Every student knows the purpose and importance of revising for exams, especially for ‘challenging’ subjects like math and science. Still, many remain unsure of how to do it right and struggle to find the proper techniques that suit them and the subjects they are working on.
Different subjects and exams may require additional preparation and different revision methods. For instance, math and science teachers often say that the best way to revise their subjects is to do lots of questions. While this is certainly sound advice, it will not suffice if students fail to develop a revision plan and compile an organised set of past yet relevant exam questions and notes. Moreover, not knowing where to begin making such a plan can often lead to procrastination, the greatest obstacle to academic success.
Below, we cover some recommended revision techniques and strategies to develop your effective revision system to ace IGCSE Maths and Science.
Where to Start With Your Revision Journey
The first thing you need for your revision is to find a comfortable and tidy space in your home where you will do most of your work. Revising in less-than-ideal locations, such as a messy bedroom, may hinder your studies because of the abundance of distractions. As such, find or create a dedicated area that is free from distractions and has enough storage to keep your notes organised.
Since there may be times when you will not be revising at home, consider the items you need to take with you if you need to make progress at school, in the library, or elsewhere. Ensure that you have folders organised with the syllabus information and exam board for each subject, past exam papers, and other useful documents like formula cheat sheets.
Next, answer the following questions while planning your revision:
- What knowledge do you have at present?
- What grade do you wish to achieve?
- What grade are you currently working at?
- What do you need to learn to achieve your desired grade?
Asking these questions for the subjects you are revising before getting started with each session helps to guide your efforts and keep your eyes on your goals.
Moreover, you may already have sat with some practice exam papers and have a general idea of your areas for improvement. This information will come in handy when finding resources that can help you in those areas, such as revision video tutorials, websites, and model answers for specific questions in exam papers. It would help if you also created a revision timetable. Having one ensures proper time allocation for all the topics you need to revise.
Revision Techniques for Math and Science
After finding a good place to revise and making a revision timetable, how do you revise in practice? Before thinking about the physical act of revising, you must first learn the best ways to do it for these two subjects.
But first, let us understand the concept called the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve coined by German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus. It essentially states that, over time, our brains would forget information if no effort is made to retain it. Therefore, whenever you review something, you strengthen your memory, and you retain information for much longer.
This shows that the way we learn and revise is incredibly important. Plenty of scientific research has looked at how humans learn and remember information, and you may have heard words such as retrieval practise, interleaving, and spacing. Below is an overview of what these terms mean.
1. Retrieval practice
Retrieval practice tests your brain to see what and how much it can remember. Actively trying to remember information strengthens memory and increases one’s ability to apply that information down the line.
Interleaving means switching between several subjects over time and returning to old ones that you have not recently revised.
Spacing involves spacing out the revision of subjects gradually. Progressively increasing the time gap between revising a topic can help strengthen your memory.
There are many different ways to leverage these learning processes in your revision system, and here are some of the tested and most popular techniques to try.
Mind maps are excellent for organising important information. For example, they can be applied to science to learn the differences between the cell structure of plants and animals. You can adopt various mind map examples on the internet, but it is far better to make your own since summarising and re-reading your notes helps to embed your knowledge in your long-term memory.
The tried and true flashcards are great for remembering all sorts of things, from new languages to formulas. You can either get ready-made ones for your needs or create your own to better focus on your weak areas. One of the best ways to use flashcards is to self-quiz. Most ready-made flashcards already have self-quizzing questions and answers on each side, and making your own from scratch is also relatively easy.
A vital aspect of self-quizzing is regularly switching the order of the questions per session. This prevents your brain from learning the answers, like learning the lyrics of a song you hear frequently, and it challenges you to connect the correct answer for each question.
Past exam papers, questions, and mark schemes
Drilling with practice questions from past exam papers is arguably one of the best ways to get familiar with the exam questions you are likely to encounter once you sit for the exams. To get started immediately and be sure that you are working on reliable and verified up-to-date questions with the latest syllabus changes, IGCSE students should try out Tutopiya’s Quiztopiya, the comprehensive IGCSE Math & Science Question Bank with over 12,000 math and 8,000 science questions to practice on.
Besides having relevant and good quality practice questions and past papers, you must also use them well to get the most out of them. IGCSE subject specialists create and approve these practice questions to ensure they are all of past paper standards. Quiztopiya’s question bank also undergoes monthly quality control to verify the questions’ quality to ensure students succeed in their IGCSE exams. Try out these techniques for effectively using past exam papers and questions:
It can be helpful to group similar questions into individual topics by creating topic packs. For example, if you know you need to work more on trigonometry, you could create a question bank or use a pre-made one (like Quiztopiya) to work through.
- Timed practice
Sitting past exam papers with a timer is an excellent way to get used to the pressure on the exam day. However, go easy on yourself on your first few attempts, as you will improve with more revisions.
- Make a perfect exam paper
You can use past paper questions and the mark scheme to develop a set of model answers you can refer to, which can then be placed onto flashcards for self-quizzing.
- Do a little bit every day
As an IGCSE student, finding enough time to spend on an entire paper can be difficult. Instead, work on just a handful of questions every day. You will manage to go over several exam papers over time and remember many things, strengthening your long-term memory.
Getting the grades you want for IGCSE Maths and Science subjects requires putting in the effort to revise the topics covered in the exam. Hopefully, this guide has helped you get a general idea of creating your own revision system and adopting techniques to ensure your revisions are as effective as possible. But without a proper revision plan, your preparations may prove insufficient once it’s time to sit for the exam. If you need extra help with your revision efforts, enrolling in IGCSE private tuition in Singapore may be best.
If high-quality and affordable live tuition is what you need, look no further than Tutopiya! We are a reputable IGSCE tuition centre in Singapore that specialises in providing online tuition for various curriculums and on-demand subjects that guarantee results for all our students. From customised study plans to flexible timings, our outstanding and internationally-qualified private tutors guarantee that your child will have everything they need to succeed in their exams.