Here are a selection of revision and exam tips to help students prepare for any exams they may face during their time at KES.
1. Start early
The earlier you start, the more prepared you will be. Starting early allows you time to really learn the material and understand it – and it means you can cope with any factors that may unexpectedly disrupt your revision. Also, “cramming” is just not effective for everyone, and will often only create more stress. Spend a couple of hours figuring out the material you will need to know for each exam and map out a revision timetable that takes into account when your exams are.
Make a revision timetable, writing out what you need to do each day, for how long, and make sure you schedule in regular breaks too.
2. Work out what type of learner you are
Everyone learns in different ways. Some like colour-coded spider diagrams, others will be able to learn simply by reading and copying. Some people like to learn through listening to others speak. Revision can be a highly personal process and it’s worth testing out a few different methods before finding an approach that suits you.
Along the same lines, figure out when you learn best. This may be early in the morning or late at night – again, each person is different. Plan your revision for the times when you think you will work at your best.
3. Create the optimum learning environment
People will say that locking yourself in your room is the only way to revise, however, this will vary based on how you learn best and, again, it is worth experimenting to find the right location for you. Varying your environment can also help to keep your revision interesting too; try the garden or a park in the summer.
Noise is a heavily debated topic. Most revision guides will tell you that music or the TV is too distracting, but this is entirely down to personal preference. Gentle background noise can help some people to focus.
If speech or songs with lyrics are too distracting for you, try film scores or instrumental music. For others, pin-drop silence will be the only thing that works. The only way to know for sure is to test this out. Also, as a side note, make sure you wear comfortable clothes and have plenty of water and healthy snacks to hand.
4. Be strict
No matter how you dress it up, revision isn’t the most enjoyable of pastimes and I’m sure there are millions of things you would rather be doing. But you have to be strict with yourself. Eliminate all distractions and stick to your revision timetable as best as you can. Keep your phone away from you, switch off the wi-fi on your laptop if you don’t need the internet, and make sure you have everything you need before you begin, to stop yourself having to get up.
If you must have your phone near you, download an app that stops you from continuously checking Instagram or Facebook. Forest is a particularly innovative one. It plants a seed when you lock your phone and a tree continues to grow until you quit the app. To make sure your tree keeps growing, don't go on to any other apps on your phone. If this doesn't work for you, there are plenty of other productivity apps that can stop you unnecessarily checking your phone.
5. Practice, practice, practice
It is important to ensure that all of this revision doesn’t go to waste and that you are able to apply the knowledge in an exam situation. Past papers are a revising student’s best friend. Remember you are likely to fail the first couple, so don’t be disheartened. As with anything, practice makes perfect, so keep at it.
And finally, some more unorthodox revision methods that might work for you:
Record yourself reciting key dates, quotes or equations and listen to them as you do other things. You won’t feel like you’re revising but you will be amazed at how much you retain.
Read things out loud in different accents or voices. Then when you are trying to recall the facts, you’ll remember the accent and then hopefully the fact too.
Write down your revision notes in different formats. For example, write one subject as a news story, another as a letter to a friend or relative, compose them into haikus or draw them as a comic strip. Be careful not to waste too much time on this though. It doesn’t need to be a work of art, just a different way of presenting the information.
Stick Post-it notes everywhere. Literally everywhere. Just being surrounded by your revision notes will mean that something will have to sink in.
If you want to know more about the impact of revision, and some further examples as to how to revise; the document below contains more useful information.