Saturday, 9 January 2016

My Revision Tips


January can, unfortunately, bring with it exams. Luckily for me my uni exams were before Christmas, but I do know some unis work differently, and high schools also like to schedule exams for the end of this month too. So hopefully these seven tips that I try to follow will help someone out there who is maybe struggling to stay motivated at the moment. You can do it!

Make a list of what needs doing then organise it into a timetable. Way back in August I wrote a post covering how to make a study timetable, and that's the main tool I implement during revision. Since I have no classes, everyday is open for me to spend it however I like, meaning that I have to schedule time to revise or else I'll just end up on Netflix all day (it happens to the best of us!). I make a note of what I need to cover, and based on the order of my exams, I order my studying accordingly. It's also a good idea to revolve your timetable around the times of the day that you feel most productive, meaning that if you're a morning person it's best to get your studying done first thing, whereas if you're a night owl you should sleep in a bit in the mornings to feel refreshed to start studying in the evening.

Start your studying early. Do not, I repeat DO NOT, leave your revision until the night before your exam. Please. Give yourself plenty of time to gather your notes and organise them thoroughly, so that by the night before your exam you know all you could possibly know in preparation for your exam and you can rest peacefully knowing there's nothing more you can do.

Find your study space. Everybody has different places they like to study, but personally I find that the most important thing is being comfortable. I like to study either in my bed or sitting in an armchair/sofa, whereas my friends prefer studying in the library or at their desk. It's all about what works for you, and where you feel you learn best.

Set the mood with music. Ooh, this just got a bit sensual. I like to play some music while I study because silence is too eery for me, and often I'll associate certain songs with certain facts so that when I listen to them later on I'm reminded of what I was revising. I really recommend Ed Sheeran's X, Kodaline's In a Perfect World, and James Bay's Chaos and the Calm for some chill albums.

Colour-code your notes. Along the same vein as the music point, I really go to town with colour coding, as the colour association helps me out a lot. Particularly with history revision, I like to assign a different colour to different 'categories': I use green for any dates, blue for battles/wars, red for geographical locations and purple for people's names. This really helps me to visualise my page of notes when I'm sitting in the exam. (it's a tricky thing to explain but I have a sort-of photographic memory where I can see the sheet of paper in my mind and I can see where about on the page a certain note has been written, so the colours help to make that image stick in my mind)

Give yourself lots of breaks. That doesn't mean you study for 20 minutes then reward yourself with 5 hours of TV. But make sure that you're taking a break every now and then (I do this every 45 minutes for 15 minutes) so that you can come back to your notes feeling refreshed. I also change up the subject that I'm revising quite frequently so I don't feel like I'm losing a part of my soul if I'm still writing out notes about Cicero and the fall of the Roman Republic 4 hours later.

Don't go overboard. It's easy to stress out big time over exams and disregard all other aspects of your life to focus on them, but that's really not healthy. Taking breaks to watch your favourite TV show or got out with your friends, or even just go for a walk can do wonders for your mental health to alleviate the pressure you're putting on yourself during exam period. Please, look after your mind. Sleep when your body's telling you to sleep, eat 3 meals a day and stay hydrated. And please, please, please, make sure that you are well rested on the night before the exam. Seriously. Sitting a 3 hour exam at 9am on 2 hours sleep is not going to end well.

I hope this helps, and best of luck to everyone sitting exams over the next few weeks! 

Speak soon!

Chloe x