Effective habits and strategies for students and parents

Graduation cap Monthly calendar Clock Pencil Open book Head with gears

  • Well-being strategies and tools
  • Exam vocabulary
  • Interleaving
  • Retrieval practice
  • Dual coding
  • Spaced practice
  • Elaboration
  • Useful websites
  • Subject specific websites



Well-being during the exams.

The exam period can be stressful so it’s very important that you revise and prepare as this can help reduce anxiety.

In addition to revising, it is important that you look after your mental and physical health to ensure you’re at your best!

Run Arrow circleFruit bowlClosed book Sleep

Eat. Diet is important so don’t neglect it during the exam period. Don’t skip meals and try to eat healthy, balanced meals and drink lots of water.

Fruit bowl

Sleep. Staying up late, even to revise, is a bad idea. Sleep deprivation can have a very negative impact on concentration, performance and memory


Exercise. Take regular breaks from revision and exercise. Play a sport, go for a walk or do any activity which gets you moving and try to do this every day.


Relax. It is essential that after you’ve been concentrating that you take a break and switch off. If you’ve earned a break you deserve one!


Exam vocabulary – Command words

There will be subject specific command words which you need to know for each subject.

Do you understand what the exam question is asking you? Command words can vary across subjects so it’s important you understand the command word in the exam question and the context.

Questions Megaphone Closed book

Analyse – separate information into components and identify their characteristics.

Argue – present a reasoned case

Assess – make an informed judgement

Calculate – work out the value of something

Compare – identify similarities

Debate – present different perspectives on an issue

Define – specify meaning

Describe – set out characteristics.

Evaluate – judge from available evidence

Explain – set out purposes or reasons

Identify – name or otherwise characterise

Interpret – translate information into a recognizable form

Prove – demonstrate validity on the basis of evidence

Justify – support a case with evidence

Outline – set out main characteristics

Summarise – present principal points without detail

What is interleaving?

Interleaving is a process where students mix and combine multiple subjects and topics whilst they study in order to improve their learning. Blocked practice on the other hand, involves studying one topic very thoroughly before moving onto another. Interleaving has been shown to be more effective than blocked revision, leading to better long-term retention.


Mathematics Checklist RTL Beaker


What is retrieval practice?

Retrieval practice is a learning strategy where we focus on getting information out of our heads. Through the act of retrieval, we strengthen our memory and we are less likely to forget that information. Retrieval is a powerful tool for improving learning and so getting better exam results!

Use your class notes and textbooks to make a list of all the important information and content you need to know across different subjects.

Then close your books and test yourself (no books allowed!) You can create quizzes, flashcards or complete past exam papers. Ask your friends and family to test you!

Retrieve as much information as you can then check your answers. It’s important to know and what you don’t know… yet!

Use your answers to plan the next stage of your revision. Focus on the areas you struggled to recall from memory.


What is dual-coding?

Dual coding is the process of combining verbal materials with visual materials. There are many ways to visually represent materials, such as with infographics, timelines, cartoon/comic strips, diagrams and graphic organisers.

Dual coding involves you, the learner, drawing images, graphs or timelines to support your revision notes.

When you are revising using your class notes, find or create visuals that link with the information. Compare and combine the visuals with words.

Don’t worry if you’re not an amazing artist! It isn’t about the quality of your illustrations, the focus is to improve and deepen your understanding.

Make sure your images link and are relevant. Don’t add too many photos as too many background pictures can distract you.

What is spaced practice?

Start planning for early for exams and set aside a little bit if time each day. Five hours spread over two weeks is better than five hours all at once!

This is spaced practice and it is regarded as a really effective revision strategy.

Divide your revision into short, manageable chunks of time. 20-30 minutes per session.

Mass practice or cramming is not effective and can be stressful. Do not just revise just before the exam!

You need to plan your time carefully to ensure all subjects and topics are covered in shorter chunks over a longer period of time.

Dividing up your revision into shorter, manageable chunks will help you to remember more.

Lightbulb and gear

What is elaboration?

The term elaboration can be used to mean a lot of different things. However, when we are talking about studying using elaboration, it involves explaining and describing ideas in detail. Elaboration also involves making connections between ideas you are trying to learn.

Elaboration involves asking further questions and making links to help you connect new information to what you have already learned.

Ask yourself questions about a topic to delve deeper. The more information you have on a topic, the more you can recall.

When you learn about the failure of the Armada you could ask which factors are linked? Which is the most important factor? What are the long and short term reasons?

Another way to elaborate is to take two concepts and think about the various ways they are similar or how they are different.

Useful websites and social media

The internet can be a great source of revision support.

Here are some general useful websites.

Check out the websites your teacher recommends too!

Useful websites: https://www.learningscientists.org/
Monthly/weekly/daily planners:  https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/articles/zn3497h




Useful social media sites:

Instagram @learningscientists

Facebook Learning Scientists

YouTube The Learning Scientists

Twitter @acethattest

Twitter @retrievelearn

App Headspace to support relaxation

App Calm to support relaxation

App Quizlet Flashcards

English links and websites:

English language



Open envelope Subtitles Newspaper

English Literature




Maths links and websites:

Pie chartMathematicsBar chartCalculator




Past Maths Papers papers:


Science links and websites:



Plant Lungs Heart organ



Paper 1 – 12th May Biology 1 


follow the links:

SUMMARY Topic 1 – Key concepts in biology 

SUMMARY Topic 2 – Cells and control 

SUMMARY Topic 3 – Genetics 

SUMMARY Topic 4 – Natural selection and genetic modification 

SUMMARY Topic 5 – Health, disease and development of medicines 



Paper 4 – 1st June Biology 2 

SUMMARY Topic 1 – Key concepts in biology 

SUMMARY Topic 6 – Plant structures and their functions 

SUMMARY Topic 7 – Animal coordination, control and homeostasis 

SUMMARY Topic 8 – Exchange and transport in animals  

SUMMARY Topic 9 – Ecosystems and material cycles 

Science links and websites:




Microscope Radioactive sign Beaker

Paper 2- 14th May Chemistry 1


SUMMARY Topic 1 – Key concepts in chemistry 

SUMMARY Topic 2 – States of matter and mixtures 

SUMMARY Topic 3 – Chemical changes 

SUMMARY Topic 4 – Extracting metals and equilibria  

Paper 5- 10th June Chemistry 2 


SUMMARY Topic 1 – Key concepts in chemistry 

SUMMARY Topic 6 – Groups in the periodic table 

SUMMARY Topic 7 – Rates of reaction and energy changes 

SUMMARY Topic 8 – Fuels and Earth Science 

Science links and websites:




Atom Magnet Telescope

Paper 3- 20th May Physics


SUMMARY Topic 1 – Key concepts of physics   

SUMMARY Topic 2 – Motion and Forces   

SUMMARY Topic 3 – Conservation of energy   

SUMMARY Topic 4 – Waves   

SUMMARY Topic 5 – Light and the electromagnetic spectrum  

SUMMARY Topic 6 – Radioactivity 

Paper 6- 12th June Physics 2 

SUMMARY Topic 1 – Key concepts of physics  

SUMMARY Topic 8 – Energy – Forces doing work 

SUMMARY Topic 9 – Forces and their

SUMMARY Topic 10 – Electricity and circuits  

SUMMARY Topic 12 – Magnetism and the motor effect  

SUMMARY Topic 13 – Electromagnetic induction

SUMMARY Topic 14 – Particle model  

SUMMARY Topic 15 – Forces and matter 

Art links and websites:

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Examination links:




Food and Nutrition links and websites:

Fork and knife Pie Orange


Health and Social care links and websites:

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History links and websites:


Past Papers and mark schemes


Paper 1 Section A Option B: Germany 1890-1945: Democracy and dictatorship

Paper 1 Section B Option A: Conflict and tension: The First World War 1894-1918

Paper 2 Section A Option A Britain: Health and the people: c1000 to the present day

Paper 2 Section B Option C: Elizabethan England, c1568-1601






PE links and websites:

Skeleton Climbing Body builder





RS links and websites:

Group successOpen handPrayer candleHandshakeCheers  

For GCSE Religious Studies, the most important revision materials are the purple revision guide and workbook that your teacher has already given you. Use these wisely to help you prepare! However, an additional resource that can be used is the online BBC bitesize website: https://www.bbc.co.uk 

Please just make sure that you click on the Edexcel exam board and study Christianity and Islam only.