Hopefully the past month has given you a bit more clarity as to how your school/ college is assessing grades. You may have been getting more essays or homework set, maybe a new set of mocks have been announced or are even happening now. Either way, it’s safe to say that it’s best to complete each piece of work to the best of your ability. In this blog I’ll be talking about some tips and tricks you can use to keep working through a school of twenty back-crunching zoom calls whilst trying to prep for upcoming exams.
So, firstly for general revision and keeping focus: we have to remember that this doesn’t last forever. A-levels/ BTECs/ GCSEs will end, and so will all this work you're doing… I promise! Yes, we don’t know when or how we’re getting assessed exactly, but when school finishes in 5 or so months this will all be over and a new chapter awaits. The likelihood is these academic grades will be finally determined around May/June time, so summer and sunshine is only a few more months away!
Anyone who had exams cancelled this year will probably have to do some other form of assessment, so let’s quickly go over some advice for these. Don’t panic and keep calm! If anything, cancelling exams gives students a chance to actually show what they can do to the best of their ability without any pressure of proving it over a day or so. It will give you a better chance of being more relaxed, and hopefully you have revision materials and resources that would have been used in the real exams anyway, so all the hard work that you’ve been putting in over the past year or so really isn’t wasted… it matters just as much now!
But if this doesn’t sound like you and final summer exams seemed like a hazy memory, you may have been relying on getting yourself together in the coming months. The cancellation is a bit of a shock for all of us but you will have time to prepare for some assessments so please don’t lose hope! Yes, consistency will be important for teacher assessed grades, but there will be assessments and exams which can help measure your progress. It’s not too late to make revision resources, ask your teacher for extra help or to hand in practice essays- it makes thing so much easier in the long run. The government and schools are aware that between now and May we would have made some progress so final grades will accommodate for that. If your exams or ‘mini-mocks’ are coming up sooner than you thought, try to find some online revision resources (this works more if your course is quite common) to base your learning off and make it more accessible to you. The student room has condensed notes and mind maps which is a great starter point for you to add some extra content from your own class work onto and searching for your topic on Quizlet usually comes up with some promising flashcards.
To keep on top of organising topics and subjects, try and find something that works for you. For A-Level or BTEC students getting back into the swing of revision and organisation this may be a little easier because you can cast your mind back to the summer of GCSEs and learn from what techniques you used (or didn’t use). I’m sure I speak for us all when I say that these lockdowns are not doing wonders for our attention span. Breaking up the looming giant of ‘Revision’ lurking in the corner of your room under the piles of notes is much easier when you tackle it by breaking it down bit by bit into smaller tasks to be more manageable. Before setting aside an hour to ‘revise’ and ending up just staring at your wall (yes, we’ve all been there) try and get a plan together. A good tip is to write down each module or topic per subject in an excel spreadsheet. On the columns write down what day you plan to revise these and then tick the box when they get down. Revising in lockdown is different from normal circumstances so don’t be overly ambitious and plan a day which would require 30 hours of revision. Ticking off small boxes gives you a sense of accomplishment and motivates you to do more revision… talk about killing two birds with one stone.
So, hopefully you’ve learnt that organisation is key to revising during lockdown you’re all good to go! It may feel a little inhuman that schools are setting so much work and exams during a global pandemic but this will all be over by summer. Try and do what you can to the best of your ability because exams being cancelled does not mean that your grades are too!
ANISHA MINOCHA is a sixth form student from Manchester, hoping to study English Literature and Spanish at university. She is a passionate writer and poet whose work has been published in anthologies, magazines, blogs and won competitions. Contributing to Sink Magazine, she is keen to utilize the voice of young people and share work through her creative writing blog. As a climate activist, she has combined her love for words and the planet in a performance of spoken word at the Royal Exchange Theatre in 'Letters to the Earth'. She also co-runs Young Friends of the Earth: Manchester and has organised workshops, participated in panels and spoken at Manchester Cathedral.
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