Six Tips on How to Stay Focused during GCSE Revision

Instead of mastering your GCSE subjects, are you spending more time mastering the art of procrastination? Does revising for GCSEs feel like an overwhelming task?

As much as you would like to stay focused while doing revisions, no student is immune to distractions. Luckily, there are some habits you can master to ensure you maintain focus on the task at hand. Try out these six simple tips to cultivate a stronger mindset to stay focused during GCSE revision.

Tip#1: Schedule a Revision Timetable

Having a revision planner is crucial in establishing a routine. It helps maintain focus and consistency towards achieving your revision goal. To optimise your time, set a daily revision duration for each GCSE subject instead of cramping in order to avoid stressing yourself out the night before your big exam.
At the same time, prioritise your subjects and topics based on how much work you think you require to grasp the knowledge rather than selecting topics you like best or least. Another key factor in keeping focused is to allow ‘free time’ in your timetable. Plan for regular breaks (e.g., a 10mins breather after every 45 minutes) and downtime to allow for recharging.    

Tip#2: Create a Revision Outline

With so many things to revise on top of your daily chores, homework, and social distractions, it’s easy to start losing focus whilst attempting to concentrate on your revision.  That said, creating an outline can help you set very clear objectives at the start of each revision session and provide you with guidance on what you need to focus on during your study session.
Before starting your revision session, outline exactly what you are going to revise down to each subtopic, the activities/exercises you wish to work on, and how much time you are going to spend on each section/activity. Make sure that by the time you are seated to begin your revision, you have everything you need to complete your planned activities within reaching distance. As much as possible, ensure that you would not need to get up to get something you need for the duration that you’ve set aside for the revision, so as not to give yourself the opportunities to get distracted.

Tip#3: Create a Pre-Study Ritual

Prescribing a sequence of activities that you ritually perform before each revision session will help sharpen your mind into the rhythm of studying. It can be as simple as clearing and setting up your desk, making a drink and pouring it into a flask, writing down your revision objective for the session, and doing a 10-min yoga session or meditation before each revision session. Practising pre-study rituals train your brain to recognise and create an association with your revision habit, thus enabling you to transition into a focused state effortlessly.

Tip#4: Form/Join a Study Group

For some, studying on your own can feel very isolating or even demotivating especially when you’re feeling blocked. Getting peer support from other driven students on the same GCSE journey can help you maintain your focus and push through trying times. Study groups are a great way to encourage each other’s concentration if, at any point, it begins to lose track.
Limit the group to 4-6 members to minimise socialisation and maximise personal contribution. Don’t limit the group to your friends unless they are your most effective study partners. Choose members who share a common goal, are of similar abilities, and with diverse subject knowledge and strength. Fit your group study sessions into a regular weekly routine (same time, same place) so that it becomes a permanent and regular study schedule to maintain a long-term focus.

Tip#5: Distraction-Proof your Phone

While it’s a good tactic to pick a revision spot that’s away from television, blasting music, or bustling crowds, the devil lies in the device that you carry with you all the time, your phone. Social media apps, games, and advertisements are designed to be visually attractive to distract you. If you need to keep your phone on you, silence it, turn off all notifications, and greyscale its display.

Removing colours on your phone display will also remove the addictive effects it has on you. Make your display screen black/white by applying the settings below. Do not reverse this setting until you have completed your GCSE revision session.

Tip#6: Apply App Restrictions

Deleting any unnecessary or time-wasting apps from your phone would be ideal to remove distractions. However, if that is asking too much of you, the next best option would be to set a daily time limit for those apps by applying the settings below:

While there are many proven tips on how to maintain focus during GCSE revisions, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. For instance, some students are more focused in a group environment while some prefer to be alone. Try out a combination of these tips and adopt the ones that most effectively help you tackle any distractions and keep your focus intact and on track for revision success.

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