The Kind Of Student I Was
In this post, I will detail how I was as a student during GCSE and A-Levels. I hope you guys can gain a lot from this post and apply some of the techniques I used or even tweak some of the things I did to help make revision for you more effective.
I just want to clarify that for GCSEs, I was that guy. That kid that the whole year recognized as a ‘geek’. Believe you me, I took that name and ran with it. I didn’t shy away from being that person because I knew in my heart that, even though people sometimes used that status against me, it would help me to become successful in my exams. I would go to all the extra study support classes even if I didn’t need it because I had the mindset of trying to get as much knowledge as possible in every subject. I was that person to ask questions all the time because I hated not knowing. I remember I even asked teachers to set topic tests so that I could consolidate my understanding of that particular topic. If you were in my GCSE Maths class, then you probably complained about these tests. In class, I would always try and listen and make as much notes as possible. Then when I got home, I would look at these notes and condense the notes so that I can understand it if I read it a week or a month from when I wrote it. I think this is something which a lot of students struggle with; writing effective notes for revision. When it comes to note-taking, my strategy was to first write down everything the teacher said and everything that was on the board. Then, I would condense the notes so that it was understandable for me. I would then take either a topic test or a past paper using only my notes and nothing else. If I got full marks, then I know that the notes I have are good enough and I can move onto the next topic or subject. However, if I didn’t receive full marks, then I would add in notes so that for future exams, my notes would cover everything there is to cover. These notes made me well equipped for my exams.
As well as being a geek, I was also a very competitive and at times a cocky individual. This side of me as a student helped me to fail in a good way. I know what you’re thinking right now. How is failing a good thing? Let me walk you through a day which changed my mindset as a student. There was an upcoming Maths topic test which was a big deal. I knew the topic it was on beforehand and consequently went into the test with minimal revision and I believed that I would just smash the exam. This wasn’t the case. I looked at the paper and thought, “Oh my God, I actually don’t know where to begin with this question!” I had never felt this way before and I was not looking forward to getting my results back. So, a week had gone by and the teacher handed out the papers. When I got mine, everyone immediately assumed that I got an A* and I got the highest in the class. I did not. I got a decent mark but I specifically remember the person who got the highest. If you’re reading this and you know who you are, then congratulations! On one hand, I was happy for her because I know that she would have taken confidence in beating me but on the other hand, I was disappointed with myself for not being fully prepared for the test. From then on, I never went into an exam, mock exam, topic test etc without being the best version of myself. My mindset that day had completely changed, not just for the classroom, but for life itself and I am very appreciative and grateful that I was beaten that day.
I want to talk about my thought processes when I approached an exam and when I was in the exam itself. When approaching an exam, I would always look at past papers. This is most definitely the best way to prepare for an exam. I would then write down the questions which I struggled with, even if I got the question right in the end. Once I completed all the past papers and written down all the questions which I found difficult, I would only attempt the questions I had written down as being hard because why do questions that you know you’re going to get right? That is one piece of advice I would like to add in. Always push yourself to the end of your limits. Don’t always revise your favourite topics or subjects because you like it. You have to do the harder questions regularly if you want to achieve those top marks. I would do topic tests also so that I could gauge off my results and determine which topics I was good at and which exams I needed more help in. Now, for the week leading up to my exam I was very calm. Most people would try and revise long hours during this week and especially the night before the exam. I wouldn’t advise this personally because I believe you will burn yourself out and will not be the best version of yourself when you enter that exam. Make sure that you get enough sleep and a good hearty breakfast for your exam. Instead, what I like to do, is to help other people with their problems and issues for the week of the exam. I always put myself in a position where my revision was done before the week leading to the exam. Of course, I still looked over my notes and did some questions but I didn’t do a lot of this. What I mean by helping out other people is that I would see which questions they were struggling with and I would show them how I would do it and explain to them step by step how to answer effectively to get full marks. This, in turn, helped me because when you show other people how to answer a question, this proves that you know that topic well enough to teach other people how to do it. So teaching other people topics will consolidate your understanding of that topic even more. When I was in the exam, I would be calm, be aware of the time and how much I need to spend on each question. I would leave some time remaining at the end so that I could check over my answers at least twice. I would make sure that every question was answered even if I didn’t know fully how to do it because you can always get marks here and there for your working out or explanation. Remember, it’s better to get 2 marks out of 4 than 0!
That’s it for this post! I hope that gave you an insight into the kind of student I was and how I revised and used my time whilst being at school. If there is anything you still wish to know, then feel free to go onto the Contact page and drop me an email!