10 Things You Can Do That Actually Will Help Make Revising So Much Easier
We all recognise that feeling of dread when exam season hits. The bewilderment of where to begin. The dread that you’ll never be able to fit all of this information into your head. Well, here are 10 things you can do that, speaking as someone who went through it all and graduated at the other end, I promise will help you make revising just that little less painful.
1. Make a revision timetable.
So you’ve probably heard this one before at least a hundred times, but there is reason for this – because it helps! Managing your time effectively will let you know what you’re studying and when. Sure, it will take a little time to put it all together, but this little bit of effort at the beginning means you aren’t wasting valuable time further down the line deciding what to study. Make sure to plan your timetable around when your exams are, so you spend a good amount of time on material for each exam. Of course, this does depend on the weighting of each exam – you wouldn’t spend the same amount of time preparing for an exam that is worth 40% of a module compared to an exam worth 80% of a module. Use your common sense to prepare and you are setting yourself up for success!
2. Find an appropriate study spot.
Again, common sense prevails. Find a spot you’re happy in and where you are unlikely to be disturbed, so on the sofa in the living room with friends or parents and siblings rallying around isn’t exactly ideal! If you like the library go for it – although in my experience, you’ll have to be up at the crack of dawn to get a good spot!
3. Make time for yourself.
This is where your revision timetable comes in. As well as factoring in enough time to get through all of your revision, you also need to factor in time for yourself. Let’s face it, procrastination will take over if you just have revision, revision, revision all day every day for 6 weeks! Whether it’s going out for a walk for half an hour every night, factoring in time for a coffee with a friend to stress together – downtime is vital. Just make sure you don’t have more downtime than revision in your timetable!
4. Fuel your body and your mind.
I don’t just mean eat healthy things like bananas and other fruit and veg, although that is very important. I’m talking about getting enough sleep. Getting a decent night’s sleep consistently is important so you feel refreshed for the day (and revision ahead). Sleeping helps your brain to process all the information you have taken in that day. So aim to get a decent 8 hours sleep each night and let your brain process away!
5. Vary your revision techniques to keep it fresh.
A mix of revision techniques helps to keep things interesting for you AND your brain. There will always be one or two revision styles that you prefer, so definitely stick with those. But sometimes doing ANOTHER mind map just seems tedious and boring and your brain switches off. Switch it up with revision cards or start sticking diagrams on your walls. Record yourself and listen back to it (if you don’t mind the cringe-factor!). A variety of techniques can be beneficial for some people!
6. But don’t continue with techniques that aren’t working for you.
Variety is the spice of life, but if you have one technique that works and that you love (perhaps tolerate is a better word) then stick with it. If you’ve tried varying it up and it’s just not working, stay true to what you know works. Everyone is different and everyone knows what works best for them.
7. Q&A with friends.
Being social doesn’t have to mean no revision! Getting together with a few course mates or friends to question and test each other can actually be a good revision technique. Not only can it highlight areas you need to do more work on, but explaining something to someone else helps you understand it even more ad fix it securely in your brain!
8. Practice answering some exam style questions.
I know, it sounds a bit like something you’d have done at school, but it’s actually helpful and it’s surprising how many people don’t bother with it anymore. By answering these types of questions you become more familiar with the layout of the exam paper and the style of questioning. Therefore, when the actual exam is in front of you, it won’t seem so daunting. Looking at the mark schemes will also help you to pick out what the examiner is looking for in a top level answer.
9. Time yourself under exam conditions.
Practise your exam questions under timed conditions. Again, this helps you to familiarise yourself with exam conditions, so it’s not so daunting when the real thing comes along. Plus, it lets you know exactly how much you can write in “x” amount of time.
10. And finally, try to avoid all-nighters if you can.
Look, I’m not saying never do them, but try not to, especially the night before an exam! You need to properly prepare your body for the day ahead, which will involve a stressful situation (an exam). So make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep to keep your brain on top form! If you want to do one, it should be on your terms, not a last resort.