29 Mar April showers bring… a few last-minute revision tips
When revision time is short, it’s important to make the most of every minute. One way to do this is to try to work out how you revise most effectively: reading your notes/study guides repeatedly; writing facts out again and again; or listening to information (perhaps while you’re on a treadmill at the gym or out for a walk).
Once you’ve worked that out, ensure you use this technique as your main means of revision. If you prefer to hear information, record the most important notes you’ve to learn on to a mobile phone or laptop, so you can play them back to yourself. If you prefer to write information out, why not get yourself some speech cards and create a set of cards for each topic with the facts you need to know summarised on them? Not only will writing the cards help you remember the info, but you’ll also have some handy revision cards to read through the day before the exam.
What’s a tomato got to do with revision?
If you’re struggling to maintain focus, set an alarm and don’t allow yourself to look at your phone – or anything online – until the alarm goes off. Then you’ve earned a short break. Alternatively, use the Pomodoro (Italian for tomato) technique, which was the brainchild of an Italian who devised a system of setting a tomato-shaped oven timer to keep his focus, with great success.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a tomato timer in the kitchen, as there’s a handy website called tomato-timer.com, which allows you to set an alarm for 25 minutes of focused time then 5 minutes of break time, then the same again – for as long as you wish to keep going!
The dreaded distractor factors
Always keep your study space distraction free, which means leaving your phone or tablet in another room. Never, ever, ever have it close to you when you’re trying to revise (unless you’re using a revision app!).
We humans are rather distractible, so it’s only human for our minds to start wondering who’s just texted us every time we hear a chirrup from our phone. Make it easy for yourself by not having your phone within earshot – or turn off the sound (though remember to turn it on again afterwards!).
And talking of distractions: music. Many students prefer to study in complete silence; however, others claim they simply cannot study if there’s silence, and (as I’ve emphasised previously on this blog) everyone is different.
However, if you are going to listen to music, make sure it’s either classical music (and before you dismiss that idea out of hand, read this) or at least instrumental music of some sort with no lyrics.
If you know a song well, it’s almost impossible not to listen to (and even join in with) the words, and if your brainpower is busy remembering lyrics then unless it’s superhuman, it’s not going to take in the chemistry formulae or geography facts that you’re trying desperately to commit to memory. It’s a no-brainer (no pun intended!).
Take a break (KitKats are optional)
During breaks, remember to top up your water bottle – simply being well hydrated can improve your concentration significantly. If you can go for a short walk outside and grab some fresh air, that’s another good way of resting your beleaguered brain cells.
When you’re on study leave (or at the weekend), it’s great to get two or three hours of revision done before lunch if you possibly can, as then you feel a weight lifted off your shoulders for the rest of the day!
AND FINALLY … The one good thing about each passing day bringing you closer to the start of the exams is that it also brings you one day closer to the END OF THE EXAMS! Now isn’t that a happy thought 🙂