Keystone's Director of Education shares his thoughts on making an effective revision plan.
You should ask your subject teachers for advice about what to study and revise. They usually have a good idea about which topics appear regularly on exam papers and which are less frequent. Although you should aim to have a good understanding of the whole syllabus, it is not unreasonable to want to prioritise your learning.
Most people will benefit from having a set period of time during which they revise. Because of the way in which a "normal day" is organised, most of us are forced into using the evening for studying and revising, but this may not suit everybody. Some people are at their best early in the morning - and it could be worth making a special effort to make the most of this time. Although it may seem a bit of a drag (especially at first), having a regular time-slot for studying really does reap rewards. Be encouraged, it does get easier as you get into the habit.
Most people will benefit from having a "personal study space" where they will not be interrupted every few minutes by external noise. This is not always possible - but you may be able to enlist the help of parents (or a relative) to ensure that you have a relatively quiet place to study. You may be able to make use of the school's after-school homework clubs - or the library.
You may find it useful to form a small study group with several friends - although you need to be careful that this does not become simply a "gossip-shop" or "party". If you are disciplined enough, working with others can be really beneficial. You can help each other over difficulties. You can share the workload. You can "test" each other (in a competitive but friendly way). One of the best ways to learn is to teach others - so this is a really useful approach.
Bearing in mind that the average intelligent adult can concentrate (at best) for about half an hour at a time, you should try to organise your study time into short blocks. At the end of each block you could either take a brief break (5 minutes) or simply change activities. It is quite a good idea to alternate between 2 (or even 3) subjects so that your interest level is maintained.
During the break you could do something physical, make a cup of coffee, make someone else a cup of coffee or phone a friend (for a few minutes - not half the night!).
Although it may sound a strange idea, you should try to ensure that you enjoy learning. Set yourself sensible amounts. Reward yourself for achieving your targets. Quit while you're winning. (Don't grind yourself into the ground labouring over something you don't understand - but finish on a "high", having achieved something satisfying.)
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