Seeing as it is coming up to exam season I thought it would be fitting to post a blog with some revision tips which have helped me get through school and university. It is important to note before you read this that everyone learns in a different way so what has worked for me may not be the best way for everyone else.
1. Make sure you get organised before you start revising!
As scary as it may be to remind yourself just how close exams are, if you go into revision blindly without a plan you are running into the risk of running out of time to cover all of the material before exams start. I find the best way to do this is to use a calendar or use Microsoft Word to print out a calendar which has a small section for each day. Then work out how many chapters of material you need to cover and divide these up into the amount of time left until exams. Also if you are studying for more than one exam then you may find it helpful to tackle a chapter from each subject every day rather than spend each day on just one subject as it will tend to break up the day a bit better and keep your mind more focused.
Then on a daily basis I find the best way to tackle each day is to write a to do list each morning based on what chapters you will be covering that day but in more detail e.g. create a mind-map of chapter 6, answer the questions at the back of chapter 7, etc. By doing this not only will you have a good record of what you have done each day but you will also get some satisfaction from seeing your to do list completed by the end of the day which will help you see just how productive you've been.
2. Take regular breaks
This one is quite important as research has proven that our minds will only remain focused for a short period of time. Back at uni my lectures used to be in 50 minute blocks with a 10 minute break in-between each one so that you had time to refresh your mind and this is something that I carried on doing when revising. It doesn't matter what you do in your 10 minute break as long as you move away from your desk and do something that takes your mind off of revision. Whether you go outside, go and make a cup of tea and have a snack, read a chapter of a book or watch a YouTube video, do what makes your brain feel like it is having a break from working hard for 10 minutes.
As well as taking these 10 minute breaks you should also factor in a few longer breaks throughout the day. It could be anything from exercising to having a catch up with a friend but try and make sure you spend these longer breaks away from your study environment completely if you can.
Also, make sure you stop revising well before you go to sleep so that you can give your mind a chance to de-stress and relax so that you can get a good nights sleep. Even if you think that your aren't stressed, exams are always going to be stressful so plan an hour or two before bed when you can do whatever relaxes you the best.
3. Make the best environment for you to work in
By the time you've done a few exam seasons you will probably know which environment you work best in but if your new to exams or find that you aren't working as well as you could be then try and answer the following questions. Where do you work best? At home, in the library or even in a park if it is nice and sunny. What time of the day do you work best? Some people are morning people whilst others are evening people. Whatever time you decide that you work at your best, use this time to tackle the chapters that you find the hardest as this will be the most productive use of your time. Do you work better with music or in silence? I find that having classical music on at a background level helps me to keep calm and take in everything that I'm trying to revise.
One of the most important things about your work environment is to make it a distraction free zone. Turn your phone on silent and don't leave it anywhere near your study environment. You can check it in your 10 minute breaks but don't leave it next to you as you will be tempted to check Instagram or twitter if revision isn't going well.
4. Find out methods helps you revise the best
If you are a visual learner then make mind-maps and posters in lots of bright colours and put them up around your study environment. If you're a kinetic learner then recording the key points and then listening to it may help.
The best way to prepare yourself is to go through past papers as this is the best way to get a understanding of what type of questions could be asked and the difficulty of the questions.
If you are trying to learn a list of points, a formulae, an acronym or something similar then I find the best way to do this is to take apart each section and associate a story with it. This will especially help if you are the sort of person who remembers song lyrics really well.
5. Keep everything neat and tidy!
Finally keep both your revision notes and your study area neat. Not only will this prevent you cleaning your desk as a distraction, it will also help you keep organised which should in turn help you to remain more focused.
I really hope this helps anyone sitting exams and if you are then good luck!
Just try and remember to not get too worked up about exams to the point where you freeze. At the end of the day even if you fail an exam, if you want something hard enough there is always a way to get there whether that is to resit the exams or to try a different route to end up where you want to be.