Dealing with Assessments

Assessment 1 has come and gone, and I’m sure you were all as nervous for them as I was. There’s something about the first Assessment of the year that’s so intimidating – especially if you have a new teacher, or maybe you have just started your GCSE’s or A Levels. Your first Assessment of the year, and the result you receive will usually give teachers an outline of where you are in your understanding of the subject. This is the result they will base your target grades on.

Here are my top ten tips for surviving and learning from your assessments.

Tip 1 – Distractions

Now I know everyone tells you this tip. Teachers advised it, my parents advised it, the internet even advised it, (which is ironic.) The advice was simple, turn off your phone to avoid distractions. Now I know it’s not always as simple as that. When I wanted to quickly look something up on google while I was revising I’d have to wait for my phone to switch back on and then I’d inevitably get distracted by it. So what did I do?

First, I worked out what apps were the biggest distractions – Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest. It was simple after that, I deleted the apps from my phone. I knew my account wouldn’t be harmed, and I was too lazy to go through the effort of downloading the apps back on my phone and logging in. This way I could use google and my phones calculator without getting temporarily distracted.Revising

Tip 2 – Rewards

It’s so frustrating to study when you have absolutely no motivation to do it. Recently I was scrolling through the internet, distracting myself from the studying at hand. I just couldn’t seem to concentrate on the studying I had to do. Then, as if by magic, a picture appeared on my screen. It was simple really, layering chocolate bars through the notes you had to revise. A reward system that actually meant something to me.

Now that is the way to revise!
Now that is the way to revise!

Trying to reward myself with five minutes on my phone had never worked, because five minutes would turn into ten, and then an hour, followed by two. This system was perfect, and I haven’t looked back.

Tip 3 – Where are you revising?

People always say that where you revise impacts your ability to revise properly. I can tell you from first-hand experience that this is true. Everyone always makes finding a quiet spot in your house sound so simple and easy. Not everyone has that opportunity.

I always find it hard to revise, and continue to lose concentration as I have a large family and every room in my house is always occupied. Please, if you have the opportunity to study in a quiet spot, take it. It makes such a huge different with your ability to be productive. Distracting yourself by talking to your siblings, parents or friends is just as bad as sitting on your phone, procrastinating.

Tip 4 – Positivity

Try to be positive when it comes to revision. It’s hard to revise with a negative mindset. How can someone be productive and even feel at all motivated, when all they can concentrate on is the pile of revision they have to do?

Try to break it down. Think positively and set small goals. What’s the point of stressing yourself out?

The more time you spend staring into space and worrying about how to combat the task at hand, the longer your overall revision will take. Start working! No one’s going to do the revision for you. I know that the worst feeling is procrastinating over and over until eventually you’ve so much to do it’s hard to even attempt it at all. I know what it feels like, it sucks. But thinking positively about your situation will lift your spirits.

Tip 5 – Past Papers

I always used to struggle with ICT – I was an average D Grade student in Theory. But as soon as my teacher recommended past papers to me, I tried them out. Past papers make such a difference, because it gives you the opportunity to get experience answering the sort of questions that will be on your exam. It also lets you see your mistakes, and shows you what you should be answering for questions you struggle with.

After I started using past papers, I received my GCSE results to find I achieved a B Grade in ICT Theory, an A overall.

The only thing is that you need to make sure you use them correctly- don’t just copy out mark schemes, you really are only fooling yourself.

Tip 6 – Enough Sleep?

Be honest with yourself, do you get enough sleep? I didn’t. I would stay up to one or wo in the morning, doing homework and revision I could have easily done when I got home from school. I’m glad to say I’ve changed my habits.

Getting enough sleep actually makes it easier to get up in the morning. I never knew how much easier it is to get out of bed if you keep to a strict sleeping. It impacts your school classes and focus levels, especially for morning classes. Sometimes it’s better to sleep on the revision you’ve done, rather than send an extra hour on it. It’s not going to benefit you.

Tip 7 – Study Timetable

I’m guilty of not using this tip until last year. I’ve never been the most organised person in the world when it came to laying out a plan on what to revise for. Once I started making one, I didn’t feel the pressure of having to figure out what revision have I done? What do I have to do? Which tests are coming up?

You don’t need anything extravagant. What I stuck to is a simple calendar-type timetable. I wrote out the subjects I should study each day for the month before my exams. It was basic. It made my life so much easier. 

Tip 8 – Start Revision Early

Let’s face it, revision isn’t fun. No one enjoys it, but if you start early you’ll spread it out and it won’t seem so intimidating. I know it doesn’t sound fun to start revising months before, but I can promise that you won’t regret it. Even taking the time once a week to make some revision notes on different subjects all throughout the year, can extremely lesson the amount of revision you have to conquer once your tests arrive. Making notes about a topic that’s fresh in your mind is a lot easier too!

Tip 9 – Morning before the exam

This tip is less of a revision tip, and more of a pre-test anxiety tip. Usually when you come to school ready for the exam within the next hour, you’ll huddle up with a bunch of nervous other students. All of you will state how little revision you’ve done and how you’re so worried because, ‘Becca told me they’ve raised the grade boundaries for this year’s test,’ and ‘I heard this test is supposed to be the hardest yet, because last year everyone got A’s.’

Let me make a recommendation. Did you know that the best time to absorb information is early in the morning? For me, I take that thirty-minute gap I have before my exam to read over all my notes, and there’s always something that pops up that I forgot all about. Every single time I go into an exam, there is always a question that I wouldn’t have been able to answer if I had not quickly skimmed my revision notes before the test began. 

Tip 10 – What sort of learner are you?

Finally, something you should consider before you even begin revision is, what sort of learner are you? Visual, verbal or kinaesthetic? Most of the time people aren’t even aware of these terms. Revising properly suited to your learning style can greatly impact how well you absorb the information.

For example, I know I am a visual learner. I find it the easiest to absorb information by making notes on information and reading over it. Colourful, aesthetically pleasing revision notes are extremely compatible with my learning style. On the contrary I know someone who finds revision the easiest by recording themselves speaking the information out loud, this is auditory learning. They record them speaking the revision notes they need to learn on their phone and listen to it, as it absorbs better into their head. This is because it’s their learning style.

To get a better understanding of the three different learning styles I recommend the link below.

Good luck, have fun revising and learn from your mistakes.