Why are study skills so important and how do you master them.

Study Skills

How to become a Grade A student


We all want to do well in the future, and you know you need to have a great set of results to make it happen. Hopefully, you are willing to do whatever it takes to get those great grades to get started.

Getting great results is not about the cost of your school, or the size of your brain or having amazing teachers. It is about YOU and your routine. A weekly routine that is repeated until your exams is all that’s needed. It is about consistency, self-discipline and the determination to stick to it.

This routine will make you a straight-A student. As you move through school the amount of learning increases as does the importance of what you need to learn. Everyone starts talking about revision, but what is it? The official dictionary definition is to “see (or read) again”. So the key implication about revision is that you have already pre-learned what you are trying to revise.

The purpose of revision is to be able to remember all the knowledge you need for your exams and to practice the skills you need for your exams until you are perfect. Exams are about remembering information and more importantly knowing how to answer the questions using the information you have remembered to get the maximum amount of marks.

To be revision ready when the exams start you have to put the work in earlier in the year. Then actively planning your revision to use your time really effectively.

The first thing to remember is that no exam will ever test you everything you have learned and not everything is known. So you need to find out what your exam could cover. The list of this is found either in the exam specification or the syllabus and these terms are used interchangeably.

1. So how do you get a definitive breakdown of the knowledge and skills that you need to pass a school level exam, so that you can be methodical in the your approach and ensure that you have ticked off the list and will walk into your exam confident.

2. Make sure you check the knowledge you need as well as the skills e.g essay writing, mathematical formulae, statistical techniques to analyse data. You do not need to print the entire specification, just the part that shows the content and knowledge required.

The main exam boards that you will be studying from are likely to be a combination of the following.

3. Be careful to choose the correct qualification taking note of whether is an International GCSE or not. The first point of your success must be to know which syllabus (exam board specific) that you are following. Some teachers will provide you with this as well, but if they don’t you can download it.

4. On the exam board sites there are also past exam papers and mark schemes. Use these past exam papers like your life depends on them, there are only so many questions that can be asked, so it is likely that similar questions will repeat over the years.

Once you have the list of contents and exam papers you are on the right path for success, If you know eveything on the list by the time you take the exam you will have set yourself up to get a great grade.

From the information you have collected for each subject from the list above you can now identify your strengths and weaknesses. If you have taken class or module tests and just got through with a mediocre 50% score, take heart it is a pass, but it also means that there is 50% of content that you still don’t know, what happens if its this 50% that is tested in the final paper? You will always have that one teacher who does not inspire your learning, is new themselves and may literally only be one step ahead of you in the text book – it happens, but their teaching level does not have to be your learning level or the final outcome of your exams.

How can you identify your strengths and weaknesses?
Most of the time you will just have a gut feeling about the things you find easy and hard. Get some red, orange and green pens or highlighters. If you are not sure about how you feel about a topic, go back to your notes on that area and have a look at your assessed work see what your marks were and and does this equal the grade you are targeting. If they were below, mark them as red, if they were above mark them as green and if they were equal to your target then use orange.

When you are planning out your revision your priority will be to learn the things you have marked in red: your weaknesses. When you have finished these you move onto the orange ones and then finally you can review the green marked topics. By doing this you will be focusing on your areas of weakness which are the areas that you are most likely to lose marks on in your exam. Hopefully your areas of weakness will change as you work through your revision list as you focus on them they will turn into strengths. Keep revaluating strengths and weaknesses as you go along.

Once you get into revision season time its of the essence. This means that is you are really struggling with something you need to seek help rather then work it out on your own. Talk to teacher or book a tutor and then move onto something else that you can progress on your own.

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