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The 5 Best Revision Strategies

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Revising is one of those tasks that just must be done if you want a good grade.

Whilst some people might be able to breeze through entire exams without ever picking up a textbook, for most of us, learning new information is hard work, and it takes repeated attempts for that knowledge to sink in.

Trying to work out what to revise, and how, can be pretty overwhelming when you first try it. That’s why it’s important to come up with a clear strategy to tackle the task.

We thought we’d help you prepare. Here are the 5 best revision strategies that we’ve found and would recommend!


1. Practice past exam papers

There’s no getting away from the fact that practice makes perfect. Unfortunately, however unappetising an activity it might be, completing past exam papers is one of the most effective revision methods.

When it comes to revising, it’s easy to fall into the trap of just revising things that you feel comfortable of — the things that you know well. After all, you’ll want to feel confident going into an exam, so it’s only natural that you’ll gravitate to revising things that you feel confident on. That’s pretty counter-intuitive though, because the thing that will cause you to become unstuck during an exam is the information that you don’t know.

Completing past papers allows you to identify the information that you don’t know, but need to know, ahead of the exam.


2. Start revising early

Whatever overall strategy you’re following when it comes to revision, it pays to start it early.

Whilst late-night cramming the night before an exam does actually have some surprising science behind it, it leaves too much to chance to be a reliable revision strategy that we’d recommend.

One of the best ways to be sure that you’ve prepared thoroughly is relatively simple — give yourself enough time to learn it in the first place!

Revising at least one month in advance of an exam will help you to recap as much of your course information as possible, and give you time to identify and act on areas you need to improve your knowledge in.


 

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3. Make effective notes

To revise effectively, you need to take good notes. And to take good notes, you need to be able to summarise information in a way that works well for you.

There are lots of different note-taking methods to choose from out there. It’s worth bearing in mind that everybody learns in different ways, so the exact method you choose will depend on how best you learn. 

The thing that all these methods have in common is the fact that they’re structured — they organise information in a specific order, according to a particular process. Uncover the process that works the best for you when taking notes, and you’ll be able to boost your revision and overall retention of knowledge!


4. Create a revision timetable

Creating a schedule will help add a sense of stability to your revision schedule and will help you to ensure you cover everything and don’t leave anything out.

A revision timetable is essentially a calendar of particular topics to revise on a particular day. You can create one by just making a note of all of the topics you need to revise and then choosing specific slots on days of the week to revise them on.

If you’d rather do things digitally though, you’re in luck. A great range of online planning and diary tools exist out there. We’ve got a free study planner that you can download, which should help you get to grips with your revision schedule.


5. Sleep!

Yes, you read that right. Sleep is essential when it comes to revision.

Research suggests that sleep plays an important role in helping your brain to process learning and consolidate memories. This makes it pretty invaluable when it comes to revision and trying to remember information.

As well as influencing your brain performance, sleep is also essential for your physical and mental health, too, controlling the release of hormones. These affect everything from your appetite and growth through to your body’s healing rate.

Most experts recommend that adults get between 7 to 9 hours sleep a night to function at their best. This figure varies with age, with younger adults needing slightly longer.

If you have trouble sleeping at night, try to ditch caffeine-based drinks like tea or coffee, and don’t use your phone or laptop immediately before you go to bed — the blue light that digital screens gives on can mess with your body-clock and make getting to sleep more difficult. 

We hope this guide has helped give you some ideas about revision strategies!


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