How to Revise

Exams aren’t much fun, are they. Still, here’s a few ideas to help make them feel a bit less like a visit to the dentist.

Stop worrying about what you don`t know and start focusing on what you do know. Knowing at least one thing about your subject is the start from which to develop your knowledge.

Plan ahead. Decide the areas you are going to revise and give them an order of priority. Sometimes it is a good idea to revise the most difficult bits first. Then the rest is much more fun.

Organise regular breaks and fill them with something you like doing – listening to music, making a phone call, going for a walk or surfing the net. Make sure they are shorter than your revision time.

Revise with a friend if that works for you. Write answers to predicted questions and test each other on any lists or data you have to memorise.

What do you learn with ease? Telephone numbers, words of songs, software instructions? Think about how you do it and work out if you can apply the same technique to your revision.

Talk to someone who is good at revision and find out how they do it. Are there any tips you can use?

Don’t just sweat it the night before – it doesn’t work. ‘Revise’ means ‘look again’ – the more times the better.

You can only really concentrate for twelve minutes without changing task. Remember that!

Don’t just try to memorise the book – that won’t work – you need the basic facts at your fingertips which you’ll be able to use.

Imagine yourself in the exam, turn over the paper and smile, knowing you can answer the required number of questions. Keep repeating this exercise and make it fun.

Decide a cut off time the day before and definitely take the evening off.

Delete any negative thinking like “I am going to fail, I don`t know enough” and replace it with “I can pass this exam, I have stored plenty of information in my brain.” Keep repeating any positive phrases even if you don`t believe them.

Make a list for each exam of any equipment you need. Pack your bag in advance.

Keep yourself to yourself before entering the exam room. Don`t listen or join in with others` anxious chatter. Arrive at the exam room just a few minutes before it starts.

Concentrate on breathing slowly and steadily. Attend closely to your breathing and know it will help you stay focussed in the exam.

As you read the questions remind yourself that “I have revised well and can answer all that I need to.”

Arrange to do something  fun after the exams. Think forwards rather than focusing on something you can do nothing about.

Prioritise – decide which topics are most important for today. Concentrate on those.

Practise answers to questions and then learn them. This is really, really important!

Prepare key points and devise fun ways to remember them – colours, objects, mnemonics, cartoons.

Timetable study time and leisure or free time – reward yourself with each task completed.

Find a friend to work with as long as you don`t just distract each other.

Stay cool and remember to breathe!

Make a list of all that you know already, compare with your revision list – this will show up any gaps in your learning

Reward yourself for each task completed – a cookie, a stick of gum..

If you can work with friends then make time to test each other and swap revision tips.

Use any methods that have worked for you before.

In the exam: Read all the questions as you go along. It’s a mark a minute, roughly.

In the exam: If there’s three marks allocated try to write three important things down.

In the exam: Don’t waffle. It upsets the marker who is looking to find marks for you.

In the exam: Stick to your timings – it`s better to have something for each than one stunning answer and the rest blank. Your priority may be influenced by how much you know for each subject.

In the exam: If you`re stuck for recall it`s a good idea to look up and to the left – don`t ask me why, try it, it works.

In the exam: Don`t panic. When you panic you use up all the energy you could be using in your exam. Think about how you`ve remembered and written answers successfully in the past.

Finally – exams are there to be PASSED, not to fail. Carpe diem! Seize the day!


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