Yes, it's that time of year again where January exams are creeping up on all of us, ugh *eye roll* - that's if you haven't done them already!
I feel like this post may be a little late, because I've been so immersed in my own studies (1 exam down, 1 to go yay!), but I thought I'd write a post about hints and tips for effective revision - and coming from a third year university student - I've had a lot of practice!
The first thing I would suggest is checking (and double checking) the dates, times and locations of your exams - there would be nothing worse than studying hard for an exam to which you miss! Then, create a revision timetable to plan out each day leading up to exams (whether that be months, weeks or days prior to your exams). Write down what you're going to study and when, and how long for - this will help to optimise your revision time and keep you on track.
Creating a revision timetable is extremely helpful for me, it makes me feel productive and there is nothing more satisfying than ticking off a to-do list!
Next is revision environment. Try and work out what sort of environment is best for you, whether that be studying in your bedroom, at the dining table, at school/university or in the library. For me, the university library is probably the best revision environment for me, as I feel I can get a lot more done with far less distractions than I would sitting in my bedroom! The general environment of a university library helps me too, it is fairly quiet and everyone around you is also doing work (from what you can see!). I can get work done sat in my bedroom, but there are far more distractions and a lot more procrastination! If you are sat in your bedroom though, I suggest you sit at a desk with a window slightly open to allow for fresh air, turn off or put away your phone/any device that will distract you, drink plenty of water and eat lots of snacks! Studying in silence has also been shown to be the most effective. If you prefer to listen to music, listen to classical music or music with no words, as being a psychology student I am aware of lots of evidence where music with words results in ineffective revision and is a distraction! Taking short, frequent breaks is also effective for revision. Psychological research shows that the attention span of a human is approximately 40 minutes, so it probably isn't wise to sit there for 3 hours studying, because the chances are you aren't taking it in!
Next is how to revise/revision techniques. Now this is very trivial and personalised, because different revision techniques work best for different people, so I'm going to suggest general revision techniques so that I can hopefully cater for everyone. However I will say that testing yourself is probably one of the most effective ways to revise.
Revision techniques may include:
- Creating mind maps
- Creating flash cards so that you can test yourself later
- Answering past exam questions and creating essay plans
- Using mnemonics
- Drawing pictures that relate to a specific topic
- Talking things through with a friend and testing each other
- The 'look, cover, write' technique
- Write things in words you actually understand (which will also help because you will have to research the topic to help you put it into your own words!)
Weirdly enough, I tend to work backwards when I revise. The most effective way for me includes answering past exam questions and creating essay plans. When creating essay plans, I read through my lecture notes and jot down anything relevant for the question including finding extra reading (which you uni students must do if you want a higher grade!). Once I've finalised my essay plan, I will then go through it with a friend and we test each other, create mini mind maps and use the 'look, cover, write' technique.
I hope this post helps for you fellow students out there, trust me - I feel you!
Comment down below your effective revision strategy!
Good luck in your exams!