Scoring a 9 in any GCSE Science subject is never an easy feat. With difficult subjects like Biology, Chemistry, and Physics, it's important for any student to prepare ahead in order to do well for their final exams. Whilst there are various methodologies and tools out there to help a student revise, we've compiled the top five practical tips that a student can adopt to do well in their GCSE exams:
Tip#1: Visualise with Mind Mapping
A study among medical students shows that mind maps improves long term memory of factual information by 10% (Farrand, Hussain and Hennessey, 2002). This hierarchical diagram visually organises information to show relationships among pieces of a whole. Think of it as a tree structure where you sketch out the main topic in the centre of a page and all relevant information and sub-topics are connected to it hierarchically by its branches. The mapping process allows you to see how certain topics fit together and complement each other for better clarity of the bigger picture. Not only that but a mind map also enables better structuring of information, helps with visualising your thinking, thus offers a mental picture so that you remember better during revision.
Tip#2: Gaining Comprehension Through Reading Aloud
While memorisation is important in learning, comprehension is the key to retaining information over the long term. One helpful way to build on understanding the information is to read it aloud. In fact, an experiment conducted by the University of Waterloo in Canada on children from as young as aged seven to ten had shown that they are able to recall 87% more of the words they read out loud versus recalling when having read it in silence (with those who read silently only able to retain 70% of the information). Another study from Flinders University in Australia conducted on teenagers ages 14 - 15 has also shown that reading aloud is impactful for students to remember far transfer questions in mathematics. Thus an active way to grasp any subject matter during revision, we would encourage you to utilize the method of reading the answers aloud to recall and understand the subject matter more comprehensively.
Tip#3: Practise Exam Questions
Practising exam questions is not just about giving the correct answer to a question. Pay attention to the marking schemes and command words as they’ll tell you what the examiner is looking for. Additionally, pay attention to the patterns of questions in all your science exam practices. You’ll notice some similar questions keep surfacing along with similar marking schemes. These are hints to pay attention to and how you should practise answering your questions. Another important aspect to take note of when practising exam questions is ‘time’. Knowing how long you are meant to spend on a question and its corresponding mark provides a good practice ratio to the actual GCSE Science exams. So, be sure to practise timed exams!
For easy reference before your exams, a summarised revision guide is a useful method to help refresh your thought process. The best way to utilise this method is to create a one-page guide including only useful terminologies and formulas that are necessary for the topic. This could also come in the form of a cue card to highlight diagrams, methodologies, and processes. Utilising equation flashcards with cues on the front and answers on the back are not only useful for personal science revision but can also be made into games with your classmates (or siblings) where you can test each other’s quick knowledge using the cards.
Tip#5: Practice with an AI-Driven Learning Platform
Revising with an online AI-driven learning platform provides you with an effective and efficient independent revision method outside of the school environment. By utilising a tool like sAInaptic, students can easily practise their science revision with 100% interactivity anytime and anywhere. With open-ended exam-style questions that cater to predictive quantitative scoring and qualitative instant teacher-like feedback for every answered question, each student will receive a personalised learning experience during their revisions. Despite getting your answers right for the practiced question, the AI breaks down your scoring to explain the awarded marks and further gives feedback on how to better improve each answer and ace your GCSE Science exam.
In a nutshell, the methods to score a 9 in any GCSE science subject requires a systematic approach and more importantly, feedback from teachers. While some students may have a certain preference for a particular science topic and pay more attention to it compared to others, it is nonetheless important to note that all topics/concepts play an important role. So go ahead and create a mind map on each topic and ensure that you have a strong grasp of the scientific concept behind each topic. Create condensed revision guides and make cue cards and flashcards. Practise timed GCSE targeted exam questions and update your revision cards if you fall behind on any topics in your exam practice. Not forgetting, utilise online revision platforms such as sAInaptic which will contribute significantly to personalising a revision session that’s interactive with instantaneous feedback. Applying all the above tips without exception will certainly if not surely bring you closer to your goal of scoring a 9 in GCSE Science.
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