Have you got an effective revision strategy?
The revision phase can prove very stressful for many students, especially those facing their first set of exams for some years. An effective revision strategy can make the whole process easier and more effective – here are some ideas.
To revise effectively you need peace and quiet, good lighting, and sufficient space to spread your notes and materials around you – and ideally to be able to leave them there in between revision sessions. Talk to friends and family to make sure you are not disturbed when revising, and also make sure they understand that your social life has to take second place while you revise.
As with any major project, breaking revision down into realistic stages makes it much more manageable and less frightening.
Use a revision timetable to plan when to study which subjects, factoring in essential work or family commitments. Remember, not every topic may need an equal amount of revision – if time is precious, focus on those areas needing most attention.
Use a variety of techniques when you revise, and identify those which work particularly well for you. Re-reading study texts is essential, but this type of passive approach to revision is often the least productive. Active revision – getting involved in the material – is often much more effective.
At its simplest, this may mean underlining key words in your study text, but it can also mean colour coding different information, using diagrams to represent key concepts, creating revision cards, and using online and other resources and to help add variety to your revision schedule.
Revision need not take place at your desk – if your daily routine includes a journey to work, or you still make regular trips to the gym for example, then use this time to revise.
Revision notes can be easily read on a journey, or you can listen to revision tapes and podcasts while walking, travelling or exercising.
During this final stage, many students give up all their social life, and time spent with family and friends, in order to revise, especially those balancing work and study.
But if you work too hard, you will tire more easily and study less effectively. Free time is important – it’s a way to recharge your batteries and clear your mind, so build in plenty of opportunities for some fresh air or a change of scene. And you can also use free time as an incentive to get you through your planned revision session.