It is time to think about revising - something that you might have been putting off, but something that deserves a lot of attention, especially if you want those high marks.
Revision is that point in your academic career where you are committing to memory a higher level of understanding about everything you learned. While there are many ways to undertake revision, and many types of students who learn and code information differently, there are some basics that everyone can benefit from when it comes to revision.
The best advice is not to panic! The preparations you undertake will build your confidence that you know all the material for the exam. Here's what you can do to make sure you give yourself ample time to revise:
- Create a revision timetable - a simple schedule that marks out time to revise as well as time for working, resting, and having fun to balance your life. Put in blocks of 20-minutes for studying.
- Make sure you set aside at least four blocks of time each day for studying, with breaks in-between for meals and rest.
- On the timetable, mark down what subjects you will study for each session. It is best to mix them up and do a little bit of each subject each day. Put the more challenging subjects on the morning agenda when your brain is fresher.
- Provide your timetable to someone else so they can encourage you or give it to your study partner so they can be on the same schedule. Be sure to post your schedule somewhere you can see and be reminded that you need to stick with it.
Now it is time to get started on your actual revision. This is what to do so that you have the information ready for each revision session:
- Break all the material into smaller sections. This is the most important part as condensing it down into small, clear chunks can help create notes that are more memorable.
- Write down all the topics in the form of lists or mind maps. Try making notes in a notebook, using index/cue cards, recording your notes by speaking into a recorder and playing it back, or making diagrams/pictures of each concept or topic.
- Review these notes and reflect on the key points you have that are necessary to remember for the exam.
- Continually re-examine and reflect on these each day of your revision schedule during the set revising times. The more you go over the information, the better it will stick for when it is needed.
Here are some other ideas that will also help you to maximise your efforts when it comes to revising:
- Revise with a friend or study group. Take turns testing each other and using memory techniques to help each other with what you need to learn. Just make sure to not get side-tracked!
- Try using some of the available print and online revision guides. Ask other students/your professors which ones come highly recommended.
- Get hold of some past exam papers that have similar questions. Sometimes professors let you have these as practice so you can try to create model answers or shape your study material.
- Always try to work in a distraction-free environment - turn all your devices off during these twenty-minute revising sessions. Becoming distracted takes away from what your brain needs to focus on. Auditory learners may like to have headphones on or some type of music in the background, so if this works for you, go ahead.
To recap, the main points are:
- Don't leave revising to the last minute. Start early to give yourself the opportunity to review the materials many times prior to the exam.
- Segment the information into small components to allow your brain to memorize each.
- Make a revision timetable and schedule each of your 20-minute study sessions with at least four per day. Consider what times of the day you most feel comfortable with studying: while morning is recommended, some may like to study in the afternoon or evening. Others may like to study outdoors in the fresh air (and preferably in the sunshine), while others like to be tucked away in a quiet room or library.
- Being organised will give you the time to relax and let your brain refocus on other things so that it is alert and engaged when you return to your revising schedule.
- Mix up your revision methods by incorporating many types of study aids as well as study sessions, including a friend or group as well as those that you do alone. This will help determine the most appropriate revising methods for you.
- Revise often, but not every day - try to give yourself one day off each week. Like with physical exercise where your muscles need time to recuperate, your brain is a muscle that needs time to rest, rebuild, and re-energise.
- If you are struggling with certain concepts, do not let yourself get bogged down. Get help when you can, but it's okay to put it aside for a while and revise a topic you do understand. This will help you to not get discouraged.
- Get plenty of sleep during the revision and exam period. This will help your brain to be alert and ready.
We hope that all the tips mentioned here will help you achieve the marks you deserve and accelerate your academic success!