With exam season looming it’s easy to become overwhelmed, especially if you have multiple exams lined up. As a first year BA Honours student myself, I’ve had my fair share of exams so I’m here to share the revision tips and tricks that I’ve picked up along the way.
Planning Your Time
To tackle procrastination it’s best to create a revision timetable. This way you’ll be able to map out the time you spend revising so that you don’t burn out and can take breaks without hindering your study time. I used this method throughout my GCSE’s and A Levels so I can definitely vouch for it.
Even though you might think that you wouldn’t stick to a timetable, it could still be helpful to create one. This way if you do stray a little from it you can easily get back on track.
I recommend co-ordinating your revision timetable with your exam timetable so that you can prioritise the subjects you will be examined on first.
Microsoft Word has a really easy table function that you can use to create your timetable but a pen and paper work just as well.
There are a lot of revision methods that you could use. If you’re a seasoned exam-goer then you may already have an understanding as to which method works best for you, however if it’s your first time taking a lot of exams this may be trial and error. Here are some of the best ways to revise:
- Revision cards
- Sticky notes
- Past exam papers
- The ‘look-cover-write-check’ method
The way you revise and learn the best depends on what kind of learner you are. I recommend taking the http://www.educationplanner.org/students/self-assessments/learning-styles-quiz.shtml quiz to find out. This quiz also gives you tips on how to revise depending on which type of learner the quiz determines you to be.
For example, I’m a very ‘visual’ learner so I revise best by using revision cards and drawing pictures/diagrams.
Creating a Revision Space
A very important part of revision is where you choose to revise. Personally, I really struggle to revise somewhere that is cluttered or noisy so I always choose a tidy and quiet space, e.g. a library or my room.
Before I revise I find it helpful to clear the space and lay out everything I need to aid with my study, so that I don’t have to move much and become distracted during my revision time. The revision tools I like to have with me while I study include:
- Highlighters and coloured pens
- Sticky notes
- Lots of paper
- A cup of water (it’s super important to stay hydrated while studying)
- A snack (try a bowl of fruit, or a trail mix- these are healthy and perfect to nibble on while you work)
- A clock or timer (this way you’ll know when to take a break)
There’s nothing worse than revising too much and feeling tired when it comes to actually sitting the exam, so you should definitely avoid burning-out.
If you plan your time effectively, you won’t feel the need to cram the night before your exam and will still feel motivated throughout the exam period.
Make sure that you take enough breaks throughout your revision time. It’s no good revising for hours on end without a break because you’ll feel exhausted and won’t retain half as much information as when you effectively take breaks.
I recommend taking a ten to fifteen minute break every hour or a thirty minute break every two hours- depending on how heavy the revision material is.
Other ways to stop yourself from burning-out while studying include:
- Opening curtains and windows (fresh air and sunshine will boost your mood and keep you motivated)
- Drink at regular intervals (not only is thirst a distraction from study, but staying hydrated has a positive effect on cognitive ability and mood- try water rather than energy drinks and coffee!)
- Revise with friends (locking yourself away in your room for hours on end is a surefire way to burn-out quickly and is quite damaging for your mental health. Revising with friends gives you time to socialise, but also means that you can help each other. Try asking one another questions and be encouraging, so that you all have a positive mindset)
- Take a break by studying in a different location (Try taking your revision to a local cafe. It’s fun to sit and revise in a cafe just for a change of scenery- and cake of course.)
On the Day of the Exam
Make sure the night before the exam you go to sleep a little bit earlier than usual and don’t cram! In fact, stop revising at least four hours before you go to sleep to allow your brain to switch off.
If you have a morning exam, set at least two alarms- just in case. (It’s also a good idea to let anyone you live with know that you have an exam, so that they can help motivate you to wake up in the morning).
Breakfast is known as the ‘most important meal of the day’ for a reason, so make sure you eat something before you leave for your exam. I recommend eating a yoghurt with fruit, or scrambled eggs on toast- they’re delicious, filling and will give you enough energy to get through the morning.
If you have an afternoon exam it’s still a good idea to wake up early and have breakfast. However, don’t fall into the trap of cramming in the morning. Though it will help to have a look through your revision, try not to sit down and study for a few hours before you leave- doing this will make you feel tired and could potentially stress you out.
Also, don’t forget to leave at least half an hour early so that you get to your exam on time. Remember, being early is always better than being late!
Some Quick Reminders
- Revision timetables can seem restricting and annoying, but make them your best friend during exam season.
- Try taking a quiz to figure out which type of learner you are so that you don’t waste your time on a study method that doesn’t work for you.
- Create a revision space. If you can, try and avoid messy and noisy areas and set up your space according to what you need when revising.
- Avoid burn-out by taking regular breaks, drinking water and opening a window so that you get enough fresh air. Revising with friends might also work for you!
- Always set an alarm on the morning of an exam so that you get to your exam on time and make sure you eat breakfast so that you have enough energy to get through the day and so your stomach doesn’t rumble during an exam- we’ve all been there!
- Whatever you do, don’t cram! If you spread out your revision and tried your hardest, there’s nothing more you can do other than your best during the exam.
I really hope you’ve found these tips useful. Let me know in the comments (or on instagram- http://www.instagram.com/studiousleigh) if you did use these tips during your revision- I really appreciate your feedback.
All opinions expressed in this post are my own.
This post is NOT sponsored.
All pictures are used for reference purposes only.