Tips & Tricks blog
YEAR 12s HAVE AN UNFAIR ADVANTAGE. A SIMPLE IDEA THAT ALMOST GUARANTEES YOU A*-As – CASE STUDY
Many students leave year 11 a little confused. They worked hard, did everything their teachers told them to, but still didn’t get the grades they wanted at GCSE. Melissa was in this boat. After moving to a new 6th form and starting year 12, Melissa decided that she did not want history to repeat itself.
So, to get ahead of the game, she did a little research online to find out how to revise and stumbled upon an article written by yours truly called ‘The Yojana Method’. What the hell is ”The Yojana Method”?
It is a highly effective study strategy that almost guarantees A*-As. In a nut shell, the Yojana Method involves self-studying the syllabus before your teachers teach it in class. Melissa pounced on this idea like a sumo wrestler on a burger.
She contacted us and signed up for our 10-day challenge.
- 4 months later she had learnt her entire year 1 syllabus front to back, scored high 80s in past papers and her teachers were shocked beyond belief.
- 8 months later, she had predicted grades of A*AA in the bag and a university offer in hand.
- 16 months later, Melissa walked out of 6th form with A*A*A* and was off to study History at UCL.
How did she do it?
Melissa chose Biology, Psychology and History for her A-levels. These were wordy subjects that required more or less the same revision approach. The first step with these subjects was to learn each textbook using the Scribble Technique.
According to the Yojana revision calculator, she had 3 textbooks to get through and a total of 683 pages to cover. Setting her a deadline for 28th February, we calculated that she needed to learn a minimum of 5 pages per day.
Simple in theory, but you and I know that getting this done from a standing start is a whole other ball game. This is where the 10-day challenge came in.
Melissa was tasked with learning 10 pages of her Biology textbook per day using the Scribble Technique. At the end of each day, she explained all the information on those pages back to us from memory.
She nailed the first 3 days, almost fell off the wagon on the 4th because she struggled to motivate herself, but then sailed through to the 10th day. By holding her accountable to every fact and method in the textbook, she thoroughly learnt one third of her year 1 syllabus in just 10 days.
How much did she remember/understand? We fired comprehension questions at her on the last day and she scored 92%!
Biology complete (despite falling off the wagon)
After the 10 day challenge, instead of calling her every day, we scheduled 3 sessions a week and she was tasked with learning 12 pages or more a day.
Despite falling off the wagon once or twice, she learnt her entire year 1 syllabus (321 pages) by 28th February.
The very next day she attempted a Biology past paper (not timed) and scored 81%!
Psychology & History complete
Melissa experienced a motivation boost after seeing her Biology past paper mark and receiving various positive comments from teachers.
Over the remaining 2 months, she systematically learnt 410 pages from her Psychology and History books using the Scribble Technique. We held her accountable and tested her 3 times a week.
Building the Essay bank
Psychology and History are essay based subjects. If you take subjects like these, you’ll quickly figure out that it’s difficult to pull out facts and generate opinions on the fly during an exam. The best strategy to prepare for essay based exams is to create a large essay bank of questions that are likely to be asked and to memorise these.
Exam questions are fairly predictable and 2/3 of the ones you’ve prepared for will probably come up. For the rest, you may need to glue together information from different essays together to create a new one.
Melissa had created over 30 essays and memorised them by the end of March. Each week, we tested her on each essay and was required to pull the information out from essay. By April, she knew all of them like the back of her hand.
In the run up to her year-end exams, Melissa completed any remaining non-past paper and past paper questions. We marked them first then she marked them.
Melissa scored A*AA in her mocks and was given a predicted grade of A*A*A*.
Year 13 - Wrapping it Up
We carried on working with Melissa through the summer and autumn. By 8th of April the following year, she had…
- Learned her entire A-level syllabus for 3 subjects twice over
- Completed all non-past paper and past paper questions
- Created and memorised over 60 essays
During the few remaining weeks before her first exam and the gaps between each exam, she skimmed over past paper questions and recapped tricky topics.
On August 14th, she walked out of 6th form with A*A*A*.
Revise Like a Lion
If you find a strategy or an individual that inspires you, like Melissa, pounce and sprint through the syllabus. Inspiration is perishable. When you have it, use it before it’s gone!
Why was Melissa successful? She understood one simple idea…
You don’t need to wait for your school to teach you anything. By taking matters into your own hands, you can control the pace of your own learning and move faster.
WANT TO NAIL YOUR EXAMS?
Yojana, our personalised study strategy, shows you when, what and how to achieve top grades in each of your subjects. Give it a go below!
For the 10 day challenge, do you only learn one subject or all three?
For this ‘idea’ to succeed, students need a crazy amount of motivation.
There are many other ways to achieve A*s.
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS TO WORK OUT HOW YOU LEARN AND REVISE BEST
This is not the same for everyone!
Thanks for your comment. ‘Everyone learns in different ways’ is a commonly touted piece of information. However, when you take a closer look at the academic evidence, the scientific community largely agree that active recall is the most effective way to remember what you read. When you combine this with starting early and using spaced repetition, you get a highly effective and efficient learning cocktail that is far superior than other revision strategies.
As for motivation, you are right in saying that a fair bit of motivation is needed to learn at a faster pace than your school. However, most of our students only needed this high level of motivation during the first 10-20 days of using the Yojana method. After day 21, completing 8-12 pages from their textbooks each day became fairly routine. It became a habit.
Melissa used to split the pages up over the course of each day. She did 2-3 pages before heading to college, another 3-4 pages during free periods and the rest when she got back home. 4 months later, she had completed her entire year 1 syllabus.
If you have someone to hold you accountable and keep you motivated over the first 10-20 days, you are likely to form a permanent habit that may last all the up way to your exams. Learning a few pages a day will become your ‘new normal’.
Also, the revision strategy outlined in this post is not just an ‘idea’. Actual students are using this approach right now with great effect.