Last week was the official revision week here in the UK and from Monday 4th of May onwards, exams start. For a lot of young students today their experience of learning has so far been quite negative. Revision week is an opportunity for students to take their learning into their own hands! Here are 5 ways to improve your revision skills.
1. Find Out What Type of Learner You Are
This one is overlooked by most people (and schools!). They will assume to not be good at something when most likely they have been taught using a method that doesn’t apply to their learning strengths. We recommend taking the VARK Questionnaire online. It’s quick, simple and will tell you what type of learner you are. Also, it provides examples of the best methods of revision for your learning type, win win!
2. Mind Maps
This concept is useful for all different types of learners. It gives our brains the freedom to build on ideas and create our own input. When I was studying for my GCSE’s I found this process extremely useful, it was much easier to recall the information that I had created and simplified into shorter words or phrases! To see more about Mind Mapping click here.
3. Condensing Your Notes
It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed at the sheer amount of notes that you have accumulated over years of being at school. I recommend re-creating your own using textbooks, condensing the information down into a manageable size. The textbook will cover the main topics and use images and bullet points to help you. At this point it is crucial to know what type of learner you are because this will determine the type of notes you create for yourself. Whether you need to write them down, use images, talk it through with someone or take a more pragmatic approach.
4. Time Management
Most people when starting to revise begin by making the most beautiful and elaborate revision time-table assigning time in their day to certain subjects. In my experience these time tables almost never work because one thing hasn’t been accounted for- life. Sometimes life gets in the way and we can’t do something we have planned and we need the flexibility to reschedule. This can upset the time-table and make you think that creating it was a waste of time (which it was). The best way to manage your time is on the day. Write a list of your subjects and on the day decide which one you will spend some time on and how much time you might need. Some subjects may need more of your attention than others. Tick them off your list once you have gone over them so that you can keep track of what you have covered so far.
Top tip- Start with a very small and realistic amount of time so as not to overwhelm yourself, such as 15-20minutes then take a break! It’s better to start small than to risk feeling overwhelmed.
During exam time everyone seems to forget that there is a world outside of revision. Just because you are in a period when you could be revising does not mean that it should consume every moment of your waking life until exams are over. When I was revising I heard so much of “I can’t come out, I have to revise” from my friends which probably made all of us feel quite isolated and added stress to the situation. I believe that during revision week it’s important to schedule in some down time for fun and relaxation so that when you ARE studying you’re well rested and feeling at your best.
Top tip- Reward yourself! For example after completing one hour of quality revision allow some time to watch TV, go outside for a bit or grab a hot drink, whatever it is you enjoy doing.
All in all, remember to keep calm. Exams are important but they are not worth risking your mental and physical health over; it’s much more important to find the balance that allows you to revise effectively and still enjoy yourself at the same time, after all you’re only young once!