I have survived school (GCSEs and A Levels) and one and half years of university (ish), so I would like to think I can give some decent advice when it comes to revision. However, everybody’s different and this means we all learn differently so what could work for me may be useless for you – don’t feel that you HAVE to do any of these, they’re just some things that have got me through those icky study periods.
START MAKING NOTES EARLY ON
For most of my exams (we’re talking GCSEs A levels and University) I have written my notes out early on in the term. I come home and write what I learned that day and that way it’s out of the way and you’ve gone over it at the same time. Two birds one stone right? I am also a bit of a perfectionist (when I say a bit I mean hours can go by and I still won’t think it’s neat enough) so starting early gives me time to be fussy and obsessive with colour coding and highlighting. I’ve definitely learned from leaving my notes until last minute and I would waste so much time making them look pretty that I barely had time to learn them! I like to use these packs of revision cards for all of my notes!
REMOVE PHONE/LAPTOP/TABLETS ETC NO TV OR MUSIC
I know this is such an obvious one but it’s true. I remember scowling as my parents and teachers lectured my year group about putting phones away but my God it makes a difference. I’m so much more productive without constant reminders that so and so favourited a tweet or that someone’s typing on snapchat – you’d have thought I didn’t need to figure this one out the hard way but hey ho. If you like to study with music, I would definitely recommend listening to instrumentals or music without actual lyrics because I have found myself writing down the lyrics to Thinking Out Loud as opposed to Freud’s Oedipus Complex, so cheers Ed, but not right now pal.
I started using these last year as the amount I had to learn for first year was HUGE. I made maps on my wall using sticky notes and colour coded them to make it clear where everything was. I found this super helpful for learning dates! In the exam I was able to visualise the map and so the facts were easy for me to remember as I could still see them in my head! I love to use these post-it notes for my revision!
LEARNING IN CATEGORIES
With most of my modules or subjects there’s lots of tiny topics within these and sometimes it can be overwhelming when trying to get it all down and in one place. I recommend grabbing some small clear plastic wallets, (I use these) and using one per subject, that way everything is in sections and is organised. I find this really helps with making things easier to learn in chunks rather than as a huge great big pile of information.
I learn from colour and I always have done, I’m not sure why but that seems to be how I work. I tend to colour code certain things, for example if I’m learning a theory, I will write it all in blue and then a different theory in red. This way, it seems clear to me what is associated with what and this stops me getting things muddled in exams which can be easily done if you’re stressed or panicking. I use a variety of pens but my favourites are the Maped Assorted Fineliners, Staedler Fineliners and Crayola Supertips!
I remember when I thought revising meant writing the whole page out from a textbook. DON’T DO THIS! It wastes so much time, you won’t be able to take it all in and it’s more than likely you only need a fraction of it actually written down. This is where highlighters come in super handy. You can write as much as you need to and still highlight the key points so they stand out to you on the page. I personally like to use the Stabilo Boss Original Highlighters and also their pastel range of highlighters.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF ANYONE NOT DOING ANYTHING – PARENTS/FLATMATES/BROTHERS/SISTERS/ANYONE
Last year I was in a flat of 6 people so I was asking everyone to test me which helped loads. I also absolutely rinsed my dad during my study weeks. We would sit down for hours going over the same stuff to the point where he knew it too so he could help me revise. I would learn some of my revision cards and then give them to him to ask me about. This helped so much and we wouldn’t give up until I knew everything.
I love using these to decorate my work, bullet journal and scrapbook pages. They’re so cheap and easy to get hold of too. I tend to buy mine from Etsy or Amazon but I’ve found a few in craft shops and stationery shops too! I included some of them in my January favourites, so check that out here! There’s also a photo (scroll up) where you can see I’ve put tape at the top of my revision cards. I find this helps with colour coding everything and keeping this organised as well as making it all look nice too!
I honestly didn’t think much of this until last year. The difference in my productivity and motivation between when I was binging on snacks and crisps and eating proper meals everyday was HUGE. I was able to concentrate for longer and I didn’t crave any snacks. I also noticed that I lost weight too and became far more in shape as I wasn’t snacking at all.
Did you find these tips helpful? What helps you with revision? Let me know in the comments! I hope this post helped some of you that are preparing for exams, I know I will be working hard over the next few months as exams are fast approaching (no thanks). If any of you have exams soon, good luck and let me know how they went!