The Revision Guide

It’s a fact. Revision matters. Just do not believe anyone who brags about how little revision they did and how easy the exam was, they are fooling themselves so don’t let them fool you. 

First things first….here are our tips on how you can make revision work for you.

1. Planning

Start as you mean to go on and plan a revision timetable, be disciplined with yourself and set aside time each day to revise, don’t leave it to the last minute. And start early - research shows that you are more likely to do all the planned work if you start early in the day, because as it gets closer to the evening, there is a greater tendency to want to go out.

Top Tip: It’s a good idea to revise the areas you find most difficult first - get them out of the way and build your confidence in the subject.

2. Don’t get distracted

Focus, focus, focus and don’t let Facebook or Twitter get in the way. In fact turn off your computer and write by hand, it will help avoid the temptations that come with using a computer. Always try to find somewhere quiet to revise, where you won’t be interrupted or disturbed.

Top Tip: In order to stay focused you should plan set times for other things and have a clear finish time. Include breaks when you can sit back for a few minutes, close your eyes, relax, and think about the things you have just learnt.

3. Look after yourself

Eat properly. Revising uses up energy so keep your mind and body fit by eating proteins (like fish, milk and eggs – all good for the brain) and energy foods (like nuts and bananas).   
Sleep is important too. It can sometimes be difficult to sleep in the lead up to exams. Get into a routine and don't go to bed too early if you are worried about getting to sleep.

Top Tip: Before going to bed drink a cup of camomile tea which is a natural way of making you relax.

4. Make your brain work for you

Try to reduce pages of information into brief, clear notes, then summarise these into a few key points which will help remind you of the whole subject. You can then carry this ‘key points’ sheet with you and revise regularly, even if it's for short periods of time.

Remember that if you learn something new, in general it will already start fading in your mind after a few hours. However, if you revise it again in the next four hours, it will take about 24 hours before it starts to fade. Revise it again in that 24 hour period and it will last for four days, then one and a half weeks, then one month, and so on.

But don’t be tempted to work the night before your exams. You will not learn anything you don't already know in that last evening. Having a relaxed mind will more than offset those few extra marks you might get from the tiny extra amount you can learn in one night.

Top Tip: Repeat information to yourself (try doing it out loud as well), as repeating information is one of the best ways to remember it.

5. Past papers

Don’t be afraid to look at past papers. Get hold of some recent past papers to look at and check your knowledge against them. Surprisingly once you have studied three or four past papers chances are that some of the questions that appear on the day of your exam will look very familiar!

Top Tip: Always familiarise yourself with the layout and the types of questions asked in exam papers, this can often save you time and help to earn marks.

6. Test yourself

Or better still get someone else to test you. Use your key point’s summary and get friends or family to ask you questions based on these notes.

Top Tip: This is not only a good way to revise but also a good way to have a break from the hard work.

7. Plan in rough

When you read a question help your understanding of it by circling or underlining the key words. Then quickly list all the important facts that should be included in your answer. Finally focus on that crucial first paragraph and get on with it as quickly as you can. You will find that the rest of your answer will flow from there.

Top Tip: Try creating a quick spider chart that links the key facts for your answer, it may help trigger your recall of further information.

8. Reward yourself

Try to find the right balance between study and leisure. Go out with friends after a productive day of revision or treat yourself to something sweet.

Top Tip: Work hard, play not-quite-as-hard, should be your motto.

And finally…Remember there are plenty of people who did well in life without getting 100 per cent in every single exam! Life isn't over if you don't score top marks, so take the pressure off yourself.

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