Top 10 Exam Revision Tips
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Have you ever met one of those mad people who say they enjoy revision?
They're usually nutters, who think revising is as fun as kite-surfing, or watching videos of goat parkour.
The rest of you shriek when you hear the word 'revise'. You lose your mind, and consider running off to live among the deer in a nearby forest.
Revision can be tedious, stressful and generally less fun than watching body-popping goats.
Whether you like it or not, revision is a crucial aspect of succeeding in school, and getting a job after you leave. So pull yourself together so that you can pass your A Level or GCSE exams.
We've put together a handsome list of our Top Ten Exam Revision Tips, to help you triumph over your revision woes, and keep you from running with deer in the forest.
1) REVISION TIMETABLE
Draw up a revision timetable! Do it today.
They are frightfully useful.
It should look like a calendar, so that you can plan what you will revise each day until the end of your exams. If you are bold, you can design it like an advent calendar - a chocolate or baked treat to enjoy each morning.
A revision timetable not only gives more structure to your study, it can break up the work into more manageable chunks. A timetable will also ensure you have time to cover every topic and leave yourself plenty of time to learn all that you need to.
If you plan your revision carefully, you can prioritise certain topics, or repeat material if that topic needs extra coverage.
You can draw your timetable by hand - simply find a pencil, some coloured crayons and a shatterproof ruler. Alternatively, you can build it as a Google doc, or on Microsoft Word. There are even apps available, such as My Study Life - School Planner or SQA My Study Plan.
2) SLEEP WELL & GET UP EARLY
You will need a minimum of seven hours sleep a night to revise effectively.
DO NOT reduce your nap time to fit in a few extra hours of study. Sleep is essential for cognitive abilities, such as problem solving and memory. A lack of sleep can have the following effects:
- Impaired memory
- Difficulty solving problems
- Trouble focusing
- Shorter attention span
It's also a good idea to go to bed early and to get up early. Like a giraffe does.
Revision is a full-time job, so study around typical work hours. That way, you will have a few free hours in the evening to unwind and watch River Monsters.
If you sleep in until midday, and are forced to work long into the night, revision can become an increasingly lonely experience.
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3) SHORT, REGULAR BREAKS
Your revision will be more productive if you take short, regular breaks. Give yourself ten mins in every hour to recharge your brain, have a cup of tea, a bagel or to go to the toilet.
Make a note of where you are, and what you plan to do once you have eaten your bagel. This will ensure you do not lose your place.
DO NOT watch TV during a break - even if Cash in the Attic has just started.
Short, regular breaks will help you study effectively for six hours, instead of losing focus after two.
4) PAST PAPERS
Past papers are key to effective revision. Practice questions are the best preparation for an exam - an entire practice paper is even more wonderful.
Practice is key, so getting your hands on past paper questions and answers is very important. You're able to make connections between different areas of the syllabus. This is very important when it comes to A / A* questions.
At least two weeks before exams, start concentrating on past papers. Do each one at least twice. With each one, trawl through the mark scheme and ensure you understand everything there. This gives you a better idea of how to think through an exam question. (2015)
If you are a champion of the common folk, you might also have a look at EXAMINER'S REPORTS. Exam boards release reports as a study resource. Each report will highlight common mistakes made by students the previous year, and explain how to avoid them.
They are the bees knees.
Exercise oxygenates the brain and releases tension. It is a way of increasing your productivity when you are revising.
Take a short walk or go for a run once a day. It's a splendid way to clear your head. Star jumps are equally effective, but look foolish in public places.
You can even add short breaks for exercise to your revision timetable. Your friends will say 'Wow, that chap has a solid revision routine.'
6) BE CREATIVE
Are you a creative, artistic soul, with a passion for highlighters? Fantastic. You can use said artistry to help with your revision. Be creative with your revision notes!
Use colour, diagrams, pictures, spider charts and highlight any keywords or important formulas. Create mind maps connecting all your important points. If your notes look engaging, you are much more likely to remember them. This revision technique is widely recognised to help visual learners.
Revision is not the most inspiring of things to be doing on a Tuesday morning. There's nothing like a spider chart and a purple crayon to make that Tuesday more exciting.
7) SUMMARY NOTES
After a few days of solid revision, you'll have been through enough A4 to start a paper-plane business. After a week, you will have enough to build a scale model of the Starship Enterprise.
That much paper is difficult to organise. The detailed notes you've made for your English, Maths and Film Studies exams are now a disorderly mess.
A month down the line, you walk into your French exam with a sheet of Shakespeare quotes and in-depth analysis of the Battle of Bosworth.
How to avoid such chaos? Summary notes.
After you revise a topic, write down a summary of the main points you have covered on a flash card. Three or four bullet points of dates, key facts or analysis that you can go through on the morning of an exam.
8) REWARD YOURSELF
This is a fun tip. Some take it too far though. After 15 minutes of study, Dave rewards himself with a Kit Kat, a short nap and a Netflix day. Dave takes it too far.
Small rewards are a great motivation, and not a hindrance to revision. If you get through a few solid hours of work, have a good biscuit, listen to some music or watch a short TV programme.
The greatest reward you will receive for your revision is a cracking grade after your exam. However, the occasional Chocolate Digestive will get you through the long hours it will take to achieve that grade.
9) MAKE USE OF FAMILY & FRIENDS
Most students prefer to revise on their own in a quiet space. Revision tends to be individual-centric, but it is often helpful to work in small study group.
Ask your friends and family to test you in small revision sessions. Flash cards are really useful for a quick run-through of content you have recently covered.
DO NOT be embarrassed of making mistakes in front of your friends/family. A quick test is a simple method of discovering gaps in your knowledge. If you make short work of your flash cards, move on - if you struggle, spend a few more hours on the topic. It's more fun than baseball.
10) STAY POSITIVE
It can be very annoying when someone says that to you.
'Stay postive,' they say, after you've dropped your phone down an escalator, or been pooed on by a pigeon. It is difficult to stay positive when any creature from the animal kingdom defecates on your new jumper.
When it comes to revision, however, it is essential that you remain optimistic.
Most of your peers will struggle to revise, and they will be just as nervous about their exams as you are. Furthermore, your life will not be over if you flunk an exam. There are wide examples of people who have succeeded in life having struggled in school - such as Richard Branson, Bill Gates and even Walt Disney.
Follow these revision tips, work hard, and your exams will be run smoother than a lunch service at Burger King.
Good luck to you!
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