Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Revision Tips

After spending the last few weeks revising like mad I thought now would be a good time. One thing they never tell you at school is how to revise but seeing as in May I will be in my forth year of doing exams, I have figured out the best ways for me to revise and remember information. I have just had mock exams for my AS levels and although I haven't had the results yet, I know I didn't do very well in 2 of them, purely because I didn't do enough revision. I have a few tips for revision which hopefully some of you will find useful. 

1. Organise yourself
I know this is obviously easier said than done, however I think it is important to be successful with revision. I know a lot of people like to make revision timetables however I don't find them useful and when I don't stick to it I just give up. From now until about a month before my exams I am planning to do between 10-15 hours of revision per weekend. Obviously during school holidays I will do more and in the month run up to the exams I will be revising every day. Instead of planning exact slots of revision I prefer to make a log of what revision I have done as for me seeing how much I have done is far more motivating than seeing how much more you have planned for the day. For AS/A level work I also highly recommend lever arch files as they are big enough to keep all of your notes in and organised. If you can fit your work into ring binders then using them is probably best as they are easier to transport. 

2. Make revision cards
Revision cards are a life saver for me, I write them throughout the year and read them every so often and then when it comes to the exam period I have my revision material sorted. I find them especially useful for psychology and sociology as you can write all of the key terms and definitions on them. I use medium sized index cards which are the perfect size for writing down studies for both subjects. I use them for English and biology too for key terms and theories for English but I prefer to revise in different ways for these subjects which I will talk about in a minute.

3. Use colour
I love to use colour to make my revision resources such as revision cards and posters. For my revision cards this year I have been writing in purple and writing key words, quotes or points that are important to remember in pink or blue. My favourite coloured pens to write in are Papermate inkjoy clicky pens, stabilo fine liners and staedtler fine liners. If you are revising from sheets that you have been given highlighters are your best friend as you can make certain information stand out amongst a million other words. Revision is just another excuse for me to buy stationary!

4. Do past papers
Past papers are an amazing revision resource and they are free to get hold of. Although I don't do maths anymore, past papers were the only way I could revise for maths as you learn how to answer the questions in the way that the examiners want and lets face it there's only so many questions that they can ask. Before my maths exam I had done every past paper available and doing them helped massively. Subjects such as science, English, sociology and psychology also have the same style questions year after year so past papers are also great to get your head around how the questions will be asked.  

5. Plan essay's
I know that doing a lot of essays takes a lot of time and alongside homework and other revision, this is time we often don't have. For essay based subjects such as sociology I highly recommend making essay plans for every essay question you can think of/find online or in past exam papers. By planning them you can then check against the mark scheme to check that you have included all of the information that you need. It's also worth looking over the essay plans as it's quite possible that a question similar to one you have written a plan for will come up in the real exam.

6. Be creative
I'm not a very creative person and learn much better writing notes and revision cards than making posters. However there is always a piece of information that I can't remember no matter how much I try, which is when I have to change my methods a bit. I stick post it notes to my bathroom mirror, on the wall next to my desk, on the wall next to my bed - literally anywhere where I will see them. Obviously you don't want a ton of information on these but by putting key points on them you are likely to learn them subconsciously. Also making up songs or rhymes about certain things can help too. When I was trying to learn the order of the nervous system a few years ago a couple of us in my class put the words to a tune to help us remember the order and sure enough in the exam I could remember the order. If you learn well from revision posters and mindmaps then you could make some very basic ones with little information to put up on your walls or even wardrobe doors that way you will see them every day.

7. Revision Guides
Revision guides are amazing. I know that most of the time they cost money but they really are worth the money. For GCSE I had revision guides for all three sciences, geography, maths and 2 for English which were all around £5 each however I know some schools lend them. For AS level I've bought revision guides for sociology and biology and have 'rented' a textbook for both subjects from the school. We have also been given revision booklets made by the school for biology and psychology so it's always worth asking to see if the teachers can provide you with any summary notes of topics or if they have revision sheets because they don't cost anything. I use revision guides to make some notes but mainly just read them. You can read them anywhere and are so easy to transport.

8. Create a study area and remove distractions
Obviously you don't have to revise in the same place all of the time but it's an idea to create a space in your house which is quiet, clean and tidy such as a desk in your bedroom or if you don't have a desk you could always use the dining room table. I like to make my desk look really nice to make doing revision that little bit more enjoyable. Keep your phone and all electricals away from where your revising. It's all to easy to pick up your phone to use the calculator then spend the next hour on twitter and texting friends.

9. Revise little and often
If you think about it for a minute it makes much more sense to start revising now. Say you have 18 weeks until exams start and you have 10 topics to cover for each subjects you can almost spend 2 weeks on each topic per subject instead of spending a week before the exam stressing and cramming which isn't the best way to revise.

10. Have breaks
This is probably the most important tip. If you don't take breaks you won't be able to take in the information that you are revising so it would be completely pointless. I think a 5-10 minute break every hour is enough but you can take them as often as you like but try not to have longer breaks than revision sessions! Also make sure that you are getting enough sleep. I learnt this the hard way. Water is also proven to make us concentrate more so be sure to drink plenty throughout the day!

I hope some of you found these tips helpful!

Megan xx

(P.S. I don't claim to know everything about revision, these are just some of the things that I do to revise.)

1 comment:

  1. I always found colour really helpful when I was revising at school! I also really like your photos in this post :) Congratulations on becoming an Asos Insider Gisforgingers xx