With exams coming up, the previous months or years of study come into sharp focus, and it comes time to refresh your mind on everything that you have learned so far. Hopefully, you have come across this article just as revision season begins, and you have plenty of time to formulate a plan and then execute it. If not, then tips are just what you need to make the most of the time remaining. You cannot go back into the past and start earlier, so it is all about being as efficient as possible with the days remaining before the exam. The goal is to prod all the knowledge you have gained throughout your course to the front of the mind for easy access, and the following tips can combine into an overall strategy that works to meet your personal goals.
1. Make a Schedule
It can enter your mind that any time you can set aside should be used for revising. However, when making a plan, you can go over what you need to cover and break it down into manageable sessions. According to research, 20 to 30-minute sessions work best as this is about as long as the brain can truly concentrate. It can be tempting to go longer, but the effort you make after this time will not yield the same rewards. Much better is taking a 5-minute break doing anything else, giving the mind time to refocus. It is also worth mixing up subjects from one session to the next, as this reduces the chance of your brain overwriting what you just learned.
2. Stay Active
If you are an active person, there is no way that revision should get in the way of your preferred lifestyle. Indeed, even if you are not, a period of revision is intense on the brain, and exercise can be a great way to ensure the body keeps up. Upping your heart rate gets more blood to the brain, which is ideal for fending off tiredness and stress while keeping you alert enough to make every session worthwhile.
3. Avoid Distraction
The ideal revision environment will be quiet and free of disruption. This tip can be flexible, as you may enjoy group revision sessions – but these should supplement your core schedule rather than overwhelm it. If you can make such a space at home, the time saved on travel can be used for revision. If not, then travelling to a quieter space is worth it as you will get much more out of your concentrated sessions.
4. Start Early
It can be tempting to leave your revision for later. If you have built later starts into the schedule then that’s fine, but you should respect the timings and goals you set yourself to give yourself the best chance of sticking to it. Even if you are not a morning person, as the afternoon and evening approach, you will easily find something ‘better’ to do, and a completed revision schedule will mean no stress when doing so.
5. Experiment with Revision Techniques
The typical mental image of someone revising involves reading a textbook and frantically scribbling notes. Ideally, you will find out early on what works best for you. Drawings, charts and question and answer sessions all have a part to play, and as long as it assists with the recall of information, it does not matter how whacky the technique ends up being.
6. Past Papers are a Goldmine
There are rarely sweeping changes in syllabus content from one year to the next, so while it is unlikely that past papers will contain identical questions, they can give insight into the types of questions to expect and the lengths of answers you are expected to provide. Your school should have plenty of samples on hand, but if you find them of use, it is worth looking around online for other examples.
7. Use Your Time to Create Content
Good revision practice does not see your notes being one and done. Note-making is a great skill to have, but an even better one is making these notes in such a way that you can use them again. Write the notes on your phone or cue cards so you can carry them with you and revise certain subjects all over again when you get a free moment.
8. Reward Successes
The true success of your revision schedule will come with exam results, but that could be months away. Short-term success, such as sticking to a full week of your revision schedule, also deserves a reward of sorts. Striking a balance between work and leisure is a fantastic skill to have both now and in the future, and tangible rewards for meeting your goals will be more likely to keep your motivation up going forward.
9. Revision is Not a Solo Exercise
Quiet spaces and no distractions are one thing, but learning and memory are often reinforced when shared with others. You may have a group of friends that can form a study group, and family members will often be more than happy to interrogate you on your knowledge of relevant subjects. There is something to be said for saying something out loud for future recollection and involving others can be massively helpful.
10. Adopt a Positive Approach
Exams are among the most notorious causes of stress in young people. If you are susceptible to stress, or even stressed already, then an online article probably won’t do much to comfort you. Nevertheless, a positive approach to revision will breed success and exams are not the be-all and end-all of your existence – so don’t let the pressure get to you.