As soon as Christmas is over learners start to feel the pressure of impending exams, helping them to create an effective revision plan will ensure they make the most of the time available. Learners can become stressed, frustrated and demotivated when they have "been revising" for hours but can't recite the rules / facts when tested later. There is little benefit in spending hours reading facts from a book, trying to memorise them. It is important learners interact with the information somehow - highlighting the main points in different colour pens, reading out loud or recording themselves to play back later. Help to make learners revision time more productive and sustainable by implementing our Top 10 Tips for... Revision.
Identify your strengths and areas for improvement
It is easier to revise a subject which you enjoy and are good at but your revision ought to be focused where there is greatest need. You could use a syllabus/ curriculum checklist to help you with this. 4 study periods per week might be plenty for one subject whilst 8 periods might be needed for another.
Study in small chunks
Your revision will be more effective if you study a subject for a short period, regularly. Try to study two subjects for half an hour each, have a break for 10-15 minutes then study two more subjects for half an hour each before having a longer break. You could then revisit the first subject /s later in the day.
Create a plan
Now that you know what you need to study, it is essential that you detail the amount of time you have available and specifically plan which subjects you will work on when. Make your plan public, display it on your door or kitchen noticeboard, others will then know when you are working and when you've planned breaks. This will help reduce stress levels and pressure from friends and family.
Create a good working environment
For your study time to be effective you will need a suitable environment, you will need space for your books as well as room to work. Fresh air and natural light will help, make sure you open your curtains and a small window if you can. Feeding your brain is also important, have a glass of water available and a healthy snack - bananas are a good option.
Understand your learning style
There are various models for this but VAK is most commonly used. Learners can be Visual, Auditory, Kinaesthetic or a combination of these. Gear your revision to your learning style: Create colour coded revision cards or diagrams to display; record your notes on MP3 player and play them often; act out scenes from literature / history; put key information on notes around your room or in the hallway between rooms.
Whilst some learners find it helpful to play music whilst revising, it will help if there are no other distractions, turn off your mobile phone, log off Facebook and Twitter.
Focus on understanding
Try to develop your understanding of a topic rather than simply memorising rules / dates etc. Understanding is much deeper and time spent on this will enable quicker recall and a more logical approach to answers.
Look at past papers
By looking through past papers you can familiarise yourself not only with the content but also with the style of the questions. Many exam boards will also publish the mark schemes and Chief Examiners' Reports which will give you a huge amount of information about common mistakes to be aware of.
Don't forget exam skills
Remember that passing exams is not just about knowing the curriculum inside out, you will also need to be able to structure an essay, follow ideas through logically and perhaps most importantly manage your time effectively. Estimate how much time is allocated to each exam mark and keep this in mind when allocating time to answer each question. Include time to practice all of these skills within your revision timetable.
It is easy to become disheartened and demotivated, to feel that it is an uphill struggle and that you'll never get the result you want - banish these thoughts! With a realistic plan and a determination to stick to it, you can achieve your aims - BE POSITIVE!