3 ways to study for GCSE science exams

Are you unsure how to study for your GCSE science exams? It’s possible that you’re having trouble finding effective ways to prepare or even getting yourself motivated to study.

However, you’re not alone — many students find the sheer quantity of content covered in physics, chemistry and biology to be daunting. But don’t worry, there are certain techniques you can use to make studying for your GCSE exams easier. Here are three of the best ways to do so.


3 ways to study for GCSE science exams

1.    Make learning collaborative

Studying alone can be a solitary and uninspiring activity. However, by having peers around to share ideas, support and test one another, you can turn revision into a more fruitful and enjoyable experience.

Moreover, learning by teaching is a useful revision technique known as the protégé effect. A recognised psychological phenomenon, it’s possible that the protégé effect could help you better understand tricky scientific concepts. This is because, when we need to teach someone else anything, we have a greater internal motivation to learn the content in question. We commit more time to doing so, which allows us to better organise the content and ultimately improve our ability to remember it over the long term.


2.    Take a refresher course

If you’re feeling the heat, there are specialist courses and workshops available to assist you improve your academic understanding and familiarity with the structure of GCSE science exams. It’s best to find a seminar that is taught by experienced and qualified professors so you can best learn from their expertise and insider knowledge.

Some private tuition companies also offer helpful summer refresher courses to prepare students for going back to school and starting their year 11 studies. We get it — while counting chromosomes might not exactly be your ideal summer activity, taking a refresher course will allow you to fortify prior knowledge, identify gaps in your learning and ease you into the new academic year. PMT Education, for example, provides online revision courses in biology, following which, “students will go into their final year of GCSEs feeling confident, prepared and eager to learn.”


3.    Practise past papers

Practising past test questions is a great way to brush up on material, learn more about the subject and discover any gaps in your understanding. Plus, they help build your familiarity with the format of the exams. However, you must confirm which exam board will set your science GCSEs. In England, there are three — AQA, Edexcel, and OCR, which can be highly distinct in terms of exam content, structure and time limit. If you are unsure of which board your school uses for science, be sure to ask your teacher or head of subject. They should also point you in the right direction for appropriate past papers and the accompanying mark schemes.


It may be beneficial to begin by working through a past exam without a time limit in order to get a feel for the layout of the test, as well as the kinds of questions you’ll be asked. Then, when you feel like you’re ready, continue to practise by completing past papers under test conditions. These should be as similar to the real deal as you can create at home — in a relaxed space with minimal distractions and no assistance from others.


Although many people dread taking their science GCSEs, if you’re well-prepared, there’s nothing to fear — best of luck!


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