Revision -the bane of student life, but the necessity to a bright future.
Exams are stressful enough on their own without the hours upon hours of revision that accumulates to months and years of time. What if we told you that wasn’t entirely necessary. Shocking, right? Here’s how you can efficiently study to minimise stress before your exams.
Little and often
A fantastic rule to start off your year is do little and often. The temptation will be to wait a few weeks before you start to worry about revision, and then spend eight hours a day cramming as much into your brain as you possibly can. This might be what everyone else seems to be doing at school or college but it’s definitely not a wise move by any stretch. A few hours a week more frequently over the whole year will do you more good than panicking the week before your exam. It’ll also give you time to repeatedly go over everything you need to learn, until it becomes common knowledge to you. How rewarding would it be to sit in front of an exam question and just know the answer?
Keep it simple
If you’re anything like me, you’ll be the kind of person who likes adding colour and highlighting to your revision notes. The bright colours and diagrams help things stick in my head, but I have to admit I sometimes go a little over board. I spend hours choosing colours and colour coding everything and before I know it, it’s the end of the day and I’ve made one very pretty but fairly pointless mind map.
Pick two or three colours to use in your notes, and stick to them. Resist the urge to spend hours colouring in and organising your Sharpies – you’re only wasting valuable time and putting off actually revising. Although colour can definitely help your memory, keeping it simple is also key and will do your brain a favour.
Revising for an entire day with the occasional hour off will do you no good whatsoever. Instead, revise for 45 minutes at a time followed by a strict 15 minute break. It’ll give your brain time to absorb the information you’ve just given it, before you move on to your next topic.
Remember to use your breaks wisely too. Go outside, have a quick snack and try and move around. It’s your opportunity to stay energised and to wake yourself up before the next period of revision.
Split it up
Organisation is key to a successful day of revising. Write down the subjects you need to revise and then divide that into smaller modules. You can even divide that into topics within each module – just so long as you can clearly see what you have to go over. Having a check list gives you a visible, physical goal to work towards and helps you to stay motivated to complete each section by the end of a day, week, or month.
You can also use this to set reasonable, achievable goals. Obviously you’ll be unlikely to finish an entire subject in one day, so give yourself smaller goals that you can add to if you achieve them. Then, when you’ve completed a section, reward yourself. You’ll feel a sense of achievement and have proof of your progress.
Finally, remember not to panic. If it looks daunting, remind yourself of how much you’ve already achieved and learned compared to the beginning of the year. Even if it feels like nothing is sticking in your head, you’ll be surprised at how much you do remember. Everyone learns in different ways, so try out different methods like mind maps, videos or copying notes until you find what suits you best.