Hello PE people, I hope your revision is going swimmingly!
After working through the bulk of the revision of the Unit 3 and 4 content over the last couple of weeks, today I wanted to talk about how you can continue your revision in smaller sections up until the day of the exam. While from now on your main focus will be practice exams, I think it’s important to continue revisiting key terms and key ideas as you are tackling some practice questions.
Throughout the lead up to the exam, I found it really beneficial to keep in mind the key terms and key definitions for PE. Being able to define or explain ideas such as Newton’s laws, impulse, momentum, pulmonary diffusion, a-v02 difference, LIP, active recovery, oxygen deficit, steady state and so on, is a real confidence booster for the exam. If you walk into the PE exam and a question asks you to define Newton’s first law, this should not be something that stresses you out or trips you up on the day. That kind of question is one you can prepare for right now.
Rather than memorising long definitions for the key terms, such as those mentioned above, I found it more useful to remember some key words that I could use to explain the terms.
For example, for oxygen deficit, I would remember that I needed to talk about a lag in the aerobic system, some key physiological functions (such as heartrate or cardiac output), and the increased contribution from the anaerobic energy systems (both ATP-PC and anaerobic glycolysis).
If you feel more comfortable memorising whole definitions, go for it, but if you think that you might struggle to remember whole sentences or explanations have a go at just remembering a few key points that you can link together.
In order to keep these terms fresh in my mind, I put all the important definitions or explanations onto cue cards. On one side of the cue card I would write the name of the term and then on the other side the definition. I found cue cards really useful because they were an easy way that I could go over key information every day and continue my revision leading up to the exam. The best thing about cue cards is that you can really test yourself and see if you can remember the information without looking at it, which is something you can’t so as easily with your notes.
If, however, you hate cue cards (because I know some people do) you can definitely still use your notes to do this kind of revision. If you cover the highlighted information on you notes and then try to remember the points that are important, or if you look at a heading or term and then cover the definition and try to recall it, it’s just as effective.
Another great way to keep these key terms in mind is to give your notes or cue cards to someone and have them test you. Often the person testing you will ask questions or ask you to explain what something you have said means and this adds depth to your knowledge.
Online resources such as Quizlet are also really useful in terms of helping you to remember key definitions or terms and can be used in addition to your notes/cue cards or instead of them.
The most important thing that I found when I was trying to continue my revision into Term 4 and then into the study break before exams was that it needs to be broken down into small chunks. During this time, my main focus was practice exams (which we will be talking about next week) and so any revision that I was doing in addition to that needed to not take hours or be really draining. Splitting your cue cards or notes up into sections that take about 15-20 minutes to go through is really useful as this means you can do a little bit of revision every day, maybe when you first wake up, maybe when you’re brushing your teeth, maybe right before you go to bed. Doing a little bit of study for everything every day or two also helps to balance all of your subjects and make sure that you’re not neglecting any.
Beyond remembering key terms and definitions, it’s important in PE to remember broader concepts and how they link together. For this, I found that making posters was the most effective way of continuing to revisit the PE content and think about it in different ways. I found that, for PE, I made 3 types of posters.
The first was a list poster. I made these posters for things like fitness components, training methods and principle, chronic adaptations, acute responses and energy system characteristics. These were nice to have up on the wall so that I could glance at them and see all the aspects of a topic. Just seeing all of the terms every day helps you to remember them.
The second type of poster that I made was a mind map. This was really useful for more complex topics like interplay, some biomechanical principles and fatigue. On these mind maps I included images or drawings and writing. I found that mind maps were the best way to revisit the relationship between topics and how the content works together, which helps to prepare you for extended response questions in the exam.
The last type of poster that I made was one that mapped out a response to a common exam question. I used these as a kind of scaffolding or skeleton that I could remember and then adapt to a question in the exam. I made posters like these for topics such as energy system interplay, chronic adaptations, LIP and some acute responses. These posters helped me to isolate the key points that I needed to hit in my answers.
The most important thing with posters is to put them in a place where you will actually look at them. You can laminate them and put them in the shower, you can put them on the wall opposite your bed or on the mirror in the bathroom where you brush your teeth. It doesn’t matter where they are- just make sure you’re looking at them!
Hopefully some of these tips will help you to continue revisiting the PE content as you shift your focus to the all-important practice exams!
Have a question?
In the final weeks before exams Jo will be hosting 2 Live Q&A sessions to help everyone get fully prepared for exams. If you have a question on how to best get prepared, have been stuck on an exam question or want to clarify an area of content send it through here, and Jo might answer it live!