I though I would do this post as for many people revision for summer exams whether it be at school or university will start soon. Revision can be a chore but here are my tips on how to make revision more effective and more interesting.
Step 1: Find the perfect space.
You need to find a place that you are best able to revise. This could be in a study, at the kitchen table or even somewhere like your local library. I personally prefer to work at my desk in my bedroom. It should be somewhere quiet and comfortable that you can sit at for several hours and won’t get back ache, so a comfy chair is a must. I don’t recommend your bad as it should be somewhere that you can mentally associate with work as this will help you to concentrate better and not get so distracted.
Step 2: Set the scene.
Once you’ve found your space you need to set it up so that you will be able to work there. The most important thing is to tidy the area ready for work. Clear a space so you have plenty of room for all of your books and notes and stationery. Making sure that there is good lighting is just as important as having a comfy chair so not to ruin your posture. I personally like to light a candle while I work as it relaxes me and makes revision slightly less of a chore. Some people also like to have music playing quietly in the background while they work, particularly with more logical subjects such as maths and science. Maybe make a playlist for songs that you can associate with work, that are relaxing but won’t put you to sleep! If lyrics are distracting to you then choose classical music or piano pieces with no lyrics. Radio stations can also be useful to some people.
Step 3: Supplies
Once you have you work space all set up you need to make sure you have the right supplies. It can be very distracting to your revision if you are having to go on a hunt for something every 5 minutes. Stationary shopping can actually be really fun, so make a list of all the stationary that you will need for you revision. Here is a lift of a few things you may need:
- Black/blue writing pens
- Coloured pens
- Lined paper
- Graph paper
- Key cards/flash cards
- Folders and dividers
Step 4: Get Organized.
Getting and staying organised is vital when it comes to revision. Divide your subjects into topics so you know exactly what you have to cover. And make a revision timetable so you fit everything in. You could also order or colour coordinate your topics and subjects into ones that you find more difficult as these should be the ones that you prioritize. I personally like to make a list before I go to bed of what revision I want to get done the next day and then I can tick it off as I go along. You could also make a revision folder of all your notes that you have made as it is vital that they don’t get lost.
Step 5: Be realistic about your time.
Most people can’t go long hours sitting at their desk working without a break. And even if you think you can it is probably not a good idea. I recommend working for about an hour and then having a 10/15 minute break. This way your time will be more concentrated and effective. Revising deep into the night is also not a good idea as your revision becomes much less productive as you get tired and it will only ruin you for the next day. If you are revising in holidays then I wouldn’t work for any longer than your typical school day is and if you only have after school then I would say 3 hours maximum. It can also work best if you break for lunch or mid afternoon for an hour or so so you can fully shut your brain off from work before you start again.
Step 6: Sort your breaks.
Your breaks should be productive and help to prepare you for your next working session. Exercise definitely helps me not go crazy or even just going for a short walk and getting some fresh air. During my longer lunch break I like to watch some TV and just put my feet up. You can also use your breaks for things that you need to get done for example music lesson practice and driving lessons.
Ways to Revise:
There are so many different ways to revise and it all about finding which works best for you. I would always so for a combination of methods but your combination depends on what type of learner you are and your subjects.
- Making notes – for some people this is really tedious, like copying out a textbook but for others writing something out really helps them to remember it.
- Use mindmaps, picture and diagrams – for more visual learners there are a great idea. Don’t waste time on making them beautiful, nobody else is going to see them. Just get all your ideas down and test yourself of what you know.
- Use books – they may seem a bit old fashioned now but if you find the right book you can’t beat the level of information that they have.
- School Textbooks – either the school will give you textbooks or recommend that you buy them. These are the most useful books as they will divide everything up into topics for you to learn. The are usually also the set textbooks for the exam or syllabus that you are doing so you would be stupid to ignore them!
- Your own school notes – the lieklihood is that it class you teacher has given you some amazing notes that you have just forgotten about. They will have been teaching for this exam for years so they know their stuff! You just need to trust that you probably need to know the stuff that they have taught you.
- Find a friend – to make your revision a bit more interesting do it with a friend. Get together and teach each other and test each other. They may understand thing that you didn’t get it class and will be able to help you.
- Use key cards/flash cards – these are actually amazing when it comes to revision. Make short notes on then and then read then over. Or write a term on one side and the definition on the other and test yourself until you’ve got them all right.
- Share notes – sharing notes with your friends or finding other people’s notes of the internet can be so useful in giving you a different way of learning and understanding something.
- Do practice questions – use these to test yourself once you’ve finished revising a topic. You don’t even have to write out your answers just make sure you know the method and how you would answer them.
- Use past papers – these are usually pretty easy to find online and it will make the actually exam so much less stressful if you know what to expect. Exams are not all about just knowing the information but also about exam technique and knowing the style of the answers. Start by just going though some papers and markschemes. Then test yourself without cheating with the markscheme. Finally set yourself the time that you will have in the actual exam and work under the time pressure.
- The internet – there are some amazing revision websites and quality information out there on the web. But be careful of distractions too! Going on to the website of your exam boards can be so useful and they will have so much information to help you with the exam. My favourite revision websites are: