Study Support and Exams
Click here for a link to the Examinations Guidance pages of the website where you will find useful information about the school's internal and public examinations, including timetables and key dates.
Please click here to view subject revision topics and useful resources. This area is designed to signpost the main areas for revision but your subject teachers may well give you more detailed information and guidance.
Calculator: You will need a scientific calculator. The calculator on a telephone is not appropriate as you will not be allowed to use it in an examination.
For examinations, a transparent pencil case should be used so that the contents are clearly visible -
- Pencil sharpener
- 30cm ruler
- Coloured pens/pencils
There is no ‘right way’ to revise. Individual students need to identify methods which suit them and enable them both to consolidate knowledge and gain a solid grasp of key facts. Having the opportunity to try out different revision techniques and test out their effectiveness is one of the key aspects of sitting examinations in the early years of secondary school.
While some students are happy to read their classroom notes from start to finish, most will find it much more helpful to simplify the information as much as possible. In practice, most students find that mixing techniques suits the varied nature of the subjects being revised, and provides essential variety when studying.
The following techniques are among the most popular and effective:
- Producing a set of skeletal revision notes (just essential information/facts) organised under key headings - colour coding and highlighting are useful here. Ideally aiming to reduce class notes down by one half to two thirds so that they are much more manageable.
- Index Cards: many students find these highly effective revision aids allowing them to break down information into smaller units under key headings. Some students write a key word or point on one side of the card and an explanation on the other side. This allows them to read through the key points using them to trigger memory before checking accuracy of recall on the other side. Index cards are useful as they allow sorting and grouping of ideas in different ways and make it easy for other people to test out your knowledge. They are also a handy size suitable for a blazer pocket!
- Create memory aids such as mnemonics e.g. Colours of the Rainbow (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet) = Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain.
- Create Mind Maps with a central topic / theme and branches radiating outwards. This can be a very effective way of grouping and linking different point / themes in a clear and memorable way.
Strategies for Success
A strategy involves using a plan of action to achieve a certain goal. To achieve success you will need to use a variety of strategies, such as those listed below.
Strategy 1 – Listen carefully
- Concentrate on what is being said and ignore other noise
- Ask questions if something is not clear
- Listen for the meanings and ideas behind the words
Strategy 2 – Take clear notes
- Write down only important facts and figures
- Use your own words rather than those of the teacher
- Number the major points made into a sequence
Strategy 3 – Choose the right place
- Try to do your work in the same quiet place
- Ensure that your work place is well lit to avoid tiring your eyes
- Keep your work space tidy and use a firm chair
Strategy 4 – Go further
- Make it a habit to do some homework every day
- Identify and regularly use additional references e.g. encyclopaedia
- Enrol at the local or central library and be aware of their facilities
Strategy 5 – Revise effectively
- Be specific and stick rigidly to your revision timetable
- Revise in short bursts, stop when your mind begins to wander
- Try to reproduce notes on paper rather than just reading books
Many courses involve coursework in addition to or instead of examinations. By developing good ‘time management’ skills you will be successful with your coursework
- Make sure you understand the coursework task. If you are unsure, check with your teacher.
- If you can, try to obtain a copy of the mark scheme.
- Ask for final coursework dates when you start your course.
- Plan a timetable and work towards the dates and stick to it.
- Other students may need access to the same resources (e.g. library books) – allow for this when planning your work.
Managing your time:
- Prioritise your work carefully. Keep a checklist of tasks and tick them off when they are complete.
- Take time to review work returned by your teacher.
- Divide lengthy or difficult assignments into short manageable bits.
- Don’t leave anything to the last week.
Producing your best work:
- Try to produce a draft copy of your work.
- Check for spelling, punctuation and grammar.
- Proof-read your work thoroughly.
The words below can be used in test and examination questions. It is important to know what these words mean so that you can answer the questions properly.
assess find the strong and weak points of the subject in question
account for give reasons for, explain
calculate find the numerical answer to a problem
clarify make simple, make clear
comment on give your opinions on a subject
compare look for similarities and differences
consider take into account, give your thoughts about
contrast find and explain the differences between
criticise say what you think, give evidence to support your opinions
define say the exact meaning or definition
demonstrate show how, using examples
describe give a detailed account of
differentiate/distinguish give the differences between
discuss describe the subject in detail
evaluate say what you think about subject, give good and bad points
explain give the reasons for something
express say in a different way, e.g. Maths – express as a fraction
explore investigate, look into
interpret use your own words to make the meaning clear
justify say why you think the answer is what it is and give reasons
outline give the main features of, do not go into detail
prove show that the answer is true by giving reasons
review summarise the important facts or points
state write the main points in a brief, clear way
suggest using what you have learned, say what the answer might be
summarise bring together the main points in a shorter way