Carfax Tutors share the best tips and tricks
With exam season fast approaching, students everywhere are getting into a revision routine. Clare Preston, Director of Studies at Carfax Private Tutors, based in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, talks us through the best ways to make the most of this revision period.
“With exams only a few months away, we decided to collect ideas, tricks and study methods from the exam-savvy people we know – our tutors. These tried and tested methods helped our tutors get top grades (some even 100%), and we hope they can do the same for you too,” she says.
Know what you don’t know
Make a red, amber and green system, or alternatively arrange your flashcards in order of your confidence levels. From there, you can prioritise and allocate your time until your topic list turns from traffic light spectrum to all green or see your least favourite pile of flashcards get smaller and smaller. So that works as both a motivator and a fun measure of progress made.
Once you have your topics sorted, it is time to get organised. Study schedules are always handy, but also factor in that you probably will not always stick to it. And that’s okay because your plan should already put you two weeks ahead of schedule if done right. We also recommend you print out past papers (make sure you check specification changes though) and set yourself a target such as doing three past papers a week. At Carfax, we also always recommend having a dedicated space that you can associate with studying, and knowing when in the day you work best.
Hone your technique
It’s great to complete past papers, but the real value comes from marking them. Marking schemes will tell you what the examiners are looking for, for example, a two-mark question may need a definition and the word ’only’. Likewise, with longer questions, understanding the formulae of these questions saves time and effort in the exam. You can then start thinking about marks per minute and improve your time management. It is also best to do these papers under exam-like conditions.
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Find your motivation
Our tutors loved going to the stationary shop and getting planners and highlighters and new pens in the lead-up to a big revision session. Get a good study playlist or think of rewards to motivate yourself. Our History tutor placed small snacks between the chapters of her textbook as a reward for each set of notes completed. Our Maths tutor plotted his progress on a line graph and enjoyed watching the curve as his past paper marks improved over time. When none of the above is working and you get overwhelmed, set a timer and tell yourself you will do just ten minutes of revision. It might keep you going on longer, or at least get you ten minutes ahead!
Commit it to memory
Our tutors have great memories, and that’s not without practice. Using gamified apps is a great way to train your mind, whether it’s Quizlet, Kahoot, or Anki. Some of our tutors’ favourite ways to remember things were making an A4 page of notes and keeping it around the house and in the car. One tutor used board markers to write French grammar rules all over their bathroom walls.
Our science tutors are still sharing their own silly mnemonic devices with their pupils to help them memorise lists. ‘Giant bugs prefer large candy’ when it comes to parts of the kidney – Glomerulus, bowman’s capsule, proximal convoluted tubule, loop of Henle, collecting duct.
And of course, explaining concepts to others helps a lot! Outside of it all, many pupils can struggle with exam nerves. One tutor also highlighted the importance of breathing exercises and mindfulness when feeling nervous or overwhelmed.
When it comes to exam day, make sure you have lots of rest beforehand, have a good breakfast, and dress to feel confident. Make sure that the lead-up to the exam has meant you are able to feel good about having tried your best and giving it your all.
We wish everyone the very best of success in their exams!
Top tips for successful revisiom at a glance
- Make flashcards or piles to sort through topics
- Create a study schedule (and try to stick to it!)
- Do previous exam papers under strict conditions
- Place incentives like snacks along the way
- Memorise, through gamified apps, teaching others, or mnemonic devices
- Sleep well, eat well, and dress to impress for that ultimate boost of confidence
For more information, visit carfax-education.com/me
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