What is the best way to study for IGCSE?


With the final IGCSE examinations right around the corner, you may be wondering about the best and most effective approach for study revision to help maximize your grades. Should you read through all the textbooks again? Is it worth practising past papers? Keep reading to discover the best way to study for IGCSE.

1. Note-taking

It is up to you to take notes in handwriting or on your laptop. However, note-taking is a must. When you’re sitting in class, write down things that you may have more questions regarding or something you don’t understand.

Taking notes on things you already know/are familiar with may not be favorable as you will always come back to things that you do not know rather than the things you do. Once you have covered the entire syllabus for each subject, you must now condense your notes to focus on key areas and other specifics.

You can condense your notes by reading through the textbook and picking out points that you think are the most important or most difficult to comprehend. You must condense your study guide down to a maximum of 20 pages to make it easier for revision.

Furthermore, an overall reading for the sole purpose of revision is highly recommended; subject guides would be the most effective when doing so. I would suggest using study guides as they act as distilled textbooks, explaining concepts in a compact and straightforward way to use for revision, which allows for more topics to be covered in short time spans. 

2. Avoid distractions while studying.

Avoid distractions while studying. It is essential to ensure that there are zero distractions when studying as it could deter your train of thought and interest towards that topic.

Make sure your phone, TV, and any sort of social network is turned off or away from you. You might think that responding to a message may be harmless and will only take a few seconds, but it could lead to hours wasted without you even noticing it or a loss of focus overall.

However, this does not necessarily mean that students must stay clear of all distractions permanently. Once you have finished studying according to what has been accomplished in your schedule in the allocated time, you can reward yourself with anything— be it watching a movie or texting your friends. 

3. Practice past papers

Practicing past papers is one of the most important ways to ace the final IGCSE examinations. It provides you with the structure and type of questions that appear in the exams, helping students be thoroughly prepared.

It also helps students be more organized in terms of finding out which section takes up most of their time and thus, provides an ideal way of timing yourself and becoming self-aware of your strengths and weaknesses. Familiarizing yourself with past papers as much as possible early on is essential when it comes to preparing for the final examinations.

Also Read: What are the mandatory subjects in Edexcel IGCSE?

4. Prioritise. 

You may be hardworking and put in a lot of effort studying and yet you might leave out certain unimportant topics or ones that you find difficult. Having questions from those topics show up during the exam could really put you on the spot and increase levels of stress and panic.

Hence, when studying, you should prioritize going through the syllabus for every subject and start with the topics that you struggle with the most. IGCSE was designed for students to get out of their comfort zone and tackle more challenging obstacles.

Getting the difficult topics out of the way makes it much easier to revise right before the final examinations and you will become more confident with what you know and less stressed overall. Revising for topics that you are already confident with could be a waste of time with having just a few months left before the final exams.

However, this does not mean that you should neglect any topic that the syllabus covers, as everything must be treated with equal importance. 

5. Divide and study over a fixed time period. 

Creating a schedule for what you need to study for each day and for how many hours will help make things more organized and determine the amount of time it will take to cover all topics for every subject before any exam final or a midterm. This allows you to distinctly know how much progress you have made in that period of time.

This can also help with determining whether your study methods for IGCSE are time-effective or not. For example, in Biology, you could study ‘Cells’ and their structure in a week, the various kinds of cells the next week, processes within cells the next week, etc.

Additionally, planning breaks are just as important. The maximum amount of time a person can concentrate on a topic in 20 minutes. Accordingly, having short breaks every 20 minutes will help you stay focused and keep you engaged. 

6. Repeat midterms and semester exams.

If you have not performed well in a midterm or semester exam, it is highly recommended that you go through the topics for that particular test again and repeat them at home at your own convenience. This will help you study better for the final IGCSE examinations and be more familiar with how to give the best response to a particular type of question.

It seems as though it is the effort of attempting to retrieve the knowledge that makes it retain in your memory, not just seeing or repeating it. Hence, if you can take tests once a week on difficult topics, it will help to a great extent. 

Most importantly, ensure you take care of your mental and physical health. Getting an adequate amount of sleep (8 hours) and maintaining a balanced diet is crucial to maintaining energy and overall health.

Getting physical activity in the form of a sport, exercise or meditation is also needed to remain healthy, improve strength and mental health. Good luck, you got this. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: What is the best way to study for IGCSE?

A: The best way to study for IGCSE is to start early, create a study schedule, and follow a systematic approach to learning. This should include reviewing the material regularly, taking practice exams, and seeking help from teachers, tutors, or classmates when needed.

Q2: How much time should I devote to studying for IGCSE?

A: The amount of time you should devote to studying for IGCSE depends on a variety of factors, including your level of familiarity with the material, the difficulty of the exam, and your personal study habits. However, a general rule of thumb is to start studying several months in advance and to devote several hours per week to reviewing the material and taking practice exams.

Q3: What study materials should I use to prepare for IGCSE?

A: There are a variety of study materials available to prepare for IGCSE, including textbooks, review guides, online resources, and practice exams. It is important to choose materials that are relevant to the specific exam you will be taking and that align with your personal learning style and study habits.

Q4: How can I stay motivated while studying for IGCSE?

A: Staying motivated while studying for IGCSE can be challenging, but there are several strategies that can help. These include setting achievable goals, breaking down the material into manageable chunks, rewarding yourself for progress, and seeking support from friends, family, or teachers.

Q5: What should I do on the day of the IGCSE exam?

A: On the day of the IGCSE exam, it is important to arrive early, bring all necessary materials, and follow the instructions provided by the exam proctor. It is also important to take care of yourself by getting enough sleep, eating a healthy meal, and staying hydrated. Finally, it is important to remain calm and focused throughout the exam and to manage your time effectively to ensure that you can complete all sections of the exam.

Further Reading: 

Cambridge University

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