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Revision tips for those dreaded exams

Student Life

We all know the struggle is real when it comes to finding the motivation to do revision. Suddenly everything else seems more important, from catching up with an old friend to finally getting around to clearing out your wardrobe. But adding in some solid revision time can really bump up those crucial grades, so put the phone down, stop tidying, and do the work.  

Get yourself organised

You don’t want to spend half your time switching between subjects and end up realising that you’ve memorised every page of your History textbook but haven’t even glanced at your French vocab. Buy a planner or calendar, create a timetable, set yourself mini-deadlines. Plan the order in which you’ll study your subjects, and stick to it. Discipline is just as important as planning, and having clear goals in mind will help with keep you focused and on track.

It doesn’t have to be pretty, it just has to work

Yes, you should dedicate some time at the beginning of getting everything organised. Yes, your notes should be legible and can include visual aids like mind maps. But this doesn’t mean spending ages making your notes look pretty, and highlighting everything in sight. Don’t kid yourself – you are just wasting time. Limit yourself to 2 or 3 colours for when you actually need to highlight something, and otherwise try to remember that the content of your notes is infinitely more important than making them Instagram worthy #RevisionTime #LoveMyHighlighters

Find a good work environment

It may seem obvious, but make sure that you’re considering where you are working too. You might think that being at home where your mum can cook your meals and do your washing will be the best place to revise, but have you considered that your little sister will also be there wanting your attention and that the dog will constantly be whining at your feet? Make sure that your revision space is distraction-free, has enough light, and some windows to let air in to stop you feeling drowsy. Everyone works best in different environments, so you might only be able to concentrate in absolute silence, whereas others might work better with background music blocking any other distractions. Find what works best for you.

Put your phone down

The first step is admitting you have a problem. Say it out loud: “I am a student, and I am addicted to social media”. It’s so tempting to give yourself a five-minute break on Facebook or Instagram, but we all know that those five minutes will spiral into three hours scrolling through your newsfeed. Download an app like Cold Turkey or if you have an iPhone, Apple recently launched a new feature where you can monitor your screen time and disable access to certain apps at certain times of the day #SavingPhoneAddictionsSince2018

Make yourself laugh

Is there one section of your notes that you just can’t remember, no matter how many times you read it over? Experts advise reading it out loud in a funny accent to jog your memory! Others have suggested writing notes in unusual fonts which are more likely to stick in your mind. Whatever funny tactic works for you, doing something silly and memorable with those trickier sections will give you something to remember them by when you’re sat in the exam.

Take a break

This does not mean you should take an hour-long break after each chapter. You don’t want to interrupt your focus or waste time, but it’s also important to give your mind a break so that your concentration doesn’t completely disappear. It’s recommended to take a 10-minute break once an hour. Try and time these breaks between revision topics if possible, as this can help to keep the subjects separate in your head – and stops you going insane!

Partner up

Team up with some study buddies! Obviously, this comes with the danger of your study session devolving into a few hours of gossiping instead, so make sure you stay focused. If you can manage to keep working, however, explaining something to someone else is one of the best ways to test if you really understand it.

Keep drinking

H2O, H2O! Staying hydrated is essential as it keeps your brain working and stops you from falling asleep. Make sure you keep a bottle of water next to you when you’re revising so that you don’t have to constantly stop and nip to the kitchen. Try and stay away from too many fizzy drinks as the sugar will give you a buzz, and then a crash!

Treat yo’self

Give yourself regular incentives during revision periods, not just at the end of all your exams. You need little treats along the way to keep you going, such as chocolate or whatever else you may like to treat yourself with. Remember to maintain a good balance between work and play; social responsibilities can be demanding, so save the nights out for the weekend after you've finished your revision and then you can be hungover in peace.

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