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Revision – make it work for you


Hear from Beth Sumner and Karen Williams from the School of Education as they share their top revision tips to reduce stress and anxiety. 

There’s no golden rule to when you should revise because it’s all about personal preference, but it might help if you check out the BBC quiz and see if you are more of a morning or evening person - you may find it easier to revise more in the morning if you are a ‘lark’ or later on in the evening if you are an ‘owl’.

How can I focus and avoid distractions?

The best way to stay focused is to follow the Pomodoro technique:

  1. Decide what revision topic you are focusing on

  2. Set a 25-minute timer on your phone

  3. Put your phone face down and away from you – then focus on revision until the timer goes off

  4. After 25 minutes have a 5-minute break

  5. After four cycles, have a longer break of 30 minutes

 How can I remember what I have revised?

You should use revision techniques that focus on active, rather than passive, revision to help you achieve a deeper level of learning:

  • Create subject-specific mind maps to help you identify connections between ideas

  • You can also use colours and images, which will help to aid your memory. If you prefer to create mind maps electronically you can try free apps such as Mind Meister, Canva, or Coggle.

  • Talk to someone else: explaining topics or concepts to other people can often aid your own memory and comprehension because you need to be able to understand something in order to explain it.

  • If you can access past papers or practice exam questions, then working through these is a great way to test your knowledge and actively use information

  • If you find that you learn better by listening to things, use your phone to record yourself reading out short parts of your notes. You can listen back to your recordings whenever you like, meaning you can revise whilst doing other tasks. Watching appropriate YouTube videos can also be helpful

  • Summarise and condense essential points into bullet points on flashcards – these will be easier for you to remember

  • Use post-it notes: Get some post-it notes and write one question on one side, and the answer on the other. Put the post-it notes down so you can only see the sides with the questions. Pick one up at random, read the question, think of the answer and then turn it over to see if you got it right. Repeat.

  • Revision does not need to be done at a desk. Take your flashcards or post-it notes with you on a walk, fresh air and exercise can help you think. Why not take your notes on the bus or train.

  • Try not to focus on what you still need to cover to prepare for your exam. Take a positive proactive approach, make a log and note down the time you have spent revising, you have got this!

Top things to remember

  • Don’t leave it until the last minute. Create a revision timetable and set yourself revision targets to keep you on track

  • Be sure to focus on the subjects you are less confident about as well as the ones you are more sure of

  • Don’t compare yourself to your peers – this is about your progress

  • Reward yourself when you meet your revision goals and target

  • Take a break

  • Have faith in yourself

Good luck to everyone taking exams – we hope these tips are useful and help you to feel as confident and prepared as possible. You’ve got this!

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