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We understand that exams can be a stressful time for both students and their families, so we’ve put together some tips and coping strategies that you may find helpful in preparing yourself or your child for English and Maths GCSE exams in 2020.

Revision Tips

Whether you’re a week or a few months away from your GCSE Maths and English exams, revision is an important part of your exam preparations. We’ve put together some handy tips and tricks to help you revise:

Use a “traffic light” system to figure out what skills you need to focus on developing ahead of your exams. On your syllabus highlight what you need to learn in red, what you have a grasp of but are not confident about in yellow, and the areas you are comfortable with in green.

You can then use this to plan how much time you should be spending on each topic. Don’t worry if you have highlighted a whole page in red, just approach one section at a time and focus on understanding that area – don’t forget to ask your tutor if you are stuck.

Make a “cheat sheet” of common exam equations for Maths and make sure you look at this regularly so that you know the essentials before your Maths exam.

Use past papers for your revision! This is a great way to prepare for your exams and practise the kind of questions that you will be answering. You can find past Mathematics papers here and past English papers here.

Take regular breaks and exercise to keep your mind and body focused! Taking a short walk after revision sessions of around 30-40 minutes will help you to de-stress and refocus before carrying on.

The below tips are some fun activities that will help to spice up your revision sessions:

Experiment with visual revision techniques: Staring at your biro notes can get a bit tedious, why not break it up with some colourful mind maps and revision cards to stimulate your eyes as well as your brain?

Record revision videos and voice clips: Listening to a recording of your notes or key information can be useful. You could make key facts stand out by changing your voice with an accent or turning them into a poem. Just try not to laugh in your exam remembering your funny accent when explaining the Pythagoras’ theorem!

Stock up on Post-it notes: Having coloured Post-it notes everywhere helps you immerse yourself in revision. First write down some information on a note, such as a Maths equation; ideally this should be something that can fit on the small space. Do this over and over again until you have a large pile of notes. Then take all these different notes and stick them about your house. You can put them on cupboard doors, mirrors, windows and the fridge. When you next raid the fridge you’ll be reminded of a key piece of information for your exam.

Try teaching: Explaining concepts to another person is a way to ensure you understand them yourself. If you collect your notes and put them on a PowerPoint, then you can present them to your friends or family. You may even realise you know more than you thought. After the presentation, if your ‘pupils’ ask on-the-spot questions, then you can test your confidence in certain areas and highlight what you need to brush up on.


Revision Classes at CBC

A revision class is a great way to have some extra support from your maths and English tutors and work with your classmates to prepare for an exam. Please see below for our revision class times:

Twilight revision sessions for Maths in the LRC – every Tuesday between 16:40pm and 18:00pm for study programme learners.

Easter Holiday Revision Classes April 8th-15th :
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday between 10:00am-12:00pm and 13:00pm-15:00pm

May Half-term Holiday Revision Classes May 28th -31st :
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday between 10:00am-12:00pm and 13:00pm-15:00pm

All holiday revision classes will be held in F-Block, main site in Dunstable.

There will be revision sessions regularly during term time but please confirm these with your English or maths tutor.

Exam Tips for Parents/Guardians

If you are a parent or guardian of a student preparing to sit their GCSE exams, there are many ways in which you can support your child. You may be feeling anxious about their exams too and to help we have put together a few helpful tips to help you both get through this challenging time.

Make sure your child:

  • Eats regular healthy meals to keep their mind and body in tip top shape! A healthy diet and drinking plenty of water will help your child stay focused and healthy in times of stress.
  • Is getting enough sleep. A solid routine of around 8 hours a night of unbroken sleep will really help your child to stay focused, retain information and keep them feeling positive!
  • Takes regular breaks to have fun! Exams can be stressful and it’s important your child has time to relax and enjoy themselves as much as it is important for them to be doing regular revision. A good balance will stop them from becoming overwhelmed.
  • Revises free from distractions. Revision works best when your child is not distracted and has somewhere quiet and comfortable to work. Even if your child revises best via watching educational videos, if they are in a well-lit and ventilated room this will certainly help.
  • Exercises regularly and gets plenty of fresh air. Walking, jogging or playing a sport they enjoy will help your child to reduce stress and alleviate anxiety.

Lastly, giving your child regular encouragement and reminding them that if things don’t go to plan that exams are not the end! There are many options available and their school/college are able to provide extra support when needed to help your child succeed.

5 Top Tips for a Successful Exam Day
  1. Get plenty of sleep

    You’ll need to be well rested to achieve your full potential in your exam, so be sure to go to bed at a reasonable hour and avoid using technological devices just before bed.

  2. Be as prepared as you possibly can

    You will feel more relaxed on exam day if you know that you have done all you can to prepare, so be sure to use past exam papers to practise and take advantage of revision classes on offer.

  3. Eat a good breakfast

    Fuel your body and mind for the day ahead – you could try out some foods that are known to boost your brain and memory like blueberries, nuts and fish (fish finger sandwich for breakfast, anyone?).

  4. Take the right equipment

    It’s important to lower your stress levels before an exam, and the last thing you want to be worrying about is forgetting your pen or pencil. Make sure you prepare your equipment the night before and check whether you need any specific tools e.g. protractor or scientific calculator.

  5. Relax and enjoy!

    It might sound odd, but an exam is actually a great opportunity to show off what you know. So take your time, read the questions thoroughly and don’t panic – you’ve got this!

Revision resources

You can find a range of revision resources and useful links on the student moodle page including Mathswatch and BKSB revision resources. We have also put together a few useful links to resources below to help with your revision.

Youtube revision channels

Coping with exams

In advance of exams: Prepare and plan well ahead for exams; timetable a sustainable revision schedule; review your exam skills and deal with specific deficiencies; aim for a balance of work/rest/play; create an area where you can study effectively; consider working with a study partner who you respect and can work well with; take responsibility for your learning style; get organised with a system of collating notes; ask your department for help (past papers; guidance); ensure you understand the structure of each paper (marks allocated, etc.); look after yourself well (exercise; eat healthily; sleep regularly; develop effective relaxation techniques); change your attitude to exams (visualise yourself as a competent examinee who is in charge of revision and who 'embraces exams as an opportunity to shine' - try it!).

During exams: eat well (e.g. breakfast before a morning exam); give yourself plenty of time to arrive; use a calming mantra to keep focussed but relaxed (e.g. 'I am calm and am thinking clearly') whilst breathing slowly and steadily; read instructions on the exam paper carefully; plan timing and answers; check your work; if anxiety levels rise - take a deep breath, tense your muscles and release whilst exhaling - assure yourself you can 'have your anxiety later but now it is time to take the exam'; take a mental break then recommence - don't give up; maintain a positive attitude; visualise yourself as calm and focussed and impressing the examiner with what you write.

Between exams: relax and indulge yourself for a short while after an exam then re-focus for the next; review what went well in your overall approach (including how you managed your anxiety) and aim to improve it in your next exam.

It can be a stressful time for anyone who has an exam coming up, and we want to make sure you feel calm and positive in the lead up to your GCSE Maths and English exams. To help, we have put together a list of free Apps to help with mental health and wellbeing that you can download:

Free Mental Health Apps

  • Breath2relax - stress relief
  • Sleep Pillow Sounds - Sleep
  • Panic? – panic attacks
  • Moodlytics – mood tracker
  • PTSD coach – tracker, anger, stress, anxiety
  • Mindshift – anxiety
  • BellyBio – interactive breathing
  • Take a break - guided meditations
  • Operation reach out – meatal health support
  • T2 mood tracker
  • Relax and Sleep well
  • Wellmind NHS
  • Happily – activities and games for managing stress and anxiety
  • Peak – brain training – brain games

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