Updated: May 18, 2020
1). Make a plan.
When revising for upcoming exams, there will be multiple topics you’ll need to cover, or you might be revising to sit multiple exams at once. Start your revision journey by listing the subjects and topics that you need to revise, and the amount of time you want to spend revisiting each area. When you know how long you need to spend revising, you can put together a revision timetable with time dedicated to each topic, plus some extra time for anything that takes longer than you thought it might. This should help you keep your revision on track, but don’t beat yourself up too much if something takes longer than you thought it would!
2). Allow your brain to do the best work it can do.
When you’re revising, your brain is working overtime to remember all the information you’re putting into it! It will do this best if you look after it – make sure to get at least eight hours of sleep a night, eat healthily, exercise, and stay hydrated! It will improve your memory, and you’ll feel better, meaning you’re more likely to be able to stay motivated to revise.
When you’re revising, you’re more likely to remember a topic that you’re studying if you can practice the topic. This can be through working with a tutor, getting friends or family to quiz you on the subject, or answering questions about the topic you’re revising. You should also practice in exam conditions so you’re ready to answer the questions once you’re sitting the exam! This might mean practicing with a time limit, practicing without access to your notes, or both. Remember that past papers can be a great source of practice questions, but if there aren’t enough practice papers you can make your own questions based on previous homework. Make sure you spread out your practice and celebrate your progress!
4). Find a quiet space to revise.
It’ll be easier for you to revise if you’re working in a nice environment. Make sure your revision space is quiet and tidy; it’s harder to concentrate in a cluttered and loud environment. It’s important that there are no distractions while you’re studying so think about where you can study in a quiet space – perhaps your bedroom or a library? It’ll also be easier to revise if you make sure you have everything you need in one place before you start, so before you start a revision session, gather together your notes, notepad, pencil-case, and anything else you might want to revise with.
5). Start a revision session with a recap of what you already know.
When you begin a revision session for a specific topic, start by re-visiting what you already know about it. This could be writing out facts in a mind map, writing bullet points, or writing a list of question types and facts you already feel comfortable with. Writing out everything you can remember about the topic and then comparing it to what you’re trying to learn will show you where the gaps in your knowledge are currently. You can then focus your revision on filling these gaps.
6). Make summary sheets.
When you’ve finished revising a topic, go back through the information and select key points to put on a summary sheet. Deciding what parts of the information you’ve learned is most important allows you to prioritize the information you need to remember, and makes sure your revision is efficient. Making a summary sheet also allows you to review the revision session closer to the exam to make sure the key facts are in the front of your mind right before your exam. Looking over all the summary sheets you’ve made can be a helpful use of your time the day before the exam.
7). Reward yourself – take breaks.
It can be difficult to stay motivated when you’re revising, so make sure you give yourself breaks. This encourages you to stay motivated throughout the day. You can decide how often and how regularly you want to take breaks, but the important thing is that you stick to this. If you decide to take a fifteen minute break, make sure you time yourself and don’t get distracted and take a longer break! These breaks can also be a good opportunity to do some stretches or exercise, because if you’re revising for a long time it can be easy to sit still for a while, and it’s important to remember to move around!
8). Quiz yourself.
A good way to find out how much of your revision you’ve remembered is to quiz yourself at the end of a revision session. Any questions on the topic you’ve revised that you get wrong can be written down to come back to the next time you revise. The important thing is to use this as a way of measuring where the gaps in your knowledge are, so you can revisit these areas before the exam.
9). Put up your revision notes around the house.
When you make a list of key points, stick these lists up around your house. This lets you have a quick reminder every time you see the key points, and this will help you keep the information in the front of your mind. This can be extra effective if you include questions on the sheet so you have to actively remember the answer each time you see your summary sheet. You can then write the answer to the question on the back of the sheet so you know if you’ve remembered the key point correctly!
10). Start early.
Starting your revision weeks before the exam can reduce your stress, and you're more likely to remember the information if you can test yourself on it regularly for a longer period of time. Starting your revision earlier can also mean you have the freedom to revise in shorter sessions because you have the time to spread out the material you need to learn over several days.