1. Start early. It gives you more time to fill in the gaps.
2. A revision checklist is essential. Some teachers give these out. If yours don't, find out the code of the exam you're taking. Ask your class teacher for this. Then click here to get links to all major exam boards' websites (click on the logo for the board you want). From these sites, download the specification, past papers and mark schemes for each subject. The specification should include a full list of topics that will appear in the exam.
3. Fill in the gaps. Work out what areas you do understand on the checklists, and what you don't. Get someone to explain the tricky parts to you - whether that's a teacher, friend, class brainbox or a parent. You might find it easier to write your questions down than ask face to face. Or google your question. This can be surprisingly effective (sometimes).
4. How to make a revision schedule: first, how much time do you have? Then, how many subjects do you have - and how many topics per subject? From this, figure out how much time you have to spend on each topic. Remember, you'll need to go over each area once to learn it, then a second, third and fourth time to test yourself to make sure it's stayed in your brain. Once is not enough.
5. Prioritise. Work out which are your weak subjects or topics, and which are the strong ones. Important: you must revise all topics, weak and strong, but focus more on weak ones.
6. Get revision guides and workbooks. CGP books are excellent. Search 'CGP' on any online bookstore. Also ask your teacher what book they'd recommend. Click here for guides for English.
7. Do lots and lots of exam practice from past papers.
8. Mark it using the matching mark schemes. This will help you get familiar with what examiners are looking for. It will also show you which weak areas you need to attack (revise) more vigorously. Repeat. Eventually, you should be confident on most of the topics on your revision list.
The author, Melanie Kendry, is an Oxford graduate, outstanding-rated English Language and Literature teacher and of ages 10-18 in the British education system. In 2012, she was nominated for Pearson's Teaching Awards. As a private tutor, she raises grades often from C to A. Her writing is also featured in The Huffington Post. She offers private tuition in the Haywards Heath area, West Sussex.