The Ultimate GCSE & A-Level Revision Guide
Flavia Belham
Chief Scientist @ Seneca Learning
December 03, 2018

The Ultimate GCSE & A-Level Revision Guide

You've got a choice when it comes down to revising. You can either dive into your textbook and start passively reading away while you check your phone every five minutes. Or you can choose engaging tools that will let you study more effective and memorise the subjects longer. In this post, we've researched the best resources to let you find the revision techniques that will work for you.

Best Websites for Revision:

We've pulled together a list of the greatest websites for your revision. Definitely check out the links below to see how you could learn more efficiently and pick what works for you:

  • BBC Bitesize has a variety of interactive notes and tests
  • Seneca, that's us! Did you already [select one of the 250+ free courses] to learn 2x faster?
  • Tutor2u has partnered with teachers & schools to share their best materials
  • GoConqr lets you make flashcard, mind-maps, and slide decks
  • Quizlet is a different website that allows you to make flashcards
  • GetRevising provides a variety of tools to help you study

Tip: Definitely check out this collection from Target Careers for an extended overview of the best GCSE & A-Level revision websites, apps, revision guides and videos to help you with your revision. And have a look at these great notes and worked examples from in association with

P.S. Watch the Q&A show with Ibz Mo & Eve Bennett about exam stress, study motivation & dealing with procrastinating to see how other students deal with revision.

Revision Q&A Show Eve Bennett & Ibz Mo

Create A Revision Timetable

To help you meet all homework and coursework deadlines it is great to have a detailed study planner. You can use the planner to schedule when you'll be revising for your exams. More importantly, it helps to break down your revision into manageable parts so that you can build it around your daily life. You can use online tools to create a planner, such as the Revision TimeTable Maker from The Student Room. We put together our own guide on how to create your schedule and found this helpful video that shows you how to make a great revision timetable:


P.S. More about when you should start revising for GCSEs or A-Levels here.

Neuroscience: The Best Way To Revise?

Have you ever thought about using Cognitive Sciences to learn in the most effective way possible? Probably not. But luckily several neuroscientists have. They are always discovering more about how we learn. And we have pulled their learnings together in our accelerated revision and homework system.

Retrieval Practice, Spacing, Interleaving, and Imagery might not ring a bell for you, but combining these terms makes it possible for your brain to memorize subjects faster and longer. By working with leading researchers in the neuroscience field, our evidence-informed platform allows you to learn 2x faster than your friends. Want to try our 150+ KS3, GCSE & A-Level courses out?

Biology Economics Maths
Business English Literature Physical Education
Chemistry Food Technology Physics
Coding French Religious Studies
Combined Science Geography Science Practicals
Computer Science German Sociology
Design Technology History Spanish

GCSE Revision Top Tips - How Do I Revise?

1. What topics do you need to cover? Before you start, make sure that you know the topics that you need to learn. You can use your exam board specifications as the foundation for your revision. When using Seneca then select the right Exam Board when adding your courses.

2. Keep your brain active Your brain memorizes faster when you study in interactive ways. That's exactly why we build Seneca; to make you revise and learn 2x faster. Besides using our free online courses there are other ways to trigger the brain. Make use of flashcards, mind maps and post-it notes. Whatever you do, don't just stick to writing notes and re-reading them.

3. Create a realistic revision timetable No student revises the same and therefore each timetable is scheduled differently. Don't push yourself over the limits. There's only so much you can do on a day. So start revising early. On Seneca, we indicate how fresh your memory is on a particular topic so you can get a feel for how much time you should spend on it, and when you should revise that topic again. Ever wondered how many hours per day you should revise? Read the answer here.

4. Balance revision and leisure You'll be much more effective and motivated in the long run if you take regular breaks. Split your revision into small chunks and try not to exhaust your brain. Ideally, take a break after each 30-45 minute session and do no more than 8 sessions (4 hours) of study per day. Otherwise, you might overload your brain with the risk of not remembering and recalling the information. Read more about when you should take a break here.

5. Use practice exams The best tip out of all is to use past papers. It will not only give you an indication of your current level, but will also make you familiar with the type of questions, the exam style, and the time constraint. When practicing always keep track of the time and see whether you finish on time. Your teacher might have some old papers, or take a look at the online resources available. We cover below where you can find past exams.

For More Revision Tips Check Out Our Top 10 Revision Tips From Past Students

Exams: how to revise - The Mind:set - BBC Bitesize

Past Papers and Solutions for Your GCSEs - Why You Need Them?

Going over past papers is a great way to revise for your exams as shown by the below BBC Bitesize video. It will provide a good indication of your current level and is simply excellent practice. So where can you find these past papers and solutions?

BBC Bitesize on Past Revision Papers

Exam Specifications & GCSE Results Explained

What is the difference between the new (9 to 1) GCSE grades and the old (A to G) GCSE grades? Well, we found this great video from Primrose Kitten to explain it to you. The new GCSEs in England have a 9 to 1 grading scale instead of the previous A to G "to better differentiate between the highest performing students and distinguish clearly between the old and new qualifications" - at least, that's what the Department for Education states. For the official specification you should have a look at the exam board specific websites listed below:

Science and Maths by Primrose Kitten

GCSE Revision Forums

We haven't come across a lot of great revision forums, so we couldn't really make the ultimate forum list. Maybe we should start one of our own. Until then, definitely pop your burning questions at The Student Room, which we see as the most engaged online community to help you with any revision questions.

Revision Books and Guides

GCSE revision books can be quite expensive, and thus we recommend checking multiple websites for the best prices. Also make sure that the delivery date is reasonable, especially when buying your books in the weeks before the exams. Some of the websites where you can find books are in alphabetical order below. For the rest, let's listen to Evie Flynn in the next video.

Tip: We just came across Chegg, a platform that is helping broke students one study book at a time. They might have some good deals for your revision books.

Evie Flynn - GCSE Texbooks & Revision Guides for GCSE

So, there you have it, our best adivce on how to prepare for your exam days. It might not be the easiest period of school, nor the most exciting one, but now you know all the best tools and tips to help you prepare and get you through it.

GCSE and A Level revision with a tutor

Another effective way to revise is to find a tutor. Tutors can help you in a number of different ways. From helping you to go over difficult themes that maybe you still don't understand to just creating fun interactive ways for you to revise subject material. It can be more motivating revising with a tutor than on your own. With some specific courses, for example English, it can also be great for tutors to read over your written work to give you more personalised ways to improve as this is something that is very difficult to do on your own. One to one GCSE tutors & A Level tutors can be found on tutoring platforms like GoStudent in the UK. You have to find what is right for your learning preferences and for your budget.

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