How to Pass All Your GCSE Exams [7 Tips From an Ex A* Student]

by Tanya February 12, 2020

I’ll be honest. I got top grades in my final GCSE exams not because I am book-smart, but because I was street-smart enough to learn how to pass the exams.

Being smart and passing exams are two different skills.

Not all smart people do well at school, so don’t feel bad or disappointed if your last years’ exams didn’t go well.

If high grades are important to you – keep doing the exams until you get the grades you want.

In this article, I’m going to share my tips on how to pass all your GCSE exams more easily:

TIP 1: Ask your teachers what revision books and materials you’ll need

The biggest mistake students make is that they don’t communicate with their teachers.

Teachers may know more about this year’s exam than you do, so ask them about the books, specific exam boards or websites you need to use to maximise your chances of succeeding.

By communicating with your teachers, you can buy or borrow revision books that are specific to your exam board (not the general books with vague information) so you won’t waste time on studying something that isn’t going to help you.

TIP 2: Practise on past exam papers

In order to pass the exams, you need to be familiar with the exam format, the type of questions and time pressures.

Doing as many past GCSE papers as you can will show you the areas you need to improve on.

Besides, there is a limited number of questions that appear on a test about any given subject, so very similar questions are likely to appear again in your actual exam.

Your teacher might be able to supply some of these past exams (ask them) or else you can find them online.

TIP 3: Make a revision timetable you can stick to

Set up a schedule similar to the one you have at school to make your exam preparation easier.

A solid revision schedule not only guarantees you cover everything you need in time for the exam, but it also breaks everything down into more manageable chunks.

A revision timetable is essentially a calendar, which allows you to prioritise your subjects and their various topics to specific weekdays. You can start working on those topics that need the most time to work on.

All people are different, so develop a daily schedule that suits you.

If you have the greatest work capacity in the morning, study early in the morning.

If you are more productive at night, do something relaxing in the morning, so you are ready to work hard in the evening.

And if you have to write a coursework at the same time, don’t treat it as a separate thing. Work your coursework time into your revision time table; if you’re stuck you can apply to online coursework writing service to get some necessary professional help.

TIP 4: Give yourself enough time to prepare

Don’t be one of those students who postpone everything to the last minute. The earlier you start preparing, the better you can memorise information.

Only a very small minority of geniuses can learn and memorise complex information in a matter of hours.
If you are a normal person and not an Einstein, start learning 1-3 months before the exam, depending on the difficulty of the subject/exam.

TIP 5: Write down what you learn on flashcards

When reading your study books, always write down the most important notes. Writing things down in your own words is the best way to memorise knowledge because you make it your own.

Try making flashcards with questions on one side and answers on the other to help you learn the facts.

You can buy physical flashcards or download a mobile app – whatever works for you.

The great thing about flashcards is that you can review them regularly throughout the day even if you aren’t actively “studying”. You can review them easily on the bus or while waiting for your friends at the coffee shop etc.

5 minutes with flashcards every day over a 3 months period will be better than 6 hours cramming of science or math the night before.

TIP 6: Organise your workspace

Your study room needs to be light, clutter-free and comfortable.

Get rid of all distractions so you can concentrate effectively.

Put away your phone or turn off social media notifications, video games and TV.

Some people (like me) prefer to study in complete silence, others like to work with background music – do whatever works for you.

TIP 7: Don’t over-study the night before

In order to keep calm on the day, don’t load yourself with additional information that you want to remember at the last minute. This will only confuse you and make you even more nervous.

Review your notes the day before to feel confident that you have reviewed as much information as possible.

Before the big day, make sure that you get a full 8-hour sleep. This should be enough for the brain to recharge and perform at its best. But some people need more than 8 hours. Point is, you need to feel that you are rested.

Final advice: Keep calm on the day

When the exam begins, keep calm so your brain can respond and function in the best possible way.

Be positive and confident about your exams. If you put in the work, there’s no need to panic about doing badly. Preparation is the key to success.

Also, don’t underestimate the power of eating a healthy breakfast on the day of your exams! ?

You can do it! I believe in you.

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The first Millennial blogger in the UK. Twitter @_luckyattitude


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  • Christina

    Thanks Tanya.. very useful info. I tend to overstudy the night before and can’t sleep the night befor the exams

    • Tanya

      Glad it inspired you & don’t overstudy the night before ,)