Exam Goals: What are Goals and Why Are They Important?

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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.

You can’t get where you need to be if you don’t know where you’re going; which is why we want to start by talking to you about setting some realistic revision goals that are going to help you smash your exams!

Imagine it’s August. You’ve opened your exam results and you’re looking at the page: what do you want to see? Hoping for the best or ‘seeing what happens’ isn’t going to cut it any more. It’s time to get more specific about your exams goals.

1. What even is a goal, anyway?

A goal is something you want to have, be or achieve in the future, and it comes from answering two important questions:

 1) What do I want?

 2) What’s possible?

 Once you’ve answered these two questions, your goals are the area where they over-lap. This diagram shows you what we mean…

Save My Exams Goal Setting

2. How do I set a goal? 

To set some goals that will guide you through revision, grab a pen and paper and get ready to write down a few ideas.

An important thing to remember is that exam goals don’t have to be about getting a specific grade. They could be to do with improving your marks from last year, getting a pass in a subject you find tricky, starting revision earlier to avoid last minute cramming, or achieving the UMS you need to get on a university course.

  1. Write down what you want to achieve in a list and be specific, honest and aspirational! (e.g. get an A in Maths; NOT just ‘do well’ in Maths).
  2. Using your list of ‘wants’, write down the ones you think are definitely POSSIBLE


This isn’t what you can achieve now but what you think you can achieve in the future with hard work and dedication. 

Aim high and you’ll surprise yourself!

Click here to download our goal setting worksheet!

 Congratulations: those three wants you’ve decided are possible are now your three goals!


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3. Struggling to figure out what you WANT and what’s POSSIBLE?

Chat to friends, family and teachers, and spend some time thinking about it on your own. Once you’ve reflected, have a go at the lists again and see where the overlap is.

If you really want a B in A Level Maths but only think a C is possible, then getting a B can still be your goal. If you want a Level 9 in a GCSE but think a 7 is more realistic, revise your expectations accordingly.

Once you’ve set your goals, start working towards them! If you respond well to visuals, print out our worksheet and stick it up over your desk, or write your goals in your notebook or phone notes to provide that extra motivation you need.

Keep an eye out for the next chapter of our Ultimate Revision Guide next week!

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