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What's the best way to revise?

Exams are coming up and you know you need to get make a dent on that pile of books. But where do you start? Just what is the best way to revise?

If you were hoping for one simple answer to this question, you’re going to be disappointed. As with so many things in life, how to revise depends on you. That means you already know the answer – you just need us to help tease it out!

How do you work best?

People iconsStart by deciding whether you work best on your own or as part of a group – life will be so much easier if you can figure this one out now! This isn't just about passing your exams – when you begin your career, it’s vital that you know whether you work best with other people, or perform better independently.

This is a really important factor to consider when picking an employer – if the company ethos is to brainstorm every idea as a team but you hate speaking up in class at school, your talents are likely to be wasted (although we do recommend working on those communication skills – the chances are you'll have to talk to someone at some point, and maybe even deliver a presentation!).

'Figuring out whether you learn best alone or in a group will help you in your work life'

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What’s your style?

Whether you work best alone or in a group isn’t just about whether you’re bubbly and outgoing or quiet and shy. If you’re naturally a people person, you might find you’re too tempted to talk about last night’s episode of EastEnders to revise with your friends.

Likewise, you might love your own company – but if the mewing of all those adorable kitties on YouTube is just too much to ignore (a real danger of exam leave!), maybe you’d be better off heading for a friend’s house (unless they've got a cat, of course).

So start by asking yourself these questions:

  • Am I easily distracted by other people?
  • Do I find it hard to concentrate when I’m on my own?
  • Do I learn best by talking through problems or reading my notes?
  • Is there a lot I’m unsure about, or do I really just need to learn the facts or formulas?
  • Do I get better grades when I do my homework in the common room or at home at my desk?
  • Am I planning to spend a lot of time on past papers?

There won’t always be an easy answer, but you should start to get a sense of whether you’re an independent or a group worker.

Knowing this can really help you make the right decision when it comes round to choosing a job. When deciding, make sure you ask questions about the working environment, so you know whether it's the right fit for you.

Top tip: Richard Branson used to go swimming or play a game of tennis to help himself concentrate. Don’t worry if you don’t have your own private sports complex – if getting distracted is a problem for you, try rewarding your hard work with something you enjoy.

Location location location

School can be great if you work best with your friends, and an empty classroom is perfect for independent learners. Likewise, home is perfect if you need peace, quiet and solitude. But you’re likely to lose your drive if you stick to one place. Try revising in different places to keep yourself fresh.

A library or coffee shop can be great for those lone workers who are in danger of reading every page on the internet except BBC Bitesize! If you find you tend to put things off at home, being surrounded by other people in a public place can be a really effective way to get yourself on task.

If you're revising for summer exams, revision doesn't have to mean missing out on the sunshine. There can be lots of distractions, so revising outside doesn't work for everyone. But if concentration's not an issue for you and you've had enough of being cooped up inside, there's no reason you shouldn't re-read the set text or learn the periodic table in the garden or even the park.

Use your revision to learn lessons for life

However you work best and whatever environment you're most comfortable in, we guarantee there's a job that will make you happy. Revision is a time of hard work and intensive learning – which means that working out the best way to revise for you is a great opportunity to learn more about yourself. This way, you can use your revision experience to think more seriously about the kind of career you want once your exams are over.

Lastly, have a listen to this advice on how to make your revision count from the BBC Newsbeat team:

Check out some great techniques for powering up your revision.

Need more pointers? Take your pick...

How to make a revision plan

Six YouTube channels to help you revise

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