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Revision tip of the day #4

flashcardsThis is a great tip, and, like all the best ideas, it’s also simple. Make some flashcards like the ones on the left with questions and answers on them. Concentrate on the topics you find difficult, questions you know you struggle with, key words you find difficult to spell. Write the question followed by the answer and then get a member of your family or a friend (if you have any left after your hermit-like revision existence over the past month) to test you.

Easy peasy.

This one is courtesy of Miss Fretwell so thanks to her!

Also, here’s another little revision present to help you on your way – full notes for the whole of Unit 1. You can print these, cut them up and turn them into flashcards: AQA_AS_GCE_A_Level_Biology_Unit_1_’Biology_and_Disease’_summary_notes

Revision tip of the day #3

post it on fridgeThis one is courtesy of one of my scientist colleagues, Mrs Wright-Phillips, so if you find it useful then be sure to say thanks. It’s really simple. Put sticky notes containing bullet – points, notes or diagrams around the house in locations that you visit regularly. For me this would be the fridge and the kettle.

Every time you visit the biscuit cupboard or the bathroom sink, try to see if you can remember everything written on the post it note you left there last night!

Easy and effective!

Remember that your brain makes stronger associations between places and colours than it does between black and white words on the page.

Get down to the shop for some sticky notes guys!

As a little revision treat for you, here’s a fantastic revision PowerPoint I found for Unit 2: Unit_2_revision_sheets

You could print these slides 3 to a page and then cut them out. Stick them around the house and you’ve got some ready made revision notes.


Revision Tip of the Day #2

neuronsI think I’ve mentioned this tip to quite a few of you before but it bears repeating because it’s so effective. Using colour can enhance the brain’s ability to categorise and store information. Basically, the way your memory works is to store information as chunks. Try to memorise this sequence of 15 letters:

C T A B T A R T A H T A P G I.

How many attempts did it take you to memorise it completely?

The information is more easily remembered if you notice that it is made up of 4 repeated sequences, each slightly different from each other. The fifth group of 3 letters is different from the rest. It’s easier to remember the letters if you divide them up into 5 ‘chunks’: CTA BTA RTA HTA PGI.

This is what psychologists call ‘chunking’. It’s even more useful if the information carries some meaning or association for you. For example, the letters are much easier to recall if they are arranged like this:


The words are chunks of information that have meaning so are easier to store in your long term memory which is the goal of revision. You want to move information contained in the exam specification from your short term memory to your permanent, long term memory.

Instead of a sequence of 15 meaningless letters you’ve now got 5 simple words to remember.

How can you apply this knowledge to your revision techniques?

sticky-note-lessonLook at the picture on the left. Using coloured notes or pieces of paper to organise your revision notes is a good way of chunking the information into easy to remember, bitesize groups. Using the coloured sticky notes gives the information a context that can help you to memorise it.

Dividing the information up onto the sticky notes also means that you have to think about the information and how it should be best organised before you write it down. This is called processing. The more you process the information the more likely you are to remember it.

If you can colour code the information so that it relates to your revision book then your brain makes an association between the colour, the information and the context the information is in.

Sticky note book

This is a really powerful technique. Even if it doesn’t sound like your kind of thing please give it a go. It’s certainly easier to sit with a book and ‘read through it’ which is a commen statement I’ve heard when talking to students about revision but revision shouldn’t be easy. If it doesn’t feel like hard work then your brain isn’t forming the neural circuits it needs to store information over a long term.



Revision tip of the day #1

teacherI told Year 12 today that I would try to post a revision tip of the day every day until the exam. Just a practical little something to make your revision go a bit more smoothly.

Here is the inaugural revision tip of the day then!

It’s a really simple one – mark your past papers twice. I know that teachers tell you all the time that using the mark scheme to mark your own work is a good idea, it helps you to see where you’ve gone wrong, helps you to understand what the examiner is looking for etc. That’s all fine, but sometimes having an expert (that’s me, on the left there, obviously) mark your work objectively is better than your own subjective assessment of your efforts.

If you do a past paper at home, mark it yourself, then bring it in and get me to have a look over it. The thing that can most reveal your misconceptions and weaknesses is looking at how you have misinterpreted the mark scheme and been, sometimes, a bit too lenient with yourself.

Give it a try!



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Human Biology Unit 5 ExamJune 17th, 2013
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Biology Unit 2 ExamJune 3rd, 2013
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