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20th February 2015
Organising your revision in advance is extremely helpful and a much better way of ultilising your time. I've created a handy-dandy document which I swear by. This is a way to effectively plan when you're going to revise each topic and for how long each day. I plan this in advance each week and add reminders for myself. I've found this super helpful and I really hope that some of you will too. For a free download, click here. Good luck!
You blow the final blanket of dust from the cover of an abandoned textbook and tear open its murky pages. The clock’s heavy hands beat slower every moment as a bead of sweat moistens your brow. Your right hand begins to quiver, releasing its mighty grip from the metal nib of your writing instrument. This plucks a ricocheting clang from the feeble desk below, breaking the silence of which had previously consumed the room. You feel yourself begin to fall backwards as your eyelids close to reveal a terrible darkness. The first five minutes of revision are never easy.
However revision doesn’t need to be some kind of Apollo mission; studying may seem bad, but failing is far worse. The dreaded examinations are quickly making their unwanted arrival upon the horizon so it’s about time we got prepared. For today’s blog post I’d like to share some of my revision techniques and hopefully help you to maximise exam success, while avoiding revision becoming a chore. All aboard the fun train.
We remember things which are...
- In CAPITALS
- In colour
- Bold or Italicised
20% of what we READ
30% of what we HEAR
40% of what we SEE
50% of what we SAY
60% of what we DO
90% of what we SEE, HEAR, SAY and DO
We remember by...
- Being organised
- Being interested
- Using rewards
Get organised: There’s nothing better than having an organised space ready to revise or learn; a cluttered area will only add to your cluttered brain. It’s very easy for your desk area or books to collate more and more mess, so try to stay on top of it as best you can. Create a tidy place for you to work and it’ll seem a far more appealing environment to spend time. Plus, who doesn't love buying stationary?
Collect your revision resources or materials and get creative. When storing your notes, make sure to create folders which divide up subjects and/or topics. This will make your notes easier to find and access. I always find that I’m more willing to revise from neater notes and that I take in far more
information from a schoolbook which is tidy. Don't be afraid to take time being
pedantic if it will ultimately pay off in the long-run.
Drink plenty of water: Reseach has (apparently) proven that water is the ultimate brain power. Stay hydrated and always have a glass of water by your side.
Take breaks: Working non-stop for hours will only really be detrimental. Take regular breaks and do something you enjoy. See it as something
to look forward to.
Breathe some fresh air: Try to avoid becoming some kind of hermit crab and get outside. If it's a nice day, do work in the garden or go for a walk to relax yourself.
Switch it up: It's not exactly the world’s best kept secret that revision can be excruciatingly boring. However one of the best ways to combat this like a Kung-Fu warrior is to change things up a little. Move around and revise in different places; in bed, at a desk, at a table, in the garden… anywhere! Go to your local library (with friends if you don’t want to feel like a complete loner) and crack open a revision guide. I find it easier to revise once I’ve escaped the distractions of social media or my phone in particular. Even the occasional check of my Twitter interactions can ruin the flow of studying so try your best to avoid it. Simply switching up your learning environment can minimise the monotony of revision dramatically.
Likewise, switch up the techniques. Don’t always revise from a textbook; try browsing the internet or watching a video and making notes. Use other people to your advantage and ask them to quiz you. I find that telling a family member about something I've just revised helps me
to remember it. For example, explain what transpiration or homeostasis is to
a willing family member - even if they don’t want to listen and/or don’t really
care. They might even learn something interesting! Use resources like index or
flash cards to assist you and make it all a little more enjoyable for yourself.
Use past papers: New to the revision spectrum? Meet your new best friend, past papers. These are accessible online and are the best way to practise questions.
Give yourself rewards or goals: For those who find themselves intrinsically motivated (confused? read this) then rewards will be extremely helpful to help you get it done.
Alternative techniques: Different techniques work for different people so it’s worth exploring everything to find what best suits you. Mind maps can be useful for laying out lots of ideas, particularly for Geography, History or Business Studies where long, wordy answers are required to gain major marks. Mnemonics can help to memorise key ideas, for example SOHCAHTOA to remember Maths trigonometry (SOHCAHTOA stands for Sin= Opposite/Hypotenuse, Cos= Adjacent/Hypotenuse, Tan= Opposite/Adjacent). You could create a timeline to help visually memorise the chronological order of key events in History.
Other methods include creating a comic (for example an atom losing an electron and becoming positive) or a story (i.e. how you extracted metals from their ores). Alternatively you could create a song (i.e. to remember the elements of the periodic table) if you find it easier to memorise something using music. You could put together an online document outlining key terms or points (i.e. the
plot to George Orwell’s Animal Farm) or record yourself saying something
(i.e. a paragraph of Spanish). There are so many methods to trial – hopefully
at least one of the above will be successful for you and make things easier.
Listen to relaxing music: Create your own revision playlist to listen to whilst you work. Try something relaxing with words you won't sing along to or get distracted by.
Start early: The only impossible journey is one you never begin. Get started now and build it up gradually until revision has become part of your lifestyle. Don't wait.
Brain power: Eating healthy foods is great for keeping your brain energised and powerful. I always have a fresh, homemade smoothie before an exam.
I'd like to personally wish you the best of luck with your revision and exams. Hopefully this has been some kind of help which will somehow pay off in the long run or even gain a few vital marks. A lot of the above techniques are ones I have used in the past and found extremely successful. Do you have any other useful techniques? Tell me in the handy comments box at the bottom of the page!
Don't forget you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram under the username of @jackbenedwards or add me on snapchat (jack_edwardss) for daily doses of... well, me. You can also subscribe at the bottom of the page to be updated as to when I upload new posts. Thanks for reading and have a lovely day.
Don't sacrifice your social life: If you're blessed to have a fully functioning social life then don't lose it! It's important to still enjoy life and avoid revision taking it over entirely.
By Jack Edwards