This process has worked well with my students. If it feels right to you, then use it. If not, then don’t – there’s no point in using a process that grates with you. It just won’t work. Try something else
Write stuff down
Go through your notes and make summary notes. It may sound daft to write down stuff you’ve already written down, but the mere process of reading, summarising and writing down again usually has to involve a bit of brainpower and something will stick in your brain.
With maths and physics, especially maths, nothing – nothing is better than practice. There are only so many questions the examiners can ask, and only so many variations of those questions. If you’re familiar with the questions, (a) it’s easier for you when you recognises them in your real exam and (b) it’ll be easier for you when the examiner dreams up another variation.
Most exam boards allow you to download past papers and their corresponding mark schemes. Do this.
Then attempt a past paper in as close to exam conditions as you can. Don’t look anything up. Time yourself.
You’re practising answering questions in a limited time as much as getting the answers correct.
- Once you’ve completed the paper, look at the mark scheme and mark your paper as if you were the marker. Be brutal.
- Now look at your answer paper. Some questions will have full marks. You can pat yourself on the back for these.
- Look closely at the answers which didn’t get full marks. Do you understand why you lost marks? If yes then that’s fine. You won’t do the same thing next time. If not, then you need to speak to your teacher or tutor to go through the question with him/her until you understand how to get it right.
- Continue to do this for the whole paper, and then go on to the next paper.
- This process builds on the knowledge you have, and the knowledge you get from your teacher or tutor. As you near the exam date, you will generate fewer incorrect answers, and your confidence will grow.
A technique my kids used when they were doing exams in RS, English, History etc was to put quotations on Post-It notes and then stick them up around the house.
It works for maths and physics, too.
If you see a post it with, for example, the quadratic equation formula on it every day when you brush your teeth, there’s a pretty good chance it will lodge somewhere in your memory. And that could be very useful.