Unfortunately, there is no easy or simple way to revise for exams and there are no real hacks to do it overnight. Before sitting down to revise you must remember that not every way of revising works for everyone, some methods will work better for one person than another, so the best way to find out what works for you is to try different methods and decide which to stick to.
In this blog, I’ve put together my top tips to help you be best prepared ready for revision and then some different ways to revise to help you get ready for that dreaded exam. There are also some ways to help you stay focused at the end – these tips tend to work well for me!
Prepare for revision
The one bit of advice everyone will give you is to start early to get ahead and make things easier for yourselves. Not everyone takes this advice which makes things more difficult for yourselves. You can’t study a whole subject in one night before the exam and expect to pass, so do yourself the biggest favour and start earlier, you’ll be able to remember more and be less stressed around exam time. This strategy also leaves time closer to exams to focus on topics you understand less.
Sometimes when revising you may find that your notes from lessons are a bunch of bullet-pointed nonsense that you no longer understand. When you’re in lessons you must remember that in future you may not be able to remember this exact lesson when reading the notes later on.
The best way to take notes is to use full sentences and only use abbreviations you know you’ll understand, or add a note on the side for what it stands for. Use headings to separate different sections to make it clear what the notes are about. Personally, when I’d finish a lesson, I’d make a little list on a post-it note of what was covered in that lesson so for revision I’d know if those notes related to what I was revising.
A different way to make useful notes is by downloading PowerPoint presentations from teachers and adding your own notes in the note section below so you have the teachers resource and your interpretation along with it.
If there’s a topic you don’t fully understand, instead of ignoring it do extra reading to try and understand it or talk to tutors. When it comes to the exam its best to have an idea of what the theory or concept is about instead of ignoring it and having nothing to say if it comes up in the exam.
Ways to revise
A good way to overview a topic is to mind map the main words, concepts or theories related to the topic. This can act as trigger words to remember this topic or show you that you don’t fully understand the topic and to go back and look into it. These can also be useful to look at before exams to remind yourself of the main topics.
Revision cards work similarly to mind maps where you write the name of a theory or concept on one side and the full description on the other side. If you remember it, you can reduce the number of times you read it and if you don’t, you can go back to notes or books to remind yourself of the topic.
A way to remember theories or concepts is to write them on post-it notes and stick them around your room. This tactic works well for people who are visual learners. When you are in an exam you can imagine your room and remember where the note was and what it said.
Create a timetable to set when you are going to revise a certain topic so you can focus on that, don’t forget to leave personal time to relax or be social.
Create a list of all the things you need to get done and slowly work through it to focus on each task without getting distracted by what else you have to do.
Put your phone on silent, maybe leave it in another room. Switch off the TV and go somewhere quiet if you are someone who gets easily distracted! Sometimes it’s worth staying in the library so you can revise in a shorter time and focus more because of a lack of distractions.