Revision Tips

RevisionRevision Table Mat or Poster

Here are a few tips for successful mathematics revision:

1: USE YOUR ONLINE TEXTBOOK OR REVISION GUIDE

Your textbook is full of explanations and worked examples you can follow, study and use to improve your understanding. It’s generally a good idea to find a topic you need help with, read through the explanation (looking up anything you don’t understand), before following along with the examples –copying them out is good idea – and tackling the questions at the end of the section to see how well you’ve taken it on board.

2: PRACTISE WITH PAST PAPERS

Probably 80% of what I do with students in class is based on past papers. If you want to do well in a test, it’s just common sense to figure out what the test looks like, what kinds of things you may be asked, how the questions are worded… and, by tackling the questions, see how you’re doing and where you need to do some extra work.

When you get something wrong, it’s worth trying to figure out why – I know it’s frustrating, and mark schemes aren’t meant as educational tools, but by trying to see where you went wrong, you can avoid making the same mistake next time.

3: WORK IN A SMALL GROUP

You can learn a great deal through a conversation within a small group of like-minded students after a lesson. The reason it still works is that two (or more) heads are better than one – the chances of everyone in your group having precisely the same strengths is very small indeed, so there will be places they can explain to you, just as there will be places you can explain to them. Frequently, there will be questions where one of you can see how to start and someone else will see how to finish – between you, you figure the whole thing out.

4: MAKE INSTRUCTIONS

You may not have conveniently located mathematical friends to set up a study group, but you can still get some of the benefits of explaining things. One of the most effective ways to learn a new skill is to write down the steps you have to take – either as a list or as a flowchart.

The key is to make everything as detailed as possible – imagine you’re explaining it to a complete beginner. You use a different part of your brain when you’re explaining things than when you’re reading or listening.

5: MAKE FLASH CARDS

You can make flash cards out of sheets of paper easily enough. Just fold the paper in half, in half again, and in half again, then cut along the creases – presto, eight cards. You can make more as and when you need them.

The way they work is, you write a question or a prompt on one side (for instance: “What is the formulae for volume of a cylinder?”  You make a big pile of cards with everything you want to learn on it, and leaf through them one at a time. If you get the answer right, put that card to one side; if you get it wrong, put it to the back of the pile.  Some students place Post-It notes all over the walls and ceiling of their bedroom as an aide-memoir!

6: MAKE A CHEAT SHEET

A cheat sheet is just a big bit of paper with everything you could possibly want to know about written on it. For instance, a GCSE maths cheat sheet might have instructions on how to solve triangles, all of the vocabulary words you need to remember, a few of the common mistakes that everyone makes…

7: ASK A TEACHER

There is nothing more enjoyable than for a student to ask a mathematics question to their teacher!  Please use this resource and make your mathematics teacher happy today!

8: LOOK ONLINE 

There are a huge number of resources online to help support revision.  Click HERE to discover a selection of revision resources.