How to Use the Easter Holidays to Revise for your A Levels
Amy studied at the University of Bristol and is our revision blog guru. She only graduated recently so understands the pressures of being a student better than most, and is here to share her wisdom so that you revise effectively, smash your exams, succeed at school and write cracking university and job applications.
The Easter Holidays are finally here, and after a long term, it’s always tempting to totally switch off and relax over the break. Whilst you definitely should make time to chill out, it’s also vital that you use this time wisely to get organised and start revising for your imminent exams. Even if you didn’t start revising for your GCSEs this early on, there’s a lot more to learn for your A Levels, and potentially a lot more riding on your results.
The good news is that all of us at Save My Exams are here to help. This quick guide will help you work out how to best use the Easter Holidays to get ready for your exams; from making a strong plan, to making the most of the OCR past papers and Edexcel past papers (depending on your board).
1. Make a timetable
One of the most important things to do when navigating the Easter Holidays is get organised. There’s a lot of material to revise before your exams, and it’s early days so you might feel like there’s heaps of time to get it all done. Time flies though, so the best thing to do is get started as soon as you can to make absolutely certain you manage to revise everything thoroughly before your exams.
Go with what works best for you. If you find that you work better with a rigid timetable, that’s your direction; likewise, if you prefer a more fluid guide with set goals at the end of each week, that’s the way to do it. Ultimately though, a good timetable will help you ensure you’ve gone over everything you need to, while building in breaks to stop you from getting overwhelmed and exhausted.
2. Make lists of everything you have to cover
There’s a lot that you need to know at A Level, and you need to know it all in good depth. It’s totally within your capabilities to do so, but without organisation and some planning, it’s really easy to forget small things that could have a big impact on your grades.
This is why we’d recommend writing down every topic and subtopic you need to cover, and noting down how far you’ve got with it, so that you know for certain that you’ve gone over everything you need to by the time the exam rolls around. This kind of setup can also help you identify the areas in which you’re stronger and weaker, allowing you to prioritise your revision where necessary.
3. Build a step-by-step revision process
Annoyingly, revision is something of a steady process, and you have to work upwards. Luckily though, you have Save My Exams and all our resources here to help you out! If you go through each of your subjects topic-by-topic, make useful notes and visual aids, and build up your knowledge until you’re ready to test yourself, you’ll soon be ready to use that knowledge in an exam setting.
The new Revision Videos section of our site could really help you out here. We cover various topics in depth to really help you understand the tricky areas. It’s almost like having a teacher right there with you!
From there, you can use our topic questions to test your knowledge. These are exam-style questions that focus on specific topic areas, so that you can work out where the gaps in your knowledge lie.
Once you’ve finished revising a whole topic, it’s time to use the holy grail: past papers. Past papers are the closest thing you have to the real thing, and they give you the perfect chance to familiarise yourself with just what you’re going to be up against on the day. Practising them will help you get used to the style of questions you’ll have, and doing them in exam conditions will get you in the mindset of how to work through everything in the allotted time, which itself will really help your nerves.
Click here to read more about perfecting your revision process.
4. Establish a revision routine
Few things help productivity more than a strong routine. A routine keeps you in control of your time and your tasks, and will help your structure your days to get through all the things on your list. Routine is also important for keeping you in good physical and mental shape, and really takes away something to worry about when there’s already enough pressure going on!
So whether you get up at 7am and do two hours of revision before getting showered and having breakfast, or prefer to go the gym before settling into the books, settling into a revision routine that works for you will help you stick to your timetable and make the most of your revision days.
5. Give yourself some time to relax
As much as you can’t afford to completely switch off over the Easter Holidays, being calm and relaxed is as important as almost any other part of the revision process. Working hard and being focused is essential, but if you do nothing but work, you’ll get overwhelmed and overloaded; and burning yourself out won’t lead to effective revision.
When you’re revising, make sure you give yourself enough time off. See friends and family, watch TV, exercise; do whatever you need to keep yourself motivated to work hard for those exams.