Boost your grades with Active Revision

We are now taking bookings for the GCSE Active Revision Course running from Monday 10th to Sunday 16th April 2023 (open to Year 11 students from any school).

For some of our students we know that the end of the festive break means that GCSE or A-level exams are on the horizon. However, the latest scientific research on brain function is revealing interesting insights into how we learn, so we asked one of our revision experts how the right revision programme could help students to achieve exam success.

Kate Gibson runs Gordonstoun’s ‘Active Revision’ course which focuses on both body and mind in order to boost performance.

“Studying is only one part of exam success,” says Kate. “We know from neuroscience that exercise speeds up brain functioning. If you’ve been out for a run, your reading speed and comprehension goes up by twenty percent. So you have to attack revision from all angles and make sure that your whole body contributes. A healthy body and mind which is well rested, well fed and fit can support your brain through the tough times ahead much better than one which is exhausted and lacking in nutrients.”

Kate and her team have applied this new understanding of the effects of physical activity into the Active Revision course, which now incorporates yoga, wall climbing, hillwalking and even bushcraft into the week-long course at Gordonstoun every Easter holiday. Sixty percent of students who take the course achieve two grades higher than their mock exams, with the majority of the remainder achieving one grade higher. Parents also comment on an improvement in the general wellbeing of their children. According to Kate, the techniques can be used by anyone to boost their performance.

“Every day do something aerobic which you enjoy to get your heart pumping such as running, dancing, swimming or cycling and remember to schedule in mindfulness activities to calm your body and mind. Stress is not helpful for memory. Learning to manage your stress now means you will have better chance of conquering exam nerves.”

As any athlete will testify, what you are putting into your body makes a difference to what you get out of it and this applies as much to the brain as any other organ. In addition to activity, the Active Revision course incorporates brain-boosting foods – another trick anyone can use at home.

“Sit down with your parents and google brain boosting foods,” advises Mrs Gibson. “Select ones you enjoy and build them into your weekly meals. This will nourish your overworked grey matter as you head towards the summer. Eating healthy snacks will give you more energy than junk, although my top tip is that dark chocolate is a brain boosting food!”

For more information on Gordonstoun’s GCSE Active Revision course, which runs from Monday 10th – Sunday 16th April 2023, go to