Sometimes the hardest thing about studying for exams is knowing how to revise. At GCSE level, you might find yourself with as many as 13 different subjects to study for, so it's important that you're organised and know exactly how you're going to approach your revision. This post will explore some of the best revision techniques to help you get revising.
'Little and often is the key to studying effectively.'
Create a realistic study routine
When it comes to revising, it's absolutely essential that you have a study routine in mind. Even if you don't follow it 100%, having a documented plan will greatly increase your chances of covering all the material that you'll need for your exams. When creating a study planner you need to consider two important factors:
1. How much time do you have before your exams?
2. How much time can you realistically dedicate to studying each week?
Despite our best intentions, most of us aren't able to study every single night for exams. When creating your schedule, be honest with yourself about how much time you can dedicate to studying. After school, if you know that after tho hours studying, you start to feel burned out, then don't try to study for any longer.
Remember, little and often is the key to studying effectively.
Make summary notes
In order to help you digest what you read, a good study technique is to make summary notes as you go. You don't want to end up re-writing all your existing notes from class, but picking out the most important points or highlighting them with a pen can help you remember important facts and figures.
Having summary notes to refer to as you study gives you instant access to all the essential information that you'll need for the day of your exam. They can also be a great way of jogging your memory when you're feeling stuck.
One of the best revision techniques out there is to read through your revision notes a few hours before your exam begins, that way the subject will be fresh in your mind and you'll be able to recall information easier.
Create visual reminders
Much like summary notes, visual reminders of important formulas, facts, figures and quotes can help you memorise essential info without having to actively study them. Try writing important information down on post-it notes and sticking them around your study area. Every time you sit down to study, you'll subconsciously absorb the information.
You might also want to try creating revision cards so you can get others to test your knowledge as you study.
You can even go one step further and colour code your visual reminders into specific topics. YouTube video from Radio 1 on how to improve your memory for studying:
Collaborate with classmates
Another tried and tested revision technique is studying in a group. Sometimes it can be difficult to find the motivation to study when you're sitting in a room on your own. Having other people around you can spur you into action.
Try organising a study meet up with other people on your course, where you all get together in the library or a coffee shop and spend a few hours revising together. Revising with other people not only helps keep you motivated but it gives you the opportunity to compare notes and ask for help when you need it.
As the saying goes, 'two heads are better than one' and this can often be true when it comes to revising for exams.
Practice with past papers
Perhaps the best revision technique of them all, practicing with past papers is a great way to put your knowledge into practice. Reading over your notes for hours on end is all well and good, but unless you can put theory into practice, your efforts will have been in vain.
Start by getting a hold of exam papers from previous years and working your way the questions. After you've completed a couple of full papers and have had them marked by your class teacher, try completing them under exam conditions. Allocate yourself the same amount of time that you'll have in the exam and time yourself to see how well you do.
If you find that you run out of time before finishing the paper, you'll know that you need to work on your time management. If, on the other hand, you find that you finish with half an hour to spare, if could be that you're not answering the questions fully enough. Ideally, you should aim to complete an exam paper with 15 minutes to spare, so you can go back over any questions that you missed.