• Ian Gibbs

Exam Tip #6: Your Perfect Revision Checklist

If you’re going to plan out your revision effectively, you need to start with a complete list of everything you’ve done – and everything you haven’t done yet.

This will allow you to make sure you’ve got all areas covered and haven’t forgotten anything important.

But going through all your notes and textbooks could be time- consuming. And what if you missed a class? Wouldn’t it be nice if someone else could do it for you?

Consider it done.

Your exam board produces a document explaining everything that will or, to be more precise, everything that might be on your exam.

In the past, this document was called a syllabus. But times have moved on. Nowadays, this document is called an Exam (or Course) Specification.

The Specification is a detailed explanation of what the course you’re taking is trying to achieve and what you can expect your exam to be measuring.

Get hold of a copy, print it off and go through it, ticking off everything you’ve done so far.

Continue ticking things off as your course progresses. By the end of the course, you should have everything covered.

If there are gaps, now is the time to do something about it.

If the textbook you’re using is up to date and expressly written for your exam board, there should be a perfect match. But Specifications change over time in a way that textbooks written five years ago don’t.

This is also true for past papers.

Just because a particular type of question has been on the exam for the last three years, that’s no guarantee it’ll be on it this year, especially if it’s been taken off the Specification.

How many Specifications have you got hold of and read so far?

A few?



If you’re going to prepare the best you can for your exams, you need to have a clear idea what’s likely to be on them and what’s not.

Just because it was mentioned by your teacher in class is no guarantee it’s on the Specification.

So don’t spend time trying to learn it.

Up-to-date Specifications are important.

Pay attention to them.

The National Curriculum changes. And the specifications change with it.

Tip 6: Don’t just study your textbook and notes. Study the Specifications to make sure you’ve got everything covered and aren’t wasting time studying something you don’t have to.