So… It’s coming around to that time of year again. Exam stress is building, and you can never have too much advice on how to best revise. So here are my tips and techniques that have served me well since GCSEs. I hope they prove just as effective for you!
- Flash cards have been my best friend for a very, very long time. I never found looking at endless pieces of paper very helpful, and the day my sister introduced me to the cue card was beyond relieving. Who knew that little rectangular pieces of card could be so lifesaving? All you’ve gotta do is split your main topic into loads of little sub-topics, and assign a card to each. Write the name of the sub-heading on the front, write a few quick-facts or trigger words on the back, and voila. Someone flashes you the front of the card, and you recite what’s on the back, until you’ve got it down to a T. Lifesaving.
- Colours are thought-provoking. Not only does writing in pretty colours make endless hours of revision slightly more enjoyable, but if you assign a certain colour to a certain topic, your brain will start making links. Apparently. I’m not a psychology student. But, personally, I always use colours. When you get to that point in the exam when you think you’ve forgotten everything on a certain topic, just remember the colour, and I swear you’ll start remembering things. It’s like magic. Colour is key.
- Breaks are so important. I know that when it comes to revision, so many people feel like it should consume all your time and all your days up until the exam. But that’s not good for anyone. 15-20 hours a week seems to be the average, so that’s about 2.8 hours per day, max. And you know what? You can even take a day off. Take two days off, take three, take as many as you need, because the last thing anyone needs before exam season is that overwhelming feeling of stress. Do not let revision take over your life, it’s not healthy.
- Little and often is better than binging every other week. 2.8 hours a day sounds doable, right? It’s not excessive, and its still enough time to swot up on that one thing that’s been vexing you all term. What’s not great is pulling an all-nighter, and doing 18 hours straight before hiding your notes away for a month. I swear, after the fourth hour, information stops going in. You’re just doing it for the sake of saying you’ve done it. Little and often guys, I swear it works.
- Give yourself a good month to get some proper revision in. Sounds lame, I know, who wants to spend their spare time revising if the exam is a month away? But honestly, starting early pays off. If you leave it too long, it’ll be two days before your exam and you’ll be panicking because you just can’t remember who directed Xala. I know it’s boring and tedious, but trust me, it’ll pay off.