Preparing for your GCSEs and A levels

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Preparing for SATS, 11 plus exams, GCSEs and A levels
Written by; Phinnah Ikeji

Is it difficult to study for? What is it like sitting and take one of these exams? Is it possible to really do well on these exams?

First of all, take a deep breath and slowly release it. Now, take another deep breath and slowly release it while counting to ten. Stay calm. Stay focused. You can do well on these exams. You can. Let’s look at some ways that will enable you to ace any of these exams.


Gather a few of your friends or fellow classmates and start a study group. Meet once or twice a week and discuss the material learned that week. Ask questions and listen to all the answers given; even the wrong answers. By discussing the material and examining all the answers, you will learn better. By understanding what and why certain answers are wrong, you will never give one of them as your answer. Why? Because you’ve already learned that answer is not the correct answer.


There’s a saying that goes “knowledge is power.” That means if you have knowledge, you will have power as well. Knowledge of what? Power of what? These are two good questions that deserve thoughtful answers.

Knowledge of what: Knowledge of the subject matter being tested. How do you gain such knowledge? First, pay attention in class. Listen to what your teacher says and read your books and handouts. Take time to learn your subject inside and out. Don’t just memorize material; spend enough time to thoroughly understand the material.

Power of what: Power to be in a position to answer the questions asked. Once you know your material, you will feel sure of yourself. If you feel sure of yourself, you will feel powerful. If you feel powerful, you will do well on your test. It’s as simple as A-B-C.


Don’t cram! Don’t try to learn about any subject all at once. It won’t work. Your brain won’t be able to process all this information in one or two sessions. It’s important to attend your classes and do the homework assigned. In this gradual way, you will thoroughly understand the subject at hand.


Make sure you get enough sleep. If you attend class, or you read a section in your book or handout, or do your homework without having gotten enough sleep the night before, you won’t process the information sufficiently enough to understand it and be able to answer questions about it. This is a no-brainer. Getting enough sleep is very important.


It’s important to feel confident when you are taking your exams. You’ve studied the subject matter for a long time. You haven’t crammed all the information into your head. You thoroughly understand what the subject matter is all about. You are ready to take an exam on what you have learned and know. You feel ready, willing and able. You are confident that you have prepared enough. No confidence? You won’t do well. That’s also as simple as A-B-C.


It’s important to take your exam wearing comfortable clothes. Some exams can last for hours before you’re given a break. You don’t want your clothes feeling too tight or your shoes hurting your feet. This is not a good day to wear your new shoes or new clothes. You want absolutely no distractions so that you can concentrate.


If you finish before the official time is up, don’t leave. Put your exam test down on your desk and sit a moment to recharge. After a few minutes, review each and every question and review your answers. Are you sure you answered the question? Never assume. Make sure you fully understand the question before offering an answer. You’d be surprised how many answers are marked “wrong” because the answer given did not match the question asked.


Let’s review. It’s not difficult to study for any of these exams as long as you study along the way as opposed to cramming a couple of nights before. Your older friends will tell you how it feels to sit and take one of these exams. Listen to their experiences, but know that those experiences don’t have to be your experience. And get plenty of sleep the night before the exam. In fact, that night simply review the material as opposed to studying it. If you don’t know the material by the night before the exam, then you won’t ace the exam the next day. Good luck!

Click here to download “Preparing for your GCSEs and A levels” in pdf.

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