It’s nearly exam time and the dreaded ‘R’ word is being rammed down your throat at every turn – Revise. Revise. Revise.
Sadly, we can’t wave a magic wand and make all of those lessons and lectures miraculously stick in your mind without you putting in a bit of graft before the big exam season. But here are some top tips to make your revision sessions really count.
Take a lot of breaks
This isn’t, should your folks ask, an excuse to skive off actually working. Research shows that shorter 20-30-minute bursts of revision work best because concentration is much higher. Create a timetable with regular short breaks and work on up to three subjects in a day to keep your brain fully engaged.
We’re not talking about creating artistic masterpieces here – just simple diagrams, learning maps, doodles and colourful notes that will make your documents easier to memorise for when the exam arrives. Lord Dodo has even been known to make up original ‘songs’ and rhymes filled with subject information to make it easier to stick. All together now… “In fourteen hundred and ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue”
Post-It Note it so you don’t forget it
We have a tendency to remember things that we see a lot so write important points on post-it notes and stick them in places you walk past regularly like the kitchen sink, fridge, toilet or light switch.
Find a quiet place
It may sound obvious but a crowded/loud place filled with lots of distractions is not conducive to a successful revision session. Find somewhere you can work best and concentrate on the job at hand – whether it be a desk in your bedroom, a library or even sitting in the sun in the garden. Having some light music playing at a low volume in the background should be OK, but blasting out rock anthems or trying to concentrate on the latest happenings in Hollyoaks whilst you’re trying to study is a big no no.
Revise with friends/family
As the BT man always says, ‘it’s good to talk’ and sometimes sharing revision sessions with friends can be a huge help. Share your revision notes and techniques and set each other mini tests and quizzes so you’re all learning together and finding the best ways of making sure the info sinks in. Revision doesn’t mean you have to sit in silence!
Take past exam papers
It’s important to identify your weaknesses early on so sit plenty of past papers to get a feel of the areas you really need to focus on. Once you have completed three or four past papers, you’ll get a good feel of the way exam paper questions are worded and the best techniques to answer them to gain the best possible marks.
A quick jog may be the last thing you fancy after a day of having your head buried in the text books. But even a short jog could do the world of good for your exam preparations. Exercise increases heart rate, making blood circulate faster, ensuring the brain gets more oxygen which increases productivity and reduces stress. So there.
List out your topics
Don’t go in for a day’s revision totally blind. List the topics/subjects you plan to focus on each day and make sure you stick to the plan so you’re not drifting off and getting distracted. Be realistic with your plan though – nobody’s going to be able to successfully revise the entire contents of six subjects in one session.
Get started early in the day
The thought of getting up early and getting straight into revision mode may fill you with dread but research shows that you’re more likely to get all your work done if you make an effort to start early as you’re more likely to get tempted to do other things the later you leave it. If you put in a good shift in the morning, you’ll have the evening free to enjoy away from the study books.
It’s not all about work and no play. Set yourself strict times to revise and make sure you leave some free time so you don’t find yourself exhausted, frustrated and chin-deep in revision notes 20 hours a day seven days a week. Strike a good balance between study and social life and make sure you plan a cinema date, shopping trip treat or a catch-up with friends after a productive day of revision.
The very best of luck from all of us at Dodo Pad!