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Top 10 Revision Tips

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My Top 10 Revision Tips

Posted on: 21/05/2019 | Written by: Harry Clueit, Student Ambassador from University of Liverpool

From an early age, we are taught to work hard and revise in order to be successful in exams. However, revision is not just about the time we put in. It is also about finding the revision methods that are most effective for us.

As end of year exams rapidly approach, I thought I’d share my own personal tips for successful revision.

1. Get the right resources – Before diving head first into a mountain of lecture notes, it is important to plan. Think about which sources of information you could use. Don’t just rely on lecture presentations, also use textbooks and online resources such as MindTap. Having the different perspectives of multiple authors will help you understand complex ideas and theories more deeply so that they are easier to apply in the exam.

2.  Time management – Let’s face it, revision can be tedious and stressful. A simple way to ease the pain is sticking to a revision timetable. Experts say that 20-30-minute periods are optimal for revision, however we all know our own capacity for concentration so choose time periods best suited for you. I prefer to set manageable goals, for example completing a chapter of a textbook, rather than focusing on time periods. It is also important to take regular breaks and give yourself rewards (usually food-related for me) to keep you focused on achieving those goals. The StudyHub feature in MindTap is really useful for creating personalised study guides and tracking your progress to make sure you hit your targets.

3.  Be creative – I consider myself to be a visual learner. This means I find it easier to retain information if I have a mental picture of what I am trying to remember. Mind-maps are diagrams which creatively organise information. They are an excellent way of condensing information into more digestible chunks. When I use colours and pictures, I find it easier to visualise the information in exams. Another technique is to use acronyms, rhymes or mnemonics. For example, we should all remember the one for ordering the planets: My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas. I often find that the funnier the mnemonic, the easy it is to trigger my memory in the exam.

4.  Practice makes perfect – A vital way to consolidate information is to practice questions. It is important to do both “test yourself” questions in a textbook and past exam papers. Once you have attempted the questions, it is also useful to pay close attention to the mark schemes and the examiner’s answers, as these pinpoint the style and the areas of study the examiners are looking for. The test-yourself questions on MindTap are excellent as they provide instant feedback all in one place.

5.  Keep notes short and sweet It is much easier to remember clear and concise notes rather than long paragraphs. A good way to consolidate information is to write out summary sections to make sure you can memorise the core principles. The flashcard feature on MindTap provides definitions for the key terms contained in the text, and the highlighting tool makes it easy to identify important points.

Harry Clueit
Student at University of Liverpool

6.    Vary location – During revision periods, it can feel as though you are chained to your desk and your room is like a prison. To stay refreshed, it can be good to do revision elsewhere, for example, in a park where you can make the most of the fresh air, or in the library where being surrounded by other motivated students can spur you on to keep going.

7.    Be sociable – Group study sessions with course-mates can be really helpful. Bouncing ideas off others and gathering different perspectives is useful for understanding the content. I find if I try to teach someone the topic I have just learnt and relay the information in my own words, it helps my memory retention. Even something as simple as messaging your friends to see how they are getting on with revision can spur you on – nothing makes you feel more positive about how you are doing than finding out how far behind your course mates are!

8.   Hints around the room – Use post-it notes and prompts and put them in places you will see all the time, such as on the fridge, a mirror or even the ceiling. Every time you brush your teeth or lie in bed, you will see the prompts and the repetition will help the information sink in.

9.   Get enough sleep – Like most students, I am guilty of panicked night-before cramming, which can make you tired and sluggish in the exam. Try to get at least eight hours of sleep to ensure you feel refreshed and energised for revision.

10.  Stay positive – Although revision can be painful, just remember that it is only temporary. You can only do your best so try not to panic and stick to your goals and timetables.

I hope some of these points help to make revision periods less excruciating. Striking a balance between revision and life outside of your studies is crucial; and remember that you get out of revision what you put into it, so stay positive, stay focused and you will succeed. Good luck!