Kate Thompson, PE and Sport Subject Advisor
Although it’s years since my exams, very little has changed in terms of how examinations are planned and prepared for or the conditions in which they are sat. I remember going into our school’s theatre where the whole year group were gathered to learn about ‘revision’! The word I eventually began to dread.
I loved school. My favourite subject was obviously PE but I never really disliked any lesson. Of course, there were some teachers who weren’t my favourites but generally I feel very lucky to have had a positive experience and enjoyed my school days so much. Even though I wasn’t the most academically gifted pupil I always tried.
However, for me exams were different from learning in the classroom and completing projects. Exams meant I had to sit still for long enough to revise the topics. Exams meant I needed to learn off by heart the subject I’d spent the last two years focusing on. Exams meant I had to sit in an exam hall with my peers for over an hour trying to remember the things I’d learnt. Exams meant I needed to believe in myself and my ability to remember.
Mind maps were the new ‘in’ revision technique when I started my GCSEs. This involved writing a topic in the middle of the page, preferably A3, then drawing lines out leading to sub-topics and so on. I was totally on board with this technique - I drew mind maps like they were going out of fashion! My parents, always supportive, were having some decorating done at the time of my GCSEs so I was allowed to cover any wall that was being decorated with my mind maps. They were everywhere – the hall, up the stairs, even on the shower screen!
My exams came and went without any real drama. Outwardly I didn’t show nerves, but inside I was just hoping I’d done enough.
My A Levels felt different: much more academic and not really my style of learning. But I stuck with it as it was the only way into university to study what I wanted.
When it came to exams I opted for a different style of revision. I used a Dictaphone to record my dulcet tones reading the work. Then I set about re writing the notes I’d taken during the lessons. The best part about this was that the weather was lovely, and I could sit outside in the beautiful sunshine.
My results came in and although they weren’t great, I still managed to get into university to study for my chosen degree.
Looking back at my exams, some important things I learnt weren’t to do with my chosen subjects, but about myself:
There are a lot of resources, ideas and guides out there that may help with revision and preparation for exams. Here are just a few.
Please be aware that some of this information is American but the function of creating revision notes is the part I was interested in.
Share your thoughts in the comments below. If you have any questions, you can email us at email@example.com, call us on 01223 553998 or tweet us @ocrexams. You can also sign up to subject updates to keep up-to-date with the latest news, updates and resources.
Kate joined OCR as a PE and sport subject advisor in November 2021 having taught in a variety of primary and secondary schools for over 17 years gaining experience and subject knowledge. During this time, she set up and delivered a range of courses within PE. She has also worked in sports development for a not-for-profit organisation in South Africa increasing the sports access in township schools. In her spare time Kate enjoys being active, travel and photography.