AS is finally over! I cannot explain the relief I feel knowing that I can spend the next couple of weeks doing absolutely nothing. It genuinely felt like this day was so far away and getting here definitely wasn’t a breeze…but I still made it!
I’m not saying that all of my exams went well and I’m certainly not saying that I feel confident in how I have done, but regardless I am going to tell you in this post what I did in terms of revision and motivation to try and achieve the best grades possible this year.
Making Revision Materials
I started making notes/revision materials in September. The very beginning of the year. Month One.
After hearing so many people in the year above me talking about their own personal regrets of not revising from Day One, this was something I just knew I had to do. I couldn’t allow myself to fall behind and make notes late. You really don’t want to get to exam season and start making notes because trust me you will not cover all of the content and you definitely won’t learn it all.
At the start of the year, my revision consisted of mainly flashcards and nothing more. In reality, when I began to revise in September I wasn’t completely sure what I was doing. It wasn’t fully clear to me where my courses were heading and what I had to do. Despite this, I did continue to make Flashcards on anything I found important amongst my general class notes. (Note: Please do not do a me. If you have any questions just do the logical thing and ask your teacher!)
It wasn’t until my November Mock Exams that I realised what I had to do, how my papers were structured and what I was being marked on for each question throughout all of my courses. This helped me immensely and made me realise that I wanted to change the way I laid out my notes.
I decided to make my own revision books. I transferred my flashcard information into these books and added to them in a way that I found really effective, condensed and simple to follow.
Once I had finished making all of my revision materials I began to learn them.
However, this wasn’t my greatest idea. For English, it was a fine idea as I finished making my revision materials in February which gave an entire three months to learn everything I had to. But for History, I only finished my revision book three weeks before the exam which resulted in a lot of cramming.
I am 100% going to make sure that I learn my notes as I go along next year to avoid the daily stress History has given me throughout the past few weeks.
In terms of learning my notes, it did take my a while to find a technique that was effective. Reading through my notes alone wasn’t very sufficient. What I did to learn my notes well was to get a whiteboard and to right out everything I already knew for each chapter/section/module. Then I would check this against what was in the book. Anything I was missing I wrote out three times. I repeated this again and if it stuck (and most of the time it did) I’d move on!
To make sure that I had REALLY had learnt it though I would leave it a couple of hours and return to that topic again just to make sure that the information was definitely floating around in my brain somewhere. More so, I would also get to get my mom to spot test me on any page of the book she landed on, again just to make sure that I knew everything I had to.
I don’t bother to make revision timetables because I never really stick to them. Instead, I usually make daily or weekly lists of what I have to complete. However, sometimes I just don’t feel like it. Sometimes I just don’t have it in me to sit and work. Sometimes my brain just feels full and incapable of doing anything. Sometimes I have bad days. Sometimes I have bad weeks….and that’s okay! All of it is okay.
Despite feeling this I know that when I have revision to do, well, I have revision to do. But I do acknowledge that I need a break…that is where my ‘lazy’ revision comes in.
When I’m not feeling like sitting at my desk and doing much I opt to just lay in my bed and use this time to do various different things. I’ll either watch a documentary on my laptop that relates to one my subjects or I’ll write an essay/essay plan in the notes section of phone or I’ll even do something as basic as talking to myself about the subject; whether it be talking myself through a certain chapter or section.
Knowing when you need a break is extremely important and all of these things are relatively effective in general anyway.
When revising the thing that motivates me most is doing well.
Having said this, I do also make sure that I make plans after exams so that I have something look forward to too. This is really important for me as it actually makes me revise harder just so that when the time does come to ‘celebrate’ the end, I feel like I’ve really earned it.
The plans that I had made to motivate me through exams were all food and drink related, but can you blame me?
Yesterday after my last exam, my friends and I went out to our favourite ‘restaurant’ to have an end of exams meal!
This completely got me out of exam mode. It was so nice to let go of the stress and to feel the relief.
And it was also just a really lovely afternoon!