How to Save Your Grades When You’re Days/Weeks Away From Your Exams


While the results of the June/July CAIE examinations have come in, many students have opted to take their IGCSE and A Level examinations in October/November. For them, exam season has only just begun, and both students and teachers are thinking about how to prepare for the tests. Even the most relaxed students are likely to start studying hard, and teachers are looking to find ways to help their students revise. 

Cambridge Home School Online has helped thousands of students in Key Stage 2, Key Stage 3, IGCSEs, and A Levels get exceptional grades through various unique and intuitive revision strategies. Here are a few strategies to help students improve their performance during the last few days before their examinations.

Focus On What You Know

Any teacher will advise you that the last few weeks before your examinations are best spent revising and doubling down on concepts you have learned in class rather than learning everything you can.

You can use various resources to ensure your preparation for your examinations is top-notch. One effective strategy to help students improve their performance is setting up a card game with the entire class or small groups. Take two piles of cards, one containing various facts and figures and the other, possible questions. This activity encourages students to think critically and creatively. It also helps them develop a deeper understanding of their learning concepts. This strategy works best for open-response questions as students can make decisions more freely.

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Interrogate The Questions

Getting into the habit of interrogating a question helps students become more confident about their answering skills. It also allows them to consider what they need to cover to improve their performance. It allows them to dive deep into the question and apply the various metrics that examination graders are looking for when awarding marks.

The “pen of power” approach is one of the most effective strategies to help students improve their performance. For any set of questions, identify the keywords and provide brief explanations on how it answers the given questions. You can also try to come up with a list of suggested approaches for the questions.

This activity can help students develop a deeper understanding of the concepts they’re learning and is a popular revision technique for some of the brightest minds in all classes.

Know Your Facts

Focusing on key factual information is one of the most important factors students can consider when improving their factual knowledge.

To improve your factual knowledge, do factual-recall tests. Cambridge Home School Online lays great emphasis on making revisions exciting for students. We help students learn core factual concepts through group activities in class and audio-visual resources that students can use whenever they feel like revising to have an edge during their examinations.

Another popular game to help students revise is the “I have…who has…?” quiz. Each student has a card that includes an answer to another student’s question during this activity. The first student questions the other player while the latter reads their answer.

All students eventually answer and ask a question by the end of the game. This strategy works well with both vocabulary and factual information. Older students can also participate in this activity by designing their cards.

Use Past And Specimen Papers

Parents can help students feel more confident about taking the test by ensuring they know what to expect when they flip the question sheet open. It can be nerve-racking for them, but having an idea of what to expect can help them feel more comfortable.

Make sure that students are familiar with the format of the exam papers and that they have enough practice. While knowing all the facts in the class is important, being unsure how to format answers or how the questions will be phrased can take away from their much-deserved A grade. If they plan on making practice questions, make them look closely at the real thing. Ask them to think about how long they should spend on each question.

Ask them to consider the various tactics they can use to choose the right question. For instance, many students choose a question based on the first five marks, not realising that the 15-mark question that follows it isn’t what they prepared for the most. 

Be Reflective About What Works Already

Students must think about their revision strategies and how they can improve their performance. For instance, if their strategy worked well in Cambridge IGCSE, it might not work for them in Cambridge International A Level. However, parents should not try to convince them that one revision method is better than another. Instead, encouragement is important to make them think about what they could improve on.

Start Planning For Next Year

Now is the best time to start preparing students who are not sitting their exams until next year. This head start can help students develop their foundations and improve their performance. This will also ensure that they have the necessary notes and are experimenting with new strategies.

For revision, try setting up practice questions or conducting factual recall tests. This can help them improve their performance and develop their metacognitive skills. Reviewing assessment techniques can also help you identify areas of improvement.

Study Resources

Study resources are an exceptional tool to help students learn and retain information creatively. The official Cambridge International website provides various resources students should look at while revising, such as their Learner Guides. They can provide valuable advice and suggestions to help them plan their study program. Similarly, the Revision and Learner Study Guides have helped many students hone what they learned in class and apply it consistently during examinations.

Quality British Online Education with Cambridge Home School Online

Students understand that, with greater competition during university applications, they need to secure top grades to enrol in the university of their dreams. Cambridge Home School Online is one such school that has harnessed the power of online education to help students make the most of their formative years and lay the foundation for being accepted into the world’s top universities. The school accepts students from a wide range of locations, helping students receive quality British education online from the comfort of their homes.

With rave reviews on TrustSpot, we’re proud to have helped thousands of students in Key Stage 2, Key Stage 3, IGCSEs, and A Levels get exceptional grades. We focus on helping students excel in their studies through multiple audio-visual resources and a faculty of MA/PhD/MSc certified teachers. We additionally focus greatly on helping students have a healthy school-life balance.


With a schooling system increasing its student-teacher ratio with each passing school year, contact Cambridge Home School Online today to learn more about the features we provide to help your child excel.

About The Author

The author holds over 20 years of experience in teaching at various universities in the United Kingdom and Ireland. He has been associated with Cambridge Home School Online for over five years, providing counselling services for students looking for career and academic guidance.

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