Studying for your GCSEs may seem like a daunting task but with preparation and revision it doesn’t have to be. At this level, physics covers many different topics, so you need to be prepared for what’s ahead.
Looking at the curriculum of your course is the perfect way to see what’s to come. You can anticipate the workload and use it as a reminder of what you’ve already covered over the course of the two years.
We take a look at what you can expect to learn on your GCSE physics source and give you some tips on the best ways to revise.
Depending on your school the specific curriculum at GCSE you follow can vary, but the core topics remain much the same. At this stage in your studies you will already have a good grasp of the basics. GCSE goes into more depth building on your existing knowledge.
Physics is, among many other topics, the study of energy, mechanics, atoms, space and of the physical environment.
You will learn more about atoms, their structures and radiation. You’ll get to grips with gravity, elasticity and motion. This is where you’ll discover the famous Newton’s law of forces and acceleration.
GCSE physics will even take you into space! Over the course you’ll learn about the life cycle of a star, the solar system and about our expanding universe.
Physics surrounds us in our daily life and on this course you get to discover how it affects mostly everything we do, see and feel!
As well as the theory, you'll be get to use your practical skills, running experiments in the lab. You’ll be able to conduct an experiment from planning it to writing an analysis of the results.
Don't be overwhelmed by the amount of information you'll need to learn. Taking it bit by bit will make it a lot easier to remember and preparing your revision techniques in advance will put your mind at ease.
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At GCSE level, the topics you learn are pretty advanced. It is near impossible to retain all this information just by remembering. You need to build up your knowledge gradually until these topics become something you know not just something you can recall.
To do this you need to constantly revise new information as you go. Make sure you really understand a topic before you move on to the next one. To build up your knowledge and like a real building, you need to ensure the foundation is strong! If you don't understand a concept don't ignore it, work on it and ask your teacher for more help.
Doing little and often is a much more effective way of learning, you will struggle to do it all just before the exam.
Here are some of our tips to get you prepared:
Draw up a revision timetable to help add structure to your learning. Having a visual aid with the work you need to do can help you prioritise your time. And not to mention it won’t let you forget all the work that’s to come!
Draw out your calendar yourself or print one off, decorate it however you want to just make sure it's neat!
At GCSE you have a lot of other subjects to revise for too, so use different colours for your subjects or different colours per physics topic.
Hang your revision timetable somewhere visible in your room and once you've done a revision session or covered a specific topic tick it off the timetable. This should be something you do regularly over the course of your GCSEs not just the few months before your exams!
Having a visual reminder of all the work you've put in will give you a confidence boost before the exam.
Practice Practice Practice
Past exam papers from previous years are key to preparing yourself for the exams. They are the closest you’ll get to the real thing.
Past papers will help you get familiar with the:
- Exam format - is the paper divided into different sections?
- Question style - are the questions multiple choice?
- Time pressure - how much time should you spend on each section?
Past papers are also a great way to check in on how you’re revision is going. Use the papers to see what topics you’re struggling with or maybe you’re yet to cover them in class.
Sit at least some of the past papers in exam-like conditions. You’ll get to see what it’s like to recall information and test your knowledge without any revision notes on hand.
Use the papers to practice demonstrating your knowledge. What you think you know in your head and what you can actually put down onto paper aren't always the same. You might that you need to brush up on your physics vocabulary in order to succinctly answer a question.
All of this practice will put you at a great advantage in the exam and you’ll have already worked out all the problems in the past papers!
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If you find revision difficult or if you’re struggling to grasp certain topics you might find it useful to join a study group.
Working in a group can be a great motivator as you can encourage each other and discuss your ideas together. People don’t always see things in the same way, so if you’re don’t understand something a classmate might have a different way of explaining it.
You can also swap revision techniques and resources with your study group. Test each other’s knowledge by setting quizzes or work on solving a problem together.
You will find that everyone bounces off each other and revision will become much less boring. All in all, it’s just great to feel a sense of solidarity that you’re not in it alone!
What’s Your Style
There is no one size fits all when it comes to learning. Everyone learns in a different way.
Once you understand your learning style and revision techniques whether you’re a visual, auditory, reading or writing learner, then remembering and recalling new information will become much easier.
Try mixing up methods to see what suits you best. If you struggle with reading textbooks then maybe this isn't the learning method for you.
Try something different like watching YouTube lessons or use sites like BBC bitesize to learn in a more fun, dynamic way.
You could try listening to podcasts, watching videos or documentaries, studying in a new place or even something as simple as using different colours for your study notes to make them stand out.
Whatever method you use make sure you d what’s best for you.
The day of your exam can be stressful but don’t worry too much, there are many ways you can minimise your anxiety before you enter the exam hall.
Simple things like eating a good breakfast and getting to the exam hall on time can make a big difference.
Focus on yourself and remember all the hard work you’ve put in over the course of two years. Doing the work is the best and really the only way to feel confident about the exam.
Whatever methods you choose to revise just make sure you give yourself time to prepare. Not only will you save yourself stress you'll give yourself the best possible chance to achieve the grades you deserve.
Good luck and happy revising!