A student asks: how do I revise in a hurry?

A question from a student:

I am sitting my Higher Tier GCSE exam on Monday and I have tried every way to revise but it just doesn't stay in my head! While I am reading the method, I just don't seem to understand it - it feels like i am just staring at paint dry on the wall.

I'm panicking! Is there any advice or even a video I could watch covering the whole of what i need to know?

I find this sort of message quite difficult to respond to: on one hand, I really do want to help; but on the other, there's part of me frustrated by the revision having been left so late. There's not an awful lot I can do... but here's what I suggested.

Thanks for your message. I suspect, unfortunately, that you've left it a bit late: trying to cover the whole of the syllabus in a weekend isn't really practical (it's generally two school years of work), and I'm surprised you've got to this stage without realising there's a problem.

I'm afraid I don't know of a good video site that covers the whole of GCSE. I do have some suggestions, though:

  • Pick a few topics where you're kinda sorta comfortable and work on them until you're confident. That's the most reliable way to boost your scores in the short term.
  • Slow down when you're reading. Go through things line by line. Copy them out. Ask yourself "why have they done this? Why is this the same as that?"
  • Look at past papers (Google is your friend) to see what kinds of things they ask.

I wish you luck!


Colin is a Weymouth maths tutor, author of several Maths For Dummies books and A-level maths guides. He started Flying Colours Maths in 2008. He lives with an espresso pot and nothing to prove.


5 comments on “A student asks: how do I revise in a hurry?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Sign up for the Sum Comfort newsletter and get a free e-book of mathematical quotations.

No spam ever, obviously.

Where do you teach?

I teach in my home in Abbotsbury Road, Weymouth.

It's a 15-minute walk from Weymouth station, and it's on bus routes 3, 8 and X53. On-road parking is available nearby.

On twitter