Easter is at a sharp approach and following this weekend students and parents may be feeling daunted by the exams ahead. An organised approach to revision is fundamental to success and I hope the following suggestions will help you in the run up to the summer exams.
A good revision timetable is crucial. Remember not to be overambitious; use realistic targets and increase the workload at your own rate.
- Whether you consider yourself a morning person or not, research has shown that you are at your most mentally alert first thing in the morning. Start with subjects you find more challenging and aim to get them out of the way before lunch.
- Try 45 minutes chunks of work fragmented by ten minute breaks.
- Put your phone away and block yourself from any tempting websites. You will feel much more satisfied if you have been productive. This app helps block digital distractions - https://macfreedom.com/!
- Try to learn topics in short bursts, coming back to each more frequently, rather than covering one whole subject and not coming back to it for a few months. This should keep your memory ticking over.
- Don’t be tempted to spend more time on subjects you enjoy at the expense of those you don’t.
If a fact means nothing to you, you won’t remember it. So when you first learn something, it’s important to relate what you’re learning to things you already know.
- Invent acronyms or rhymes with a friend.
- Use flashcards (if you are a visual learner, make these colourful).
- Group facts into different sections to help yourself compartmentalise bits of information.
- With languages, try to learn ten new words every day. Rather than just working off a list, put these words into sentences and you will find them easier to remember in exams.
- Condense a page of notes into a few bullet points and use these to remember the rest of the page.
Of course, exams are not just a memory test. The secret is to remember the relevant facts, rather than sloppily writing down everything you know, with little or no prompting. To tackle this, write down everything you can remember about a particular topic at the end of a revision session. This will help you associate certain facts with certain topics and in the exam you may notice the gaps.
For essay subjects, writing lots of different essay plans for each topic using past papers can also help you to compartmentalise which facts go where. This will also build an effective essay planning technique and contribute to a confident approach to tricky questions in exams.
Eating well is good for your mental and physical health. Whilst it might not magically help you remember a tricky equation, it can help to be feeling fit and healthy during those demanding weeks.
A good way to break up your revision is to get some fresh air, either with a twenty minute jog or a brisk walk. Lots of exercise will also make you physically tired and ready to sleep at the end of the day.
Further advice on revision can be found in these two articles: