Everyone is different, and that means that there’s no magical study method or revision method that works for everyone. However, there are plenty of techniques, tips, tricks and hacks out there. The trick is finding one that works for you.
That said, here are a couple of tips and tricks for you to try that could push you from a B to an A, or a C to a B, and so on.
#1: Notes don’t have to be pretty
Revision is supposed to be a quick process, refreshing you on the work you’ve done throughout the year. As such, the notes you revise from do not need to be works of art; keep it simple and you’ll save time.
#2: Use your study leave wisely
I know, I know. But it’s true: when you’ve got a week off between exams, it’s easy to put the revision off and just chill. Resist the temptation! Get up early (say 8:00 AM or earlier) and start working as early in the day as possible.
#3: Revise in short bursts
Our brains are silly things; sometimes, it can difficult to stay focused on one thing for a long period of time. The best way to get around this is to revise in sessions of 45 minutes each, separated by 15 minute breaks.
#4: Use your breaks wisely
Just because you’re taking breaks doesn’t mean you should just sit yourself down in front of the TV and veg out for 15 minutes. Take the time to stretch your legs, get yourself a cup of tea, a glass of juice, whatever. Get some fresh air and try to avoid watching TV or playing video games.
#5: Form a Revision Group
Teaming up with friends can be a great way to revise. Working with others allows you to test one another and check your progress. Maybe one of your friends is great at Maths but sucks ass at History – share your knowledge! Team ups are always fun: just ask the Avengers, the Defenders, the Justice League, the X-Men, etc, etc.
#6: No revising in bed!
Forgive the profanity, but you’ve heard the saying “don’t shit where you eat”, right? Resist the urge to revise while propped up in bed; sit at a desk or a table, where you can keep your space more orderly and avoid nodding off.
#7: Practice makes Perfect
Past papers. You probably hiss at the very mention of them by now but they’re worth it. Working through past papers is one of the best ways to prepare yourself for your finals; it doesn’t matter how well you know the work if you don’t know what kind of questions to expect!
Check out our collection of past papers (both DBE and IEB) here.
#8: Avoid the Worriers
We’ve all been there: we walk out of an exam room and we all start comparing answers. All of a sudden you hear that the answer to question 2.1.1 wasn’t “4.5” or “3.2” but “Nelson Mandela” and you’re left questioning yourself for the rest of the day. Try to avoid the post-exam debrief and definitely don’t study with people known to go to pieces around exams.
#9: Healthy snacks are where it’s AT
Revision is taxing work. All that mental work takes a toll and that means it’s important for you to stay hydrated and well fed. But avoid energy drinks (as best you can), candies, chocolates, soft drinks, etc. Stick to water, fruit juice and healthy snacks like nuts and dried fruit.
#10: Your social life is dead
As sucky as it is, you need to accept that until you hand your very last exam paper in your social life is effectively dead. No parties, no nights on the town, nothing of the sort. Right now, your focus needs to be on revision and passing.
That said, the occasional chilled gathering of friends can be beneficial: relaxing and taking your mind off of exams for a couple of hours can leave you feeling refreshed afterwards. Just be responsible.