Your notes • Download a copy of the Revision Checklist from the ‘Cambridge Students’ website and read through it. Be really clear what topics you need to know then check that your notes are complete and make sense. If you need further advice, speak to your teacher who will have a full copy of the Syllabus. Ask your teacher if you can have a copy of a summary of the syllabus. Be really clear what topics you need to know, then check that your notes are complete and make sense. Whilst there is a choice of questions on Papers 1, 2 and 4 there are compulsory sections from which you have to choose questions so you can’t afford to have gaps in your notes. Try to produce an accurate set of notes when you do the work in the first place, but if you need to improve your notes you could: o ask a friend if you can copy up work which you have missed from them – but make sure you understand it, o find more information on topics you have studied, using your textbook(s), the library or the Internet. For it to be useful make sure that you fully understand it – if not ask your teacher, o buy a good revision guide - there should be lots available in the bookshops.
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Learning the work There are lots of different ways to revise. Some people make lists; other people use diagrams and pictures. Once you know what topics to cover, you have to work out the best way to learn them. • Make a revision timetable and plan your revision carefully so that you have time to fit in everything you need to cover. • Try to work in short concentrated spells and then have a break rather than trying to work continuously. Avoid being interrupted – don’t answer the phone/read the text message/have a look at the TV – save it for your planned break. Do not sit looking at your notes, or just copy them out. Try to do something active, for example you could:
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draw brainstorming mind maps, including detailed labels, highlighting the most important ones using colours, draw tables and charts to learn key ideas about the topic such as the causes and effects, and successes and failures which you need to learn, draw time lines which help you pick out how things change and explain the reasons for the changes, use small cards to list the main points which you need to learn, use colours or highlighter pens to classify items in your notes e.g. causes/effects, long/short term effects, successes/failures, etc, ask your teacher for past papers and/or questions and test yourself. Look at as many past papers as possible. This is not for you to predict questions but to find out what sort of question is asked. Sometimes it is useful to practise writing out the answers in test conditions, if your teacher hasn’t explained to you how the exams are marked, ask about it. Ask if you can see questions and their mark schemes from previous examinations. Look particularly at those answers which are worth a lot of marks to discover how you can earn more marks by giving details and examples.
Answering the questions in the examination • Make sure you use your time carefully. For example in Paper 1 there are 3 questions to answer in 120 minutes, that is 40 minutes per question, but remember that includes time reading, thinking, choosing and planning as well as writing. It is no good writing a page if the question is only worth 5 marks; an answer worth 5 marks should take about 10 minutes to write. If you spend too long on questions which are not worth many...