Caerleon Parent Forum Maximising potential through effective studying

Purpose of this session

To increase chances of success

To gain an understanding of how to revise EFFECTIVELY


Understanding the challenges and being honest with ourselves

Academic struggles, whether it's time management, staying motivated, or grasping complex concepts, are more common than we think. RecogniSing these challenges is the first step towards overcoming them."
Time Management

Example: "Let's talk about Lucy, who is studying for her GCSEs while also committing to a competitive swim team. With exams approaching, she feels like there's not enough time to cover all her subjects. Lucy decided to create a detailed revision schedule, allocating specific times for each subject based on her strengths and weaknesses. By using a visual timetable and setting achievable daily goals, she manages to balance her studies with her swimming, improving her time management and reducing last-minute stress."

Staying Motivated

"Consider Jack, who finds it hard to stay motivated studying for his GCSEs, especially subjects he feels he might never use. To combat this, Jack sets small, achievable goals for each study session and rewards himself for meeting them, whether it's with a short break, a treat, or some leisure time. He also joins a study group with friends, making the revision process more interactive and fun. These steps help Jack find a renewed sense of motivation, making his study sessions more productive and engaging."

Grasping Complex Concepts

Example: "Sophie struggles with Maths, finding topics like trigonometry and algebra particularly daunting as she prepares for her GCSEs. Feeling stuck, she decides to take action by seeking additional help. She starts asking for help, uses online resources specifically designed for GCSE Maths revision, uses AI to tutor her in these topics, and tests herself by practicing past exam questions. Gradually, with persistence and the right resources, Sophie begins to understand the concepts that once confused her, gaining confidence in her ability to tackle maths problems."


REVISE using an active technique

TEST yourself





Completing past GCSE papers under exam conditions helps students familiarise themselves with the format and timing of the exam, while also applying knowledge in an exam context.


Initial Assessment

Method: Before diving deep into revision, a student should attempt a past paper without any preparation to establish a baseline. This initial assessment helps identify strong and weak areas, guiding the focus of subsequent study sessions.

Scenario: Alex, studying for GCSE Maths, decides to tackle a past paper at the beginning of his revision period. He quickly realises that his algebra needs improvement, while his statistics skills are quite strong.

Focused Study Sessions

Method: After identifying weak areas, students should study those topics thoroughly using textbooks, class notes, or online resources. Then, they should attempt specific past paper questions related to those topics to test their understanding.

Scenario: After discovering her weakness in GCSE Chemistry topics like rates of reaction and moles, Jasmine dedicates study sessions to these areas. She then completes related questions from several past papers to consolidate her understanding.

Timed Conditions

Method: To simulate exam conditions, students should complete past papers within the set time limit without any interruptions. This practice develops time management skills and helps students gauge how much time to allocate to each question.

Scenario: Two weeks before his GCSE English Literature exam, Samuel starts practicing past papers under timed conditions. This helps him manage his time effectively, ensuring he can complete essays and answer comprehension questions within the exam duration.

Peer Review Sessions

Method: Students can swap completed past papers with classmates for peer review. This provides new perspectives on tackling questions and helps identify errors or areas for improvement that one might overlook.

Scenario: Jasmine and her friend both complete a GCSE Geography past paper and then swap to mark each other's work. They discuss different approaches to answering the questions, providing valuable feedback and insights.

Marking and Reflection

Method: After completing a past paper, students should thoroughly review their answers against the mark scheme. This helps in understanding the examiner's expectations and in identifying any misconceptions or errors in their responses.

Scenario: After finishing a GCSE Physics past paper, Sahil spends time comparing his answers with the mark scheme. He notes common mistakes and areas where he lost marks to refine his revision strategy and improve his answer technique.

Regular Practice

Method: Integrating past papers into regular revision schedules ensures continual assessment and improvement. Students should aim to complete and review past papers frequently, tracking their progress over time.

Scenario: Every weekend, Mia dedicates time to completing a past paper for one of her GCSE subjects. She tracks her scores, noting an improvement in her understanding and time management as she gets closer to the exams.


Flashcards are a versatile and effective tool for memorisation and reinforcing knowledge, ideal for students at any stage of their exam preparation. Here are scenarios where flashcards can be particularly beneficial:


Hannah is preparing for her GCSE Spanish exam and needs to memorize a vast array of new vocabulary. She creates flashcards for each new word and its English translation. Every day, she spends 15 minutes going through the flashcards, gradually adding new ones as her vocabulary expands.

Memorising Historical Dates and Events

Mo is studying for his GCSE History exam and finds it challenging to remember all the significant dates and events. He uses flashcards, with each card containing a date on one side and the corresponding event on the other. Through regular review, Mo finds it easier to recall the information during the exam.

Understanding Scientific Concepts and Formulas

For the GCSE Chemistry exam, Ava creates flashcards for various chemical formulas and concepts, such as the periodic table trends and reaction mechanisms. They review these flashcards with the study group, making it a game to see who can recall the concepts the fastest, enhancing her understanding and retention.

Practicing Mathematical Equations

Liam struggles with remembering the correct equations for his GCSE Maths exam. He writes down each equation on a flashcard, with the formula on one side and a practice problem on the other. Liam systematically works through these cards, ensuring he not only remembers the formulas but also understands how to apply them.

Reinforcing Key Quotes for Literature Analysis

Emily is preparing for her GCSE English Literature exam and needs to memorize key quotes from various texts. She creates flashcards, with each card featuring a quote on one side and the character, theme, or context it relates to on the other. This method helps Emily quickly recall relevant quotes during her exam.

Reviewing Before the Exam

In the final days leading up to his GCSE exams, Noah uses a compiled set of flashcards covering all subjects for quick, last-minute revision. This allows him to efficiently review key facts, figures, and concepts, ensuring they're fresh in his mind.

On-the-Go Revision

Sophie has a busy schedule but wants to make the most of her time by revising for her GCSE exams. She keeps a set of flashcards with her and reviews them during short breaks throughout the day, such as on the bus ride to school or while waiting for her friends. This strategy helps her make use of otherwise wasted time.



Context: Jessica, a GCSE Biology student, faces challenges in understanding the complex processes of mitosis and meiosis. She forms a study group with classmates who share similar difficulties, aiming to improve their collective understanding.

Action: In the study group, Jessica takes on the responsibility of explaining cell division. She uses diagrams and simple metaphors to illustrate the stages of mitosis and meiosis, aiming to make the information more accessible to her peers. The session involves active participation, with group members asking questions and discussing the topic in depth.

Outcome: As a result of teaching the topic, Jessica gains a deeper understanding of cell biology, identifying and addressing gaps in her knowledge. The study group benefits from the collaborative learning environment, with each member gaining a clearer understanding of the subject. This approach not only enhances Jessica's confidence in her knowledge but also fosters a supportive academic network among her peers.


Scenario: GCSE Physics Mind Map on Electricity and Circuits

Context: Amir, a GCSE Physics student, struggles with the topic of electricity and circuits, finding it hard to remember the different components, formulas, and laws. To consolidate his understanding and improve his revision efficiency, Amir decides to create a mind map focusing on this area.

Action: Amir places "Electricity and Circuits" at the center of a large piece of paper. From there, he draws branches to main categories such as "Components of a Circuit", "Electrical Quantities", "Ohm's Law", and "Series and Parallel Circuits". Under Components, he lists items like resistors, capacitors, and diodes, adding symbols for each. In the Electrical Quantities section, he notes down current, voltage, resistance, and power, alongside their units and symbols. For Ohm's Law, he sketches the formula V=IR, explaining it with a brief example. The branches for Series and Parallel Circuits compare the two, noting how current and voltage behave in each and the formulas for total resistance.

Outcome: Creating the mind map allows Amir to visualize the relationships between various concepts within the topic of electricity and circuits. This visualization helps him to better understand and recall the information during his exam. The process of organizing his notes into a mind map strengthens Amir's grasp of the subject, enabling him to approach his GCSE Physics exam with greater confidence. The mind map becomes a quick-reference guide that he can easily review before the exam, ensuring that key concepts and formulas are fresh in his mind.

Example Mind Maps


Self-Testing: Creating quizzes or using online platforms to test knowledge on different subjects can highlight areas of strength and weakness, focusing revision efforts more effectively.

Scenario: Self-Testing for GCSE Maths Revision

Context: Simran is preparing for her GCSE Maths exam and wants to ensure she covers all topics thoroughly. Aware that simply reviewing her notes is not enough to guarantee she understands the material, she decides to incorporate self-testing into her revision strategy.

Action: Simran begins by dividing the Maths syllabus into key topics such as algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and statistics. For each topic, she creates a set of quiz questions based on past paper exams, her textbook exercises, and questions she constructs herself to test different aspects of the topic, including problem-solving and application of concepts. She uses a mix of question types, including multiple-choice, short answer, and longer problem-solving questions.

To make her revision more interactive and simulate an exam environment, Simran sets a timer for each quiz, aiming to complete it under exam-like conditions. After finishing a quiz, she carefully reviews her answers, comparing them to solution guides or mark schemes. She pays special attention to the questions she got wrong or found challenging, making a note to revisit those topics in her study sessions.

Outcome: Through regular self-testing, Simran is able to identify areas where her understanding is strong and areas that require further study. For instance, she discovers that while her algebra skills are solid, she struggles with certain trigonometry problems. This insight allows her to focus her revision more effectively, dedicating more time to trigonometry and seeking additional resources to help clarify her misunderstandings.

As the exam approaches, Simran feels more confident in her Maths skills, having actively engaged with the material through self-testing. The quizzes not only helped her reinforce her knowledge but also improved her exam technique and time management. On the day of her GCSE Maths exam, Simran is able to approach the paper with confidence, knowing that she has prepared thoroughly and addressed her weaker areas.

Getting Help at Home



Knowunity APP (Free) - Some paid services

Quizlet APP


Microsoft CoPilot

WJEC RESources

Past Papers are downloadable for free from the WJEC website along with Mark Schemes

These are available for all parts of the syllabus for every subject

Example of a Knowledge Organiser for GCSE English Language
WJEC Exam Walkthrough

Principal examiners for all subjects and modules have produced exam walkthroughs in PowerPoints. An examiner will talk you through a Past Paper and discuss how to answer it and avoid common mistakes.

WJEC Blended Learning Modules

Most subjects have interactive lessons with practice questions for each part of the syllabus. These are available on the resources page for each subject.

Other Useful websites

BBC Bitesize - All Subjects by Exam Board


SPARX - Independent Learning

Science Tanio Revision

TiKTok & YouTube

Matt Green - Rapping Science Teacher - 10.2 million followers

Watch it - make some notes/mind map - find a past paper question - test your knowledge - test it again in a few days

Other recommended follows

@samellisacademy - General study advice from a past student
@mreverythingenglish - English Language and English Literature advice


Have a Plan & Stick to IT!

Prioritise ACTIVE Revision over PASSIVE Revision

Mix up your revision to maintain motivation

Look after yourself. Rest, eat well, sleep well, seek help if you need it. Lots available on our support hub