Letís start by how NOT to revise. The commonest fault that students have at GCSE is that many sit in front of a book, sometimes for hours, hoping that somehow it will all make sense. Normally, all that happens is that the student gets more and more fed up and disheartened and starts saying things like, ĎIíll start tomorrow!í

Here is a more successful method:

Step 1
First, remember the key questions that apply to all topics:
What? When? Why? How? Where? Who?

When you are revising a topic see how many of these questions can be made to fit the topic. Sometimes there will be more than one question, sometimes none at all.

Here is an example from Science:

Topic: Compounds and Chemical Change

What are the differences between elements and compounds?
When does a chemical change take place?
Why is a compound formed? Add an experiment.
How do I write a word equation for the experiment?
Where in the periodic table can I find the elements concerned with this topic?
Who was the scientist who developed the periodic table?

As you read through your notes use as many ways as you can think of to focus your mind Ė talking to yourself and walking round the room work for most people!

Step 2
When you think that you understand everything, and can remember it, close your notes.

Step 3
Now try to recall what youíve just been reading. Ask yourself the same questions without looking at your notes. Whilst you are doing this make brief notes of what you remember.

Step 4
Check these notes against your original ones. If you can recall all of the answers to the questions you were asking then you have created a master card from which you can re revise without having to use your lengthier, original notes.

If you canít recall all the answers then:

Step 5
Re-read your original notes and then go through steps 2 to 4 again. Write out all the points again; not just the ones that you have forgotten. This will encourage you to understand the whole topic.

This is not as time consuming as it might appear and it does allow you to recall a lot of what you learn.