Start revising early
YES months, not days before the exam. Make a timetable to plan your revision and stick to it. This is an example (example time plan) but it really is best to make your own! Start by mapping out all the items you do not have direct control over and then put in when homeworks and revision sessions can be done as well as when you take part in clubs or spend some time with friends.
Don't spend ages making your notes look pretty
This is just wasting time. For diagrams, include all the details you need to learn, but don't try to produce a work of art. Limit yourself to 2 or 3 colours so you don't get carried away colouring things in.
Take short breaks
Every hour, not every 10 minutes. It is a balance so set yourself targets or 15, 20, 30 or 40 minutes work and build in 5-10 minute breaks. Be strict with yourself and ensure you return to revision after the allotted time.
Use revision guides
CGP/Collins/Edexcel/AQA and others all produce a wide range of GCSE or other course approved guides. talk to you subject teachers to find out which they would recommend. Do also look for yourself and compare before buying.
Sleep on your exam notes
Clearly this is not serious! You can not revise by osmosis (insert science related joke here). Sticking a revision guide under your pillow and hoping that your brain will absorbed the contents will NOT sadly work!
In study leave, start revising early
Get yourself up at a reasonable time. 7am, 8am or even 9am if not at school — that way you'll get your day's work done much quicker and will have time to relax in the evening. You will need to get yourself up for college or a job in the future so you might as well realize and start now!
Stick revision notes all around your house
Well it works for some but I am not sure it is a good idea to consider putting sticky notes on pets! Placing them on doors, drawers and walls in appropriate places you will read then regularly might be of use as long as others in the house dont move them!
Get yourself drinks and snacks
This is a balancing act! On one hand you need to work and revise. On the other you can not effectively revise if you are dehydrated or hungry. Plan your strategy. Make a plan as suggested in point 1 and set yourself goals for work and break time as stated in point 3. Don't make excuses to stop every 10 minutes...
Try reading difficult bits in funny accents
Think carefully - well you could do this if you can but this is not really a serious one. Making revision entertaining can work but it can also simply just become a silly game. It has worked for some but revision really needs to be taken seriously so think carefully about what you are aiming to get out. Learning in this way can making thinking of answers more difficult.
Sit at a proper desk
Don't try to revise in bed — you'll be in the land of pink igloos and elephants before you can say "Captain Birdseye". You will sit your exams at a formal desk so try to find a desk to sit at when revising and doning homework. It may be a desk in yuor room or it may be a table somewhere else in the home you live in.
Don't put it off
"Procrastination" is the long word for it. And it means rearranging stuff on your desk, getting a sudden urge after 16 years to tidy your room, playing the guitar, thinking about the weekend, writing love poems about that girl/boy you fancy, painting your toenails, etc, etc, etc,... Sit down at your desk and GET ON WITH IT!
Don't just read your notes
You need to WRITE STUFF DOWN, DRAW DIAGRAMS, PICTURES... This is real basic "how to revise" stuff.
Take in a beer mat
To beat the wobbly exam desk — this will do your nerves and general mental state no end of good... NO NO no. Again not a serious moment. we have all had that annoying slightly wobbly desk but simply focus on the paper in front of you and not on the very minor things that may annoy you.
Don't turn yourself into a revision zombie
If you stop doing anything else but revision you'll turn into a zombie. It's really important that you keep time to do things you enjoy... like cinema, shopping, sports, frisbee, rock-climbing, making model planes, nose-picking, whatever but get a balance... When you're doing these try to relax and totally forget about revision.
Do lots of practice exam papers
This is especially important as you get close to the exams — Your teacher can provide past exam papers and many are available to download for free from exam board websites - check with your teacher which they would recommend you use.
Read the exam timetable properly
Double-check so you don't miss an exam and have plenty of time to prepare for it. Arrive early and check your seating position so that your stress levels are managed and you dont feel you are being rushed.
If really stuck in the exam... play a game...
NO NO NO!!!! No games or distraction strategies. You need to be prepared and ready for an exam. If you are you will remain focused. Be prepared to read a question 2 or 3 times and even use highlighters to underline or pinpoint key words or parts of a question so you can quickly refer back to them as you write your answer. Read questions after you ahve written an answer and ask yourself - Does what I have written answer the question?
Find the right environment to revise
NOT in front of the TV. NOT listening to the radio. Music does not really work. exams are taken in silent rooms and thus linking knowledge to a noisy environment makes recall more difficult when you are then in a silent venue.
Don't hang around with the nervous paranoid
Some people on the morning of the exam (yes they may be your friends) can stress you out, which doesn't help you at all. Think about going to the exam on your own and preparing on your own.
Look at tips books
There are of course revision tips books. Some general and some for specific subjects. This does not replace actual revision but try one from a library before you start buying them!
Dress as a medieval knight when revising for history and shout ale...
Oh dear.. this sounds like something Mr Belshaw may suggest but it really is NOT A GOOD IDEA! Be creative with your revision strategy but realistic too. Sometimes diagrams, sometimes lists and sometimes skill repetition or another depending on the subject you are revising and the type of information you are learning. This is why starting early and doing revision over a longer time period is more successful as you have time to learn the same topics in different ways!