Year 11 Revision
We will keep this page updated with various documents and tips to help you through your Year 11 studies and revision.
Please check back regularly for updates from your teachers, and also check the Subject Specific pages on this website.
What is revision for?
- To understand the topic better
- To memorise the knowledge
- To practise the skills
- The ideal situation on the examination day is that when you see the question, everything you know about it comes immediately to mind
- To pass the examination
It is possible to describe preparing for examinations as like running a marathon with a sprint at the end! You have to keep up with the front runners throughout the course and then reassemble at the race track for the sustained sprint at the end. How fast you can run at the end will depend on your long term preparation, and last minute panic revision and examination technique cannot make up for consistent work throughout the course. There are no short cuts.
There are, in addition, some techniques and ways of organising yourself and your time, both in the run up to and in the examination itself, which you should also employ to maximise your chances. Here are some suggestions:
You need a plan and a timetable.
In your plan, you should try to organise the following:
- A list of what you are intending to revise – one for each subject area and enough time slots for the range of topics you need to cover; make and keep weekly timetables.
The right time slots when you can work most effectively (mornings, afternoons, evenings?)
- An even spread of time, effort and concentration (allocate specified times to tasks and keep to them as far as possible); remember urgent tasks need priority, difficult tasks need extra time and large tasks need breaking up into parts.
- Rest breaks and some time to relax (particularly before going to bed).
- Moderate and regular habits; eating, exercise, sleeping; no excesses, look after yourself.
- Appropriate physical conditions for concentration; quiet, no distractions, the right temperature, a table or desk with enough space, a comfortable chair, good lighting.
- All the materials you will need for the particular task to hand; files, books, paper, pens, etc., but avoid clutter.
- A schedule which keeps you ‘ahead of the race’, so that if you get over-tired you can ease off for a short while; leave a few days spare for emergencies.
- Share your progress with your friends; have ‘no-distraction’ agreements (no mobile phone whilst you are revising); sometimes revise together and test each other.
- Collect information from staff on the format of exams – essays, short answers, data response etc.
- The occasional treat or indulgence as a reward for effort and maintaining the schedule.
MAKE YOUR REVISION ACTIVE AND VARIED IF POSSIBLE so that it is not just a single repetitive task. Employ a range of the techniques set out below:
- Have a list of all the major topics but concentrate on one only at a time.
- Know what it is you may have to do with each topic in the examination.
- Assemble all your material on the topic; essays, notes, chapters in your textbooks.
- Read through these; underlining or highlighting points, making notes as you go; use different colours, make revision cards but do not waste time revising what you already know.
- Organise your ideas and knowledge by listing key points under headings.
- Make Mind Maps.
- Make sure they are clear, legible and understandable when you come back to them; use your own words where possible and not those in the textbook – this will help you to understand them later on.
- Identify gaps which you may need to fill; do not skip over difficult points but follow them up with your teacher or someone else who can help you.
- Gradually distil all you know on a topic onto a single piece of paper or card, using shorter and shorter headings or prompts; be selective, be bold and remember notes are to stimulate memory not to replace it.
- Practice memory techniques on the material; how many key points on a particular topic, visual arrangement of ideas, recitation.
- Use these in the later stages to enable you to review all your knowledge for the whole syllabus and to aid recall of more detailed points.
- Practice the tasks you have to carry out in the examination; essay plans and solutions to problems in particular, answering questions within the time limits.
- Do as many past exam paper as you can.
- Make posters and put them on your bedroom walls.
- Work out a specimen time schedule for each whole question paper, leaving time for reading and choosing the questions, planning and writing your answers, and checking your work at the end.
- Ask a friend, parent, sibling to test you.
- Avoid panic, over-load, and learn to recognise and control stress.
The build-up to an examination is a stressful time and stress can be both productive and destructive. You have to ensure that you can recognise, and then control and use it, so that it is the former rather than the latter.
Easier said than done for some people, but all of us have suffered from the destructive elements of stress at some stage! It can show itself in some of the following ways:
- tiredness, irritability, feeling unwell, or ill at ease
- loss of appetite, unable to sleep
- a constant sense of anxiety and worry
- panic attacks
- inability to focus, concentrate on, or complete tasks; switching haphazardly from one thing to another
- inertia and a sense of paralysis; unable to do what needs to be done, putting things off, avoiding problems
- self-doubt, negative thoughts, giving up
- feelings of isolation, hopelessness and depression
There are strategies for controlling and channelling these symptoms. Try to construct a framework where you:
- Are aware of your strengths and weaknesses, and attempt to do something about the weaknesses.
- Remain in control rather than letting your anxiety take over.
- Identify what is causing the concern and tackle the cause; most problems have solutions if you face them positively.
- Seek help and share your worries with someone; even talking about a problem helps to dissipate the stress it is causing and can open the way to a solution.
- Practise breathing and relaxation techniques, take some physical exercise; do something different but strongly focussed to take your mind temporarily off revision and examinations. Strenuous exercise is an excellent way to refresh your mind and body.
- Leave some time and diversion to wind down at the end of the day before you go to bed, so that you are not trying to go to sleep with unanswered thoughts buzzing around in your head.
- Live a regular and moderate routine; eat, drink and sleep normally, avoid excesses and things which may upset you
- Try to keep the work and examination in perspective and do not take it all too seriously.
- Make lists to tick off so that you can identify your progress.
- Congratulate yourself for what you have achieved.
The prime objective is to get to the examination
- at the right time
- in peak condition