The new year brings the perfect opportunity for students to start preparing for the 2024 exam season. Whilst beginning revision as early as January might seem premature, research indicates that a successful revision strategy can account for a 30% difference in how well a student performs on exam day. Our independent research supports this, too, as 88% of students who completed three months of tutoring last academic year (2022/23) improved by two or more grades.
What are the benefits of starting revision early?
1. Reduced stress and anxiety
One of the most valuable assets when it comes to exam preparation is time. Starting in January allows for a gradual, steady approach to revision – allowing students to study at their own pace and mitigating the stress and anxiety associated with last-minute cramming.
2. Enhanced understanding
Early revision paves the way for deeper understanding and retention. Concepts are not merely memorised but thoroughly comprehended, ensuring a solid foundation for exam success. It also provides the flexibility to revisit challenging topics and seek clarification and additional support in specific subjects or exam skills.
3. Development of essential exam skills
Despite possessing exemplary knowledge, students often face challenges in their exams due to insufficient exam technique. So, by beginning revision earlier, students will have sufficient time to apply their knowledge and tackle practice papers from previous years, familiarising themselves with the format and mark schemes, as well as developing all-important time management skills.
Countering the long-term effects of Covid
Students sitting GCSEs or equivalent this summer were in Year 7 when the first national lockdown was introduced. They experienced two years of school closures and periods of online learning and are still feeling the academic, social, and emotional long-term impacts of this. So, measures are being implemented in England this year to provide additional support and mitigate lost learning.
However, despite a similar strategy being adopted last year (2022–23), there was still a significant drop in the number of top grades nationwide as the government brought A-Level and GCSE results back in line with pre-pandemic levels. This resulted in tens of thousands of students re-sitting their English and maths GCSE exams, and a record number of students gaining entrance to university through UCAS clearing.
Our suggestion? Start revising early – that way, students will have the best chance at minimising the impact of lockdown on their results.
How to create and implement a successful revision strategy
In the words of super tutor Alex Gwyther, 'there isn't one single way to revise and there is no magic solution. Every student is different, and it really is about finding what works for you.'
So, with the help of our expert tutors, here's our three-step guide to kickstart revision this January.
Step 1: prioritise tough or important subjects
Regardless of how many exams you are sitting this summer, start by prioritising the subjects you are struggling with or are the most important. For example, do you need to do well in a particular topic to study it at the sixth form or university level or to apply for an internship or apprenticeship?
Step 2: set attainable goals
Write down your goals for what you want to achieve this summer and, to make sure they are attainable and realistic, use SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound). For example, 'I want to improve my grade from a C to a B by the Easter holidays.' Do this for each subject.
Step 3: create a revision timetable that works
Now you have your SMART goals, it is time to create a revision timetable to help you stay on track to achieve them. Designed to work around school and extracurricular commitments, your revision timetable should help you structure your spare time more effectively.
Overall, it is never too soon to get started, and Quintessentially Education remains on hand to assist your son or daughter in the run-up to their exams. Whether bespoke one-to-one tutoring or mentorship programmes that support students in managing deadlines and revision timetables and enhancing study skills and motivation, we have several services available to help your child reach their academic potential.
Simply email [email protected] or phone +44 (0)20 3073 6839.