With exam season just around the corner, it’s time to start revising in earnest for your IGCSE exams. This can be stressful and worrying! Don’t worry—I’ve done the research for you and compiled three of the simplest—and most efficient—revision methods that can quickly help you become exam-ready. These revision tips are based off my own experience as an IGCSE and A Level student, so I can tell you with certainty that they work.
1. Organise your material and set measurable goals
Organisation! A simple, yet underrated, method that will make the huge mountain of syllabus you have to tackle much more bearable.
The process is easy: first, consider the best way you can group your syllabus into chunks. I preferred to do this with the subject’s syllabus guide as reference, grouping each chapter and its subtopics into three categories: the ones which I knew best; the ones which I knew, but did not remember completely, and the ones I had a long list of problems with. Often, I color-coded this by writing the problem areas in red, the forgotten areas in yellow, and the strong areas in green.
Once you have identified your problem areas, you can start setting weekly goals for revision. It’s easy—just take a few minutes out of your Sunday evening and note down which chapters you want to cover during the following week. Start with your problem chapters first, and leave the best ones for last.
And remember—be realistic with your goals. Don’t try to study too much at once and risk burning yourself out. Don’t create a list of too many chapters—you’ll only feel demotivated if you’re not able to study all of them.
2. Make notes
This stage of the revision process is something you should customise according to your preferences. Do you like to revise using flashcards? Make some! Or do you prefer to make mind maps and short notes as you read?
Whatever it is, feel free to employ it to your heart’s content in whatever way works best for you. Don’t waste energy on trying to make your notes look pretty and colorful—rather, think about the best way you can make them useful, easy to go over, and short. After all, the point of making notes is to put concepts into your own words, and not have to go through all the excess content in your textbook over and over again.
3. Do practice papers.
Past papers! Now these are an IGCSE student’s best friend. Doing them has so many benefits—it helps you understand the type of questions you can be asked and test yourself in a timed context. It also helps you root out concepts that you still haven’t understood.
I know the most common method of doing past papers is year-wise, but I have a better idea for you. Do your past papers topic-wise. This has become easier by the day, as several websites provide topical questions for IGCSE subjects. Even if you can’t find such a resource for your subject, you can go through past papers and only do the questions that are relevant to the topic you’re trying to revise.
Why is this useful? Well, if you do these questions right after you finish studying a topic, you can immediately apply the concepts you’ve learnt to exam questions. This will help you understand them better and let you know immediately if there is something you still haven’t understood completely. Often, looking at the marking scheme will also help you understand what knowledge examiners want to see the most. Sometimes, it may even give you additional points to add to your notes.
Bonus tip! Attend online tuition
If you find yourself having massive difficulties grasping a topic, do not worry! There are several companies online that provide live classes to help you revise. This will help you understand each concept fully, give you detailed feedback on what you’re doing wrong, and provide a teacher who can answer all your questions.
Attending classes online, rather than at a tuition center, is doubly helpful because it means you don’t have to waste time and energy on travelling, and can attend the classes from the comfort of your own home.
Live online English classes with EnglishAhead
One of the companies that can give you the online tuition you need is EnglishAhead, an online education company based in India. We provide live online 1-to-1 classes for IGCSE English Language, which will help you perfect the reading and writing skills you need for your exam, practice extensively and thoroughly, and provide you with detailed feedback on your answers. You can learn more about our program here.
The Bottom Line
Regardless of how you organise your material, make your notes, or do your practice papers, the most important thing to remember is to take it easy. Don’t pile yourself with so much work that you find yourself too stressed out and exhausted to study. And don’t become a revision zombie! Make sure to get as much rest as you need—in fact, taking naps after you study will help your brain process what you have just learnt. Take breaks to connect with friends, do the things that help you relax, and take walks outside.
The key is to space out your revision so you aren’t piled with too much all at once, and to study at a pace that suits your ability. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, don’t hesitate in taking a step back and simply breathing through it, or talking to a friend.
Remember—you’ve got this!
About the author
Soumya Saral is an undergraduate student with ten IGCSEs and four A Levels under her belt. She likes to write, read poetry, and watch cat videos in her downtime.
You can get updates about her writing by following her on Linkedin.