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11 highly effective revision tips

1. Plan

Timetable and plan your revision, it really is the only way to avoid becoming unnecessary overwhelmed.

2. Stay focused

Do not revise for more than 40-45 minutes at a time – it is important to continually refresh yourself so that you avoid going into ‘autopilot’ and not actually processing the information you are reading. The only exception to this timing rule is during the completion of past papers. Completing questions and revising subject content are completely different revision methods, so the same approach will not necessarily work for both. If you are using past papers as a form of revision you should try to complete the entire paper in the recommended time and not stop after 45 minutes.

3. Pace yourself

Do not start past paper questions too early. It is a common misconception that past papers are the most useful form of revision, now this may be the case for some subjects – for example mathematics. However, for the majority of your courses, without the background knowledge required to understand the topic completing past paper questions can actually cause more stress and confusion. Learn your content first and save the past papers until later.

4. Go outside

Who doesn’t love sunshine! Make sure you are getting natural sunlight for some time each day. Vitamin D is vital for your bone health, blood cells and immune system and just heading out in the sunshine for 5-15 minutes per day can significantly improve not only your physical but also your metal health.

5. Keep hydrated

Drink lots of water. Whatever volume of water you are currently consuming per day try to add an extra litre. Your brain will be eternally grateful.

6. Choose a method that suits you

Find a revision method you enjoy- if writing copious amounts of notes on multicoloured card is not a method of revision you enjoy, don’t do it! It is easy to find ourselves falling into the trap of writing pages and pages of notes because that is what everyone else is doing, but you are not everyone else. Maybe note taking works for you, maybe it just doesn’t, if so find a different method that you enjoy. Try reading through the material from the textbook, keep a notepad next to you and write questions for yourself as you go, definitions, explanations, experiment methods etc. Once you have finished reading the page or section go through your questions and see which ones you can/cannot answer. Maybe type your answers creating a document of ‘perfect answers’ that you can later ask a family member to test you on. Alternatively, you could make your own presentation on each topic, create definition cards or watch relevant, accurate and verified YouTube videos. Try a few things and see what really works for you – if you persevere you might even start to enjoy it!

7. Avoid distractions

Study effectively – Put your phone on airplane mode and don’t have apps running in the background. It does not take a genius to work out that having a little screen just teetering on the edge of your peripheral vision is a guaranteed distraction – no matter how strong your will power is. Be mature. Remove the temptation. Your time is precious – DO NOT WASTE IT.

8. Environment matters

Tidy your desk or revision space and remove distractions – a tidy space is a tidy mind!

9. Keep active whilst revising

Take your revision outside – Go for a walk with a friend and talk about your topic, ask each other questions, describe theories, discuss character profiles, test your knowledge of equations, units, core practicals etc. I attribute many of my top grades to this revision method so don’t knock it until you have tried it!

10. Plan topics in advance

Do not leave the most difficult topics to last, gradually divide them throughout your whole revision period.

11. Don’t overload yourself

Do not study all day everyday – effectively plan your revision so that you have enough free time to feel as though you are actually taking a break. Perhaps divide your revision into zones of morning, afternoon and evening and aim to revise during two of these zones – for example if you have plans for the evening revise during the morning and afternoon so you can take the evening off and not feel guilty.


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