Where to begin…
Picture the scene: you’re sitting down at a desk with all the equipment and books needed for studying. Any distracting devices have been placed away from arm’s reach, perhaps an ambient music playlist in the background. Essentially, the circumstances are perfect for a productive revision session. Where do you start? Without a clear plan, procrastination can set in and suddenly you’re tidying the bedroom a third time. So, how can you revise effectively?
As much as we’d like to, you cannot learn an entire syllabus in one afternoon. Imagine trying to eat an entire pizza in one go. Unless you are superhuman, we’re going to have to cut them into more manageable slices. Find an amount of time that works for you and organise a revision schedule with your tutor. Break this down into subjects, topics and even specific chapters if necessary – as long as you can squeeze everything in. This provides a clear direction for when you begin sessions that won’t be hazardous to your health.
If you’ve been staring at the same screen for too long, you might not be retaining any new pieces of information. What’s worse is that all of your notes have combined into one illegible block too. Fear not, as a mind map may be the solution to your revision issue. By using A3 paper or software such as Coggle, you can visually display your notes in a colourful fashion. Place the important topic in the centre and draw branches coming off with valuable answers or tidbits. Mind maps can be also used in the planning stages, highlighting what you need to learn and know already. Plus, they make a great addition to your wall, so you won’t forget that formula again.
Preparing your time during sessions is as important as planning your weekly schedule. The examination period is a stressful time overall, meaning we are more susceptible to burnout. Therefore, using up all of our energy overworking on the first day will set us up for failure later that week. Introducing the Pomodoro technique, where you deeply focus for 25 minutes before taking a 5-minute break. Finding inspiration from a tomato kitchen timer, creator Francesco Cirillo deduced regular interval breaks helped maintain consistent productivity. Using Pomofocus.io, make time for a screen break and do some stretches.
Another way to take a screen break whilst continuing to revise is by making flash cards. Alongside taking notes, write down important formulas and definitions onto a card, and include a title on the reverse. Rewriting information concisely builds your grasp on a topic, which is further improved by reciting it out loud. Now you have a memory device where your tutor can challenge how well you remember crucial pieces of information. Add images for a stylish flair and create a fun matching game for a boost in creativity.
These four techniques are proven methods for an effective revision strategy. However, there are many to choose from (including one of our previous articles on how to review for your exams), so it’s about finding the right strategy for you. Test them out, see which combination works best and enjoy your time revising!