Wednesday, 3 May 2017


With exams around the corner, you’ve probably already started revising, but by now your revision should start picking up. If you struggle with motivation, something that could really help you is creating a revision timetable. Set our certain hours of the day to revise different subjects; remembering to refer to your exam timetable so that you prioritise the exams you will sit first. In preparation for your English exams, we’ve created a list of tasks and exercises you could complete to thoroughly prepare you.

1.       Have a go at past papers- head to the Edexcel website  (, and you’ll find past papers that you can browse and attempt on your own. Some of these are specifically locked for teachers, but many can be accessed by anyone.  Attempt whole papers, or just the questions you struggle with. You’ll then be able to look at the mark scheme and so how well you did.

2.       If you’ve exhausted the past papers, try creating your own writing questions. Remember that you could be tested on writing to: inform, explain or describe in Paper One, and explore, imagine, entertain, argue, persuade or advise in Paper 2. Ask your friends or family for a topic you could argue an opinion about, or a situation you could advise on.

3.       Make a list of different literary techniques you could use- not only will it improve your exam if you are able to identify techniques such as metaphors and personification, but you’ll also need to apply them in your written exam. Write a list of effective examples of different literary techniques. Remember that examiners are looking for students who stand out from the crowd for those top grades, so try to think of examples a little bit outside the box.

4.       Look on YouTube- you’d be surprised how many students and teachers add revision material to YouTube. Whether you’re looking to revise an individual poem or looking for tips on how to write a strong argument, this is a great place to start.

5.       Re-read the texts- if you start to become tired practising exam questions and making notes, and would like something a bit more relaxing to do, try simply re-reading chapters of your key texts. Have a pen and notebook handy so that you can jot down any quotations or ideas that spring to mind. Reading things like newspapers and magazines can also help prepare you for the creative writing part of your exam.

6.       Head to BBC Bitesize- from specific revision tips to general advice about writing styles and genres, BBC Bitesize has lots of interactive resources including videos, quizzes and self-mark questions.

7.       Redecorate your room- So I’m not suggesting that you should repaint the walls with quotations from Shakespeare, but you’ll find it easier to take information in if you see it everyday. Write key quotations, effective vocabulary or even definitions of key terms around your bedroom, or even around the house. Simply walking past these sheets of paper everyday will help you absorb the information.

8.       Ask people to test you- create thematic flashcards, and then ask a sibling, parent or friend to test you to see what you’ve learned. You’ll also find lots of quizzes on the internet if you’d rather just test yourself.

Remember, it’s important to balance out revision and your free time. Spending hours and hours shut in your room revising non-stop isn’t healthy. Timetable yourself free time so that you can have dinner with your parents, see you friends or simply watch television. Do your best and I’m sure all your hard work will pay off!

This blog post was written by Lucy Taylor (IGCSE English tutor at Blackhen Education). For more information about our IGCSE English course, please contact us at: or via our website: