Holiday revision: some PMG tips for Y11 students to maximise the effectiveness of their work

The Easter holidays will be the critical period for all Y11 students preparing for the summer iGCSE exams.  The main paper for Biology is so early in May that you need to make good use of time of the holidays.  Indeed the majority of your Biology revision should be accomplished before you come back to school in April

Here are some tips in no particular order that might help.

1) Revision is not measured in hours.  It is not how many hours you do that matters, it is the benefit you gain from your work.  Don’t worry about people who tell you they are doing 10 hours a day – most of their effort will be wasted….

2) What do you need for revision? I suggest you make sure you have all of the following ready for Biology revision this holidays.

  • Textbook (absolutely essential as it should now be your main source of information)
  • Specification booklet (either the printed version I give you or one downloaded from Firefly)
  • Blank paper/cards and coloured pens and pencils (for making summary notes and diagrams)
  • Past Paper 1B booklet
  • Past Paper 1B mark schemes

3) Active Revision:  You all know that reading is a very poor way to revise.  The more active and multi-sensory you can be in revision, the more you will learn.  Make flash cards that summarise each topic.  Use a dictation app to record yourself speaking about the three key ideas in a topic.  Make revision videos that you can post to a YouTube channel.  Do some of the Zondle revision activities I will set up during the holidays.  Leave replies to my blog posts with anything that doesn’t make sense or with any questions you may have.  Past papers are best used sparingly in the early stages of revision – your task this holidays is to try to learn as much of the specification as you can.  We will look at many past papers and mark schemes next term.

4) Do not revise any one topic for more than 35 minutes.  Take a 5-10 minute break and then start something new.

5) Have a plan.  I suggest you should aim to work a maximum of 5 hours a day and I think it is best to split the day into three periods of work.  9.15am – 12pm; 2pm – 4.45pm; 7.30pm – 10.15pm.  The idea is that every day you always work in the morning slot plus either the afternoon or the evening slot as you prefer.

The plan is good because you want to know that when you are not working, you can relax and enjoy yourself properly.    Each revision session is divided into three or four topics, each lasting about half an hour.

Do not ever work late in the evening.  Always get up at your normal time and always start work at 9.15am.

6) Do some fun things in the holidays as well as work, but put them into the plan.  Exercise is good, spending time with friends is good, eating healthily is good, getting plenty of sleep (8 hours at least a night) is essential.

Basically for this one holiday, you want to trick your body and mind into sticking in “school mode”.  Early to bed, early to rise, keep active each day and work hard!  The summer term will fly by and you can do a great deal of sleeping and proper relaxing in the months of June, July and August.

Good luck – and keep checking the blog and/or Twitter for new posts and Zondle quizzes

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