With exams just days away we know there are many of you who’ve had your head down for weeks preparing and revising, but whether you’re feeling good or starting to panic, it’s never too late for some tips on how to make the most of the remaining time before – and during – this critical period.

To give you some great advice, we’ve teamed up with CGP educational books who, according to one of their fans, produce “really good revision guides that help with practice exam questions and quick and simple note taking!”

With CGP specialising in revision, who better to ask for the latest tips to help you succeed? Warning – there’s a few unusual suggestions in the list, but this is what they told us, starting with their tips on how best to revise …

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. If you’re a creative type, you’ll know this can be a real temptation so think hard on it and try to limit yourself to 2 or 3 colours, so you don’t get carried away colouring things in.

Do lots of practice exam papers

This is especially important as you get close to the exams — CGP has plenty available (another blatant advert).

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 tickles your ferret… When you’re doing these try to relax and totally forget about revision.

Get yourself drinks and snacks

Then you don’t make excuses to stop every 10 minutes…and you’ll keep your energy levels up.

Stick revision notes all around your house

In the exam you think — “aha, quadratic equations, they were on the fridge…”

Use revision guides

CGP ones are the best you can buy (blatant CGP advert, I know, but what do you expect — we’ve helped write this blog…). And look at the new CGP tips books to get advice specific to your subject, e.g. Maths tips. Another tip is to use the revision guides to help you practice answering past papers. Keep doing this until you feel you don’t need the guides anymore and you know how to answer questions on the topic for yourself.

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.

Try reading difficult bits in different accents

Australian is particularly good… It worked for my friend Alice (the weirdo).

Don’t just read your notes

You have to WRITE STUFF DOWN. This is really basic “how to revise” stuff. For the full details, get yourself a copy of our “How to Revise” book (Editor’s note: That’ll be another plug for CGP books then …?)!

In terms of timing, CGP suggest …

Take short breaks

That means every hour, not every 10 minutes. Lessons in school and college are intentionally divided into periods of 45-50 minutes because this is a reasonable amount of time to expect you to concentrate: try to mirror this when you’re revising, and you should get more done.

Revise early in the day

i.e. 9am — that way you’ll get your day’s work done much quicker and will have time to relax properly later on.

Sleep on your exam notes

This will enable you to revise by osmosis. If you are going to do this, it’s best not to learn anything until the night before the exam. Stick a revision guide under your pillow and when you wake the next day, you’ll find the full contents of the book have been absorbed into your brain.

And in terms of the ideal place to revise …

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”.

Find the right environment

NOT in front of the TV. NOT listening to the radio. Music can sometimes be OK, but you need to find the right kind.

It’s got to be something that’s just there in the background that you’re not thinking about at all. Music without singing is better as you won’t be tempted to dance around your bedroom like a big fool.

Thank you CGP. Great tips!

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