The exam storm cleared as January passed by. So before the exam-effects wear off, let me enlighten your minds with some techniques I used during the past revision season.
First of all, after June, it was so hard to get back on the saddle. The idea that you have to reopen the books that you thought you won’t be needing anymore really bummed me out. It took so many days and a lot of inspiration, motivation blah blah to start the ignition. I asked several people how they had nailed their exams. Hearing the answers, “read the notes and do past papers” repeatedly was depressing too. Well it’s not their fault ‘cause that’s pretty much what you have to do.
But the method could be brought about in different ways.
- Research Method
Take Biology Unit 4. There are a lot of similar questions relating to DNA, like one gene many polypeptide theory, genetic code explanation, role of transcription etc. Sometimes they may ask “Explain the structure of DNA.” In one paper it may be for 3 marks while the other it’s for 6 marks. And the marking points required will also be different. So this really annoyed me. It was so frustrating to get the answers I have written wrong each time. Because no matter how good you think you are writing you will end up missing some marking points.
So here’s the trick. Read all the notes related to DNA. I read from Stafford book this time as I couldn’t get the textbook. Stafford book is fine to revise shortly if you understand the concept in detail. So after you read, take a notebook and start doing questions related to DNA only. Start from Jan 2011 so that as you reach your way up to June 2015, you will observe the flow. Usually the questions in older papers are easier than recent ones.
You can take the questions in the notebook and write YOUR ANSWERS in a rough notebook. Then check the mark scheme to see what they have expected. Write the MARK SCHEME ANSWERS as it is under your question. Don’t forget to include the marks. Keep doing it until you finish all the DNA questions up to June 15.
Now you can easily see what the mark scheme expects from you. You can compare that same question with different marks and see what to include more and what not. And some days later you can look at the questions and guess the points too. So every time you see the questions you don’t have to search the answers from your phone/comp.
You can also keep one or two recent papers untouched until you can revise the whole unit completely. Then sit down freshly and time you while you do a paper.
Research Method 2
Take chemistry 4 for instance. And start from June 11. For chemistry I went in the order of topics. First it was Rate. After reading the notes I did all the questions relating to Rate. If you start seeing all the similar questions in one place it becomes really easy to compare them. See the following example question.
It was hard to understand it first. Then I saw a similar one in another paper. And there was another one in section B (or C). So I brought them together and tackled them.
Don’t lose touch
Make a timetable and stick to it. (easier said than done right?) exactly. No matter how hard you try to find time, sometimes the sun sets and ends the day before you know it. But everyday do SOMETHING. Even a teeny tiny bit. Because if you stop for one day, it will be difficult to continue the next. And soon it will turn into an unproductive week.
These are very useful stuff. Collect all the exam reports and as you do questions go through these too. It will help you to see how to approach the questions. You can see the common mistakes they have done and get some useful examiner tips.
Make Short notes.
Highlighters, sticky notes, colourful markers blah blah. Sounds fantastic eh? Well, do what interests you. What I did was use as I read stuffs, and as I did questions I noted down the frequently asked definitions, experimental procedures and very ….well, important looking stuff. So later as the exam nears up, you can read these notes and be satisfied.
Watch YouTube Videos
Now you don’t have to worry about having a hard time imagining how some processes occur. Just google it. For example if you can’t just grasp the idea of DNA fragments being separated on a gel or amino acids separating on a chromatogram, just watch the video. It will be helpful.
It’s a huge platform for so many students to share their doubts and get it cleared. I came across it and was very determined to make good use of it. But end up not posting a single doubt. So don’t be lazy like me and make good use of it ok?
Group Study or Pair Study
It’s easy to lose motivation. Especially when you are re-sitting an exam. So surround yourself with people who inspires you and encourage you to keep going when you are at the weakest point. I’m glad I had you this time even though we couldn’t do that much group study. 🙂
So basically it’s doing the same questions in one place and seeing how you mess up and learning from it.
I want to thank all the teachers who helped me this time as well. The time that you had simply spared was more than what I deserved. Thank you and I ‘m sure your efforts weren’t wasted. Thank you my book lenders again for your lovely contribution. If it wasn’t for you I would have done horribly.
So don’t wait for the last minute! Start prepping for June Hurricane!