- Be organised
Before you start putting pen to paper, make a plan! Good chances are you’ll either have several subjects to revise, or one subject with several elements. With what time you’ve got between now and submitting your essays or sitting exams, make a decision on what you’re going to revise and when.
If you’re studying three A Levels for example, you may wish to assign a certain subject to a certain week or day (e.g. week 1: English, week 2: History, week 3: Psychology -or- Monday & Tuesday: English, Wednesday & Thursday: History, Friday & Saturday: Psychology). If you’re lucky enough to have several days between essays/exams, feel free to prioritise a subject or topic in the build-up to your assessment. As soon as this is boxed off, prioritise your next assessment.
- Have the right frame of mind
Between chatting with friends, browsing social media and watching streaming services, it seems easier than ever to get distracted and think of any excuse not to revise! Therefore, you need to put yourself in an environment that will truly allow you to focus on your revision.
If you’re feeling brave enough, turn off your phone and rule out the possibility of getting side tracked by a quick YouTube video or half-hour of window shopping.
- Have an incentive
Using distractions as an incentive can sometimes work to your advantage and also setting goals can help motivate you and break up your revision. This can be anything from watching a film, having a scroll through Instagram, or even having a sweet snack. The better the incentive, the more likely you are to revise!
- Use cue cards & post-it notes
As vital as it is to know your subject(s) inside and out, short and snappy knowledge can also help you massively – especially in an exam setting.
Repetition is key, too. Think about any object in your bedroom and good chances are you know exactly where it is – the same applies to post-it notes. After making your notes, put them in places you’re bound to see every day. But remember to keep your notes short and snappy!
- Practice old questions
This tip can initially seem a little excessive. You’d be right in thinking last year’s exam content won’t be the same as your own, so why look at previous assessments? Questions can be quite technical or awkwardly worded, so if you prepare yourself with what to expect, it may help you revise more efficiently.
A lot of previous papers can be accessed online. Or, you could ask your tutor or teacher for a copy. Naturally, the more recent the paper – the better. You’ll want to be as calm and comfortable on the day, and looking at previous papers will definitely assist you in doing so.
- Find out what works for you
Take the time to reflect on your revision methods and think about the type of learner you are. You might prefer simply reading notes over and over or sharing your new knowledge with others by speaking out loud. Research has established that we all have our own learning preference and it’s important to understand your own learning style. Some tests help you quickly identify yours, while others give you a more in-depth analysis. Below are a couple of quizzes that you can try.
- Try to relax
Last but not least… relax! Take frequent breaks, stretch your legs, get some fresh air and give yourself some time to reflect on what you’ve just learnt. Research suggests your brain has a tendency to ‘switch off’ about thirty minutes into doing the same thing. There’s no point in punishing yourself and revising for hours, because doing so will only discourage you from doing it again. Think quality – not quantity!