Saturday, 15 April 2017

Revision Tips...


The other day I was catching up with Jade from SimplyJadey, and she got talking about her upcoming GCSEs. Revision and exam time has come round again so so quickly, but uni exams are definitely very different so I feel a little more free than the me that was sitting exams the last 4 year.

Having got through all my secondary exams, GCSEs, AS and A-levels and achieving some pretty stellar grades if I do say so myself, I feel like I can impart a little wisdom on the revision game. Lets get this straight, I hate revision, but after what feels like a lifetime of academics and exams, I think I've become pretty good at it. When you go into GCSE years or even A-Levels, I feel like the hardest thing is knowing how to revise or where to start when you've got so so much content in front of you. I feel your pain, I know these struggles. Here are some tips from a seasoned student..

1. Work Outside Of Your Bedroom

This is only something I learnt while doing my A-Levels but it's a game changer. Working outside of your bedroom and setting up a little study station in your kitchen or dining room leaves your bedroom as your space, and keeps that space free from stress. It's important to not let revision become all consuming and seep into every aspect of your life, and keeping my bedroom as a largely study-free zone really helped me. Also, your bedroom is likely to be the most distracting room with your phone and laptop etc etc, and you're hidden away upstairs where no one can comment on your lack of productivity. Working in a more public space helps rid of distractions, but also puts a bit more pressure on to actually be productive. Working in a cafe also helps for this, if you wanna look productive, you're gonna actually be productive. So work somewhere more open, less distracting.

Also! work at a desk or table, working in bed is setting you up for failure. For me, my space has a lot to do with my mind-set and motivation, so working in a lazy environment like bed won't make you feel as motivated.

2. Start Logically

When I start revising I always follow the same structure; work through the content from start to finish a section at a time, then begin to revise based on the exam and in theme groups. 

I think working through all the content is vital because you're not going to feel as strong on subject you learnt a year ago, but you also still need to re-visit stuff you've just learnt. Exam board like to test you, so little nuances of your course like the very start and very end are super important because they might decide to test that your teacher has taught the entire syllabus. This tip is also good for time management, as if you work through it all from start to finish, you know you've revisited everything. Then with any more time you have, you can start to revise for the specific exam questions and look at practise questions or theme groups etc. If you're doing history this is key! Revising start to finish is amaazing for helping you learn your chronology. 

History specific- When I did my A-levels, I gradually drew out a HUGE timeline as I revised. I would revise a section of the course, then before finishing I'd draw out all the events onto my timeline, trying to do as much from memory as possible. It was super super helpful as it's not only immediate revision, but is a good resource to look over before your exam to help with dates.

3. Start Early

Slow and steady most definitely wins the revision race. My technique has always been to start revision ahead of time like two/three months before exam time but do less revision per day. If you start early you're guaranteed to cover everything you need to and have extra time to get more help from teachers or go over things again, also it means you don't have to work for hours each day and you avoid ultimate week-before exam stress. It's proven that your brain remembers things if it learns them again and again over an extended period, so starting early, having more time to look over things and begin less stressed creates the best conditions for your brain to soak up the most knowledge.

4. Schedule, Schedule, Schedule

Teachers will be blasting it at you but MAKE. A. REVISION. TIMETABLE. Scheduling when you're going to revise, what you're going to revise and for how long, as well has having other plans written down and visualised helps avoid either procrastination by not knowing what to revise, or over working by not knowing when to stop. Making a timetable that works around your plans and says exactly what you're going to revise means you can physically tick things off and know you've covered them which is great for motivation. Also the reward of completing the scheduled block and being able to be like 'yeah I've worked for an hour now I'll do this' is sooooo satisfying like go you, you did it. 

Theorganisedstudent has loads of amazing revision planning and study resources that you can just print out and fill in. I've been using these for years and still use them now. V V V much recommend. Or just get yourself a little whiteboard that you can write your schedule on so you don't have to spend aaagges every week making a new one.


5. Make a 10/10 Playlist

Soundtrack is vital. But you really have to find what works for you.

The dream revision playlist, for me, is something I don't want to skip, something that isn't distracting with power sing-alongs, something not too loud or heavy. I find working to soundtracks so so easy, like movie scores and instrumentals. They're great as they make amazing background music and you don't have the distraction of wanting to belt out the lyrics, and they're all super non-offensive so you're unlikely to skip any. 

I made the ultimate revision sound tracks last year, so here's a couple for your study needs. Find what works for you-



Easy-listening, softer songs with some bangers.



Just movie scores.

6. Don't Burn Yourself Out

Overworking and making yourself super stressed and obsessed with working will make all your revision pointless. For effective studying, you've gotta be chill and work in short blocks of like an hour/an hour and a half tops. Eat well, drink lots, reward yourself and relax and take breaks! These exams aren't worth putting so much pressure on yourself that you begin to struggle or make yourself feel ill. Overdoing it will only limit you. These exams don't define you.

Hope some of those were helpful, but feel free to hit me up if you've got any subject specific questions or anything! Good luck.

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