Revision Buddies Blog

Meet the new member of our team!

Justine has just joined us at Revision Buddies as Head of Content.

As a First Class History Graduate with tutoring and ed-tech experience, she is looking forward to organising content for Revision Buddies. Justine joined Revision Buddies as she advocates the use of different techniques in helping students retain as much academic information as possible. She will therefore ensure that all our GCSE questions are carefully curated against the exam boards specifications to serve the maximum benefit for candidates in their upcoming examinations.

As a student, Justine accomplished seven A*’s in her GCSE’s, and then went on to achieve straight A’s in four AS levels and top grades in her A’levels – one of which was taken a year early and two of which were awarded full marks! She was also awarded distinction in her Cambridge Pre-U for Philosophy & Theology.

Justine is now keen to channel her enthusiasm and determination for success onto the students who use Revision Buddies (including the students that she tutors in History and Maths) and we are really excited about working with her!

GCSE Geography 9-1 Grade Scheme

GCSE GeographyRevision Buddies are pleased to announce that we have now released a major update to our GCSE Geography app.

What has changed?

  1. The app now mirrors topic by topic the exact specification of the GCSE Geography A 9-1 specification of the OCR, AQA and Edexcel exam boards.
  2. 100s of additional questions, explanations and illustrations have been added to fully cater for the 9-1 grade scheme. Redundant content from the old specifications has been removed.
  3. Students can select the exam board that they are using so that the relevant topics and content are displayed, this is a one time selection that can be later reset in the settings section of the app.
  4. The app now contains 4636 multiple choice questions spread over the three exam boards.

Where can I preview the new topic layout?

Visit the GCSE Geography page on our website and click the Topics Covered tab.

Who has the content been authored by?

Our authors:

Scott Williams is passionate about the subject and has been Head of Geography at an 11-18 comprehensive school based in the Midlands for 7 years. As well as his day to day teaching, he has also moderated exams for AQA.

Joseph Durkan has a Bachelor of Science degree in Geography teaching. He has worked at a mixed comprehensive 11- 16 school in the South East for the last 6 years and has been an eco schools coordinator for 5 years. More recently he has begun to work with disadvantaged students in school settings to promote maximum progress.

Our authors have worked meticulously to ensure that the content of this app is engaging and true to the requirements across the OCR, Edexcel and AQA exam boards.

What’s new about Maths?

Colin stobartFor those of you that didn’t know, GCSE Maths has had a bit of a shake up recently and now all students who are studying GCSE Maths are following the new GCSE syllabus which is somewhat bigger than before!

So when the curriculum changes, so does Revision Buddies, and as there has been some confusion about exactly what has changed our maths author Colin Stobart has kindly volunteered to guide you through these updates.

Colin, is it true that I can no longer get an A in Maths?

The first examinations for the new Mathematics GCSE syllabus is June 2017. Grading will be on a number basis, 9-1, with 9 being the highest grade and 1 being the lowest. It is difficult to match previous A*-G alongside this but it is anticipated that grades 4/5 will roughly equate to the D/C grade boundary. There are still Foundation and Higher Tiers, but instead of 2 there will be 3 examinations, 1 non-calculator and 2 with calculator.


But maths is still maths, right?

Not exactly. The content of the syllabus has been changed in two ways. The entire content has been expanded by approximately 20%, requiring generally that schools add an extra 1 hour of mathematics per week for the 2 year course. The syllabus has also been restructured with a new Ratio, Proportion and Rates of Change section being introduced. New content has been added to the Higher Tier, some content that was previously Higher Tier only will be examined at Foundation, some content is new to both tiers and a few topics have been removed from the syllabus altogether.


This sounds like a lot of work! Anything else I should know?

Students will no longer be provided with a formula sheet, with only formula related to spheres and cones being provided within relevant examination questions. Some topics have been removed.


So how has this affected the Revision Buddies GCSE Maths app?

We’ve written two new sections Ratio, Proportion and Rates of Change (Calculator and Non Calculator) and added new content to match the new syllabus, we’ve also taken out content where it is no longer required.


The content of the 5 Sections (content in bold represents content that will be examined on the Higher Tier only) is written below:

Number (Calculator and Non – Calculator):

Ordering integers, decimals and fractions; the four operations; place value; BIDMAS; prime numbers, factors, multiples, HCF, LCM, prime factorisation, systematic listing strategies, the product rule for counting; integer powers and real roots; estimate powers and roots; fractional indices; fractions, surds, and π, simplify surd expressions, rationalise denominators; standard form; terminating decimals; recurring decimals; fractions in ratio; fractions and percentages as operators.


Data Handling – Probability and Statistics (Calculator and Non – Calculator):

Frequency; Randomness, fairness and equality; relative expected frequency; exhaustive and mutually exclusive events; empirical and theoretical probability; sets – tables, grids, Venn and tree diagrams; possibility spaces; independent and combined events; conditional probability using two-way tables, tree and Venn diagrams; populations and samples; frequency tables, bar charts, pie charts, pictograms, vertical line charts, time series diagrams; grouped and continuous data; histograms; cumulative frequency; comparison of distributions; box plots; quartiles and inter-quartile range; determining mode, median and mean; applying statistics; scatter graphs


Algebra (Calculator and Non – Calculator):

Algebraic manipulation; substitution; simplifying algebraic expressions and algebraic fractions; rearranging formulae; use algebra to argue equivalence and proof; functions; inverse functions; inverse functions; coordinates; graphs of straight lines and perpendicular lines; gradient and intercept; the significant points of a quadratic curve; turning point by completing the square; sketch and interpret graphs including exponential and of the trigonometric functions; translations and reflections of functions; gradient and area under a curve; equation of a circle; solve linear equations; solve quadratic equations by factorising, graph, completing the square and quadratic formula; simultaneous equations – linear/linear, linear/quadratic; iteration; derive and solve equations; linear, quadratic inequalities, set notation; arithmetic sequences; triangular, square, cubic, Fibonacci, quadratic and geometric sequences; sequences with surds


Geometry (Calculator and Non – Calculator):

Standard compass constructions; angles at a point, on a straight line, vertically opposite angles, angles within parallel lines; angles in and types and properties of triangles; properties of special types of quadrilaterals; congruence; similarity; transformations including enlargement with fractional and negative scale factors; combinations of transformations; circle vocabulary; circle theorems; plans and elevations; maps, scale drawing and bearings; areas of 2D shapes; volume and surface area of 3D objects; similarity between length, area and volume; Pythagoras and trigonometric ratios in 2 and 3 dimensions; know the exact cos/sin/tan values of a range of angles; sine and cosine rules for angle and side length; sine rule for area; vectors; use vectors in geometrical proof


Ratio, proportion and rates of change (Calculator and Non – Calculator):

Scale factors, diagrams and maps; ration notation and simplest form; divide quantities into parts; multiplicative relationships; percentages, fractions and decimals; compare percentages; percentage change; simple and compound interest; Speed, rates of pay, density and pressure; ratio applied to length, area and volume; direct and inverse proportion; instantaneous change on a graph; growth and decay and iterative processes


Topics that have been removed completely are:

Trial and improvement, tessellations, isometric grids, Imperial units of measure, questionnaires, 3D coordinates, and the rotation and enlargement of functions.

Techniques for GCSE Revision – with Cleverstore and Revision Buddies

We found this excellent blog post written by our friends at CleverTouch and thought it was definitely worth sharing here. See the original blog post here.

Teachers with students gearing up for mock GCSEs and their final exams in the summer know just how challenging revising can be. To minimise pressure and stress, students need to revise smarter using a range of techniques, which help to improve their working memory and concentration.

We all know that rest, physical exercise and a balanced diet plays a huge part in getting youngsters into the right frame of mind for revision. Furthermore, evidence suggests that students who revise in a quiet location retain more information than those listening to loud music while they study. But what else can be done to help important information filter through and stay put?

Students should aim to space out their revision of key subjects into short concentrated sessions over a period of two weeks to commit that information to memory. It’s a well-researched fact that testing yourself is one of the best ways to improve memory recall and identify areas for improvement.

At Clevertouch, our secondary school apps help students to do just that. All UK secondary schools with Clevertouch Plus get a free one year Revision Buddies School Licence, which normally costs £999. With a Revision Buddies School Licence, students have free access to all the Revision Buddies apps on their home devices.

With 1000s of multiple choice questions, split into each topic of the relevant syllabus, Revision Buddies apps test students’ knowledge, helps them to find gaps in their learning and tracks their progress over time. Each question within the app has an in-depth explanation and signposts external resources, such as past papers and mark schemes, so that students can prepare themselves for exams.

And, there’s no reason teachers can’t get in on the act using the Revision Buddies Teacher Dashboard, which allows them to set work for students to do on their devices and review their results to help target learning areas that need extra focus.

With a five-star rating from the Educational App Store, all content in the Revision Buddies apps has been written and produced in accordance with the relevant syllabus criteria by teachers, examiners and qualified academics.

So, if you want to give students a head start and combat exam pressure choose Clevertouch Plus.

If you already have Clevertouch Plus then you can register your school for the free one year Revision Buddies School Licence here.

It’s revision time and we’re here to help!

Some Helpful Hints for Creating Your GCSE Revision Planner

Got exams this year and don’t know where to start? Don’t panic! Revising is actually not that difficult, you just need to organise yourself and manage your time, so we’ve put together a few simple steps to get you on your way to create the perfect revision timetable – your recipe for success!
Your revision timetable will be your saviour, your lifeblood, and help you to make sure that you have got it all covered, from start to finish. The key is to work out what you need to revise and in how much detail, you can then plan how much time you need and plot it out. Most importantly though, make sure it is manageable and that you approach your revision in a way that you find engaging. Being prepared will help you feel ready for when the exams come round so you can take them all in your stride!  
1.Getting organised. Stock up on things that you will need so you’re ready to go, like…Highlighters, Pens, Revision Cards, Post it notes, Paper and why don’t you download some Revision Buddies apps, just to shake it up a bit! Make sure that you have a quiet, calm area for studying, with no distractions.         
2.Split out key topics within each subject..
Remember, you can’t eat an elephant! Making a revision plan requires breaking things down into manageable chunks. Split your subjects into key topics that you know you need to cover for each exam – If you’re struggling here, have a look at a Revision Buddies app where we show you how this is done.
Don’t forget that some topics will be longer than others, and there will be some that you feel you know already – make a separate list for each subject with its topics, you can then cross them off once you’ve covered them. Hurray!        
3.Creating the planner: It’s up to you to decide what works for you – start by looking at how many weeks you have, and then break it down into weekly chunks – we’ve made this nice and simple, just download Revision Buddies’ weekly revision planner and fill it in!
You can download a printable pdf here: 
Or an editable word doc here that you can save to your computer:
Starting early is important, your brain will not be able to recall as well if you cram all of your revision into a space or 2 weeks of all day revising.    
4. Mix it up! It’s tempting sometimes to stick to learning the things you like to learn about or find easiest, but make sure that you give plenty of time to topics that you find hard or enjoy less – you won’t be able to escape them in the exam!
It’s a good idea to balance the subjects that you enjoy with those that you might not want to do so much – maybe to two sessions a day that you will like, and one or two that you might not. Remember to revisit topics that you find challenging regularly so that they get fixed in your brain – you can also use our apps to test your knowledge for certain topics once completing them – just to check that you know all that you need for the exam.
5. How long should I revise for at a time? Your brain can’t concentrate all day long, you need to take breaks and make sure that you are not doing the same thing all the time – our planner is made so that you can divide up your time into half hour slots if you like – do whatever works for you, but remember to plan in some breaks!
6.Try to plan to work at times that are best for you Some people concentrate best in the morning, others better in the afternoon – you need to choose what works for you and plan accordingly. If you lose concentration in the afternoon, do more in the morning so you have a productive day.  
7. Give yourself a break from time to time – plan in downtime Downtime is crucial to a happy and productive brain! You need to give your mind a chance to process all you’re learning, and also to have fun whilst you are revising so that you don’t get too bogged down and stressed out. Make sure you include breaks in your plan, but also factor in your evening treats, the odd morning off or maybe something to take your mind off things over the weekend.
8. Build in a variation of revision / practice questions / creating essay plans / mindmapping / revise with a friend Varying your revision techniques can also be a way to make things seem less formulaic and boring. There might be days you want to read textbooks and make summary notes, there might be days where you have practice questions / example essays you can do too – fit these into the timetable where you think this might be a nice way to round up / finish off a topic or would like a bit of a change of pace.
We include past papers and mark schemes in our apps as this helps you to focus, understand the format of your exam and will also help you with planning your timing of questions. You could also try mind mapping – this is like a spider diagram of all the information you have on a topic. You can also revise with friends, this can help to share information and talk through topics – if they’re not nearby you could use our apps to upload your results of each topic to facebook and twitter.
9. Be flexible! When you make your timetable, don’t be overly ambitious with what you think you can achieve because sometimes, especially after a day of good revision, we find that our brains just aren’t working and we need to take some time out. Don’t worry, this is normal – there will be times when you really don’t fancy revising at all. You can always swap this slot with one of your planned mornings off and add in the sessions you had planned into another day. There will also be times when you’ll be absorbed in a subject and want to continue with it instead of breaking your train of thought – if so, just rejig accordingly too. You might well end up rewriting your planner out a few times, but that’s fine – it’s got to be a timetable that works for you. Make sure you know what you’d like to achieve on a weekly basis but don’t make it too rigid, otherwise it will just freak you out rather than help you with your organisation.
11. Colour codes Colour coding can be very useful – this is up to you as to what works best but you could do this subject by subject perhaps or by what type of revision technique you’re going to use. This will also brighten up what could be quite a black and white timetable – try and make it look in some way appealing – it will help just to look at it!
12. Getting your exam timetable Once you have your exam timetable – put it in your planner. This will give you a good idea of how long you have left until your exam dates. It will also help you to know  what you’ll need to concentrate on nearer the time for any final revision, and you will have the end date in sight so you can start making a plan and looking forward to your free time!
13. Share your plans! Once you’ve made your plan, share it with your family so that they can support you and they know when they can and can’t disturb you. Good luck, making your plan is the half of it, once you’ve done that you can be stress free, knowing you’ve given yourself enough time to get everything covered!
14. Last but not least.. Remember to plan in some time using our GCSE revision apps. Time away from your desk no longer needs to be written off as time that you can’t revise, so if you have any car or bus journeys coming up remember to mark them in on your planner as revision app time!
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Raising the grades – GCSE History

What is the simplest way of raising the GCSE pass of your History students by one grade?

It is frustrating when you see a student who you know could get a grade C at GCSE instead dropping to a D. You know that with just a little more work and a little more revision that student could have gone up one, or even two, grades.

The same is true with the A student who could have got an A*. Just a bit more work, and it all could have been so different.

But it is even worse when the student claims that he or she really did revise. You know the student probably did revise – but clearly not with the right amount of focus and not on exactly the right subjects.

So what can be done?

The answer is almost certainly twofold. First, most students need help in seeing exactly what does need to be revised. And they need to test themselves rather than just “read through.” That much is obvious and usually recognised.

But second, the student needs to be encouraged to revise in short, meaningful bursts, paying full attention to the work all the way through.

However, since revision takes place outside of the focus of school, it can be hard to achieve this. Or at least until now.

For now, there is a different approach – an approach which takes the student’s everyday preferences and works with them to create a learning environment with which the student feels completely at ease.

This approach involves providing the student with a complete set of interactive revision materials for GCSE History which can be viewed and used on mobile phones and tablets. Materials which can be used whether the device has a connection to the internet or not.

In this way the student can work in short, sharp bursts, travelling to and from school, at home, during lunch breaks, etc, no matter where he or she is.

Better still, we are now offering the app which provides this facility, and schools can now purchase student licences. The student just needs to log on and then the app will be fully enabled. The Revision Buddies GCSE History app costs under £3 per student – surely the lowest cost revision guide that there is.

To find out more and see the details of the syllabuses covered by the app, please do take a look at our website, or if you have any questions please email us (