There are many differing views as to what makes for good revision. Here are some thoughts on how to make your revision more productive:
- It is not the quantity of revision that you do that is important but more the quality of what you do.
- Revise in short bursts. The latter stages of a long stint of revision are usually not very productive. When your mind starts to wander it is probably a good time to stop.
- Set out a revision schedule. Don’t just set a time aside for a complete subject; be specific about which aspect of the subject you are going to revise, e.g. Monday 10th History – Transport. Try to be as rigid with your revision schedule as you will have to be with your examination schedule.
Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic Revision Strategies
- Create a story using pictures.
- ‘Look, Cover, Write, Check’ with lists and
- Minimize visual distractions in your study space (eg. cover your computer screen; do not sit facing a window).
- Make an outline of key topics in chart or diagram format.
- Make pictures in your mind by visualising key words, ideas and facts.
- Look for sketches, diagrams, or charts to help interpret information – practice re-drawing them to help remember
Write down problems and/or questions and practice writing solutions and/or responses.
- Try to remember important terminology by looking for parts of the word you already know.
Make notes colourful, vary the font and use graphics.
Highlight notes so all information relating to one topic is in the same colour category.
- Draw boxes or circles around terms/ concepts and draw lines or arrows to show how they are related to one another.
- Learn when and how to translate text into charts, graphs, such as make a time-line from dates, or draw percentages or statistical information in a pie chart.
- Turn notes into bullet points, highlight key words, keep shortening them until you have one word which will trigger your memory for each point.
- Draw Mind Maps, Spider Diagrams, or Concept Maps for topics to show how the main ideas link together.
- Write out key words and definitions on flash cards. Colour code them. Get someone to test you.
- Turn your notes into pictures or diagrams such as flow charts
Use websites e.g. BBC bitesize.
- Learning posters – put key information on small posters. Use patterns, colour and drawings. Pin them up where you’ll see them often.
- Try to create a guided visualisation for other members of your group – try it out on them.
Get your working environment right. Here are some helpful tips:
- Avoid noise; nature has designed it to be noticed.
- Have all your needs nearby. It is too much of a temptation to interrupt your work to go and get something.
- Insist on your own space; then you can work in the way that is best suited to you
- Avoid last-minute revision. This can clutter the mind and cause anxiety.
Don’t stick your head in a book and try to cram information into it in the hope that it might stick. Try to reproduce it on paper minus the book; after all, that is the way you will have to present information in the majority of exams. It has been clearly shown that if you write information down as well as look at it, the learning is more effective. Other methods of revising include creating word patterns, diagrams, pictures, lists, flowcharts.
Use other human resources. Work with a friend and get them to question you. It is far easier to cheat yourself than someone else. If you can find someone who is doing the same exam as you this can be invaluable as both can benefit from this type of revision. When all else fails, ask a parent!