Making your Easter break less chaotic – top tips for revising
For Easter, many people see it as a wonderful time to enjoy chocolate and relax. However, for students, Easter is always bittersweet, as the impending doom of exams lurks eerily around the corner. But don’t panic, this doesn’t mean you have to give up your Easter break and lock yourself away in the library. Instead, it is time to make your revision plan and work out how best to go about what needs to be done.
Organising early: This may seem obvious, but organising what you need to do and when is a brilliant tip when it comes to knowing what you have to do and also it helps in controlling your nerves and preventing stress. They’re many different ways to go about this, some people prefer to have a day by day chart, colour coded with details down to the exact minute of what needs to be done. I personally set myself a weekly checklist, including topics I need to cover and things I need to revisit and make sure that I complete that by Sunday evening regardless of when the work gets done. There is no right or wrong way to organise your revision, so try a few different methods to see what works best for you.
Identifying the best method to revise Similar to the last one, finding the best method of revising for you personally can significantly increase your productivity and the effectiveness of your revision. Many people revise by doing what they were told to in school, but there are hundreds of ways to learn information, such as doing past papers, making revision cards or making mind maps. It is important to be proactive with your revision, so by making something or using the information you’re trying to learn, you are more likely to remember it, rather than simply reading through your notes. Despite this, I have a friend from home who is very successful and does this even in his 3rd year at uni, so if you find a method that works for you, go with it.
Prioritising work Identifying the areas which are the highest priority is often a tricky subject to tackle. They’re many different ways of doing, some people like to just tackle information in chronological order, some choose the topics they find hardest first to spend the most time on them, some choose the easiest topics to get them done quickly and others choose to revise the content based on which exam they have first. Whatever it is that you feel you need to get done first, do it because having that sense of control of your workload can really help reduce stress and the feelings of being swamped. I personally do it by which exam I have next, as I find it best to keep that information at the forefront of my mind, and any other information in the back of my mind ready for when the exams roll around.
Taking breaks Whilst revising for 12 hours straight in the library shows a significant level of commitment, research has shown it is not the most efficient way to learn new information. Rather, doing 40 minutes followed by a 20-minute break has been argued to be the most effective way of revising. Whether you follow this or have your own break patterns, it is so important to give your brain time to take in the information you have learned. For me, I spend time throwing a tennis ball against a wall. This makes me sound mental, and to many, it seems very odd, but I find it gives me the break I need and is a weird catharsis. More conventional ways include grabbing a snack, watching an episode of a show or playing a game of Call Of Duty, but whatever makes you feel relaxed and allows you to re-motivate yourself to work after is essential when revising for long periods of time.
Maintaining normality Another aspect people seem to neglect is maintaining your own life. During revision times, it is very easy to stop doing your favourite hobbies or spending time with friends. This is not a positive thing, as it often causes more stress than it solves. Human beings need social interactions and some sense of normality, otherwise, you can become overwhelmed. Taking a day off a week to go shopping, go to the cinema or even just have a catch up with friends will not negatively affect your work, and more likely, will give you something to look forward to after revision making it easier to push through the long days.
During Exam Season So you’ve made it. Revision done. Now exams are upon us. During the exam season, many people react differently. Some choose to do the bare minimum of revision during the period, instead focusing on exam technique and making sure they aren’t getting stressed out. Managing stress during this time is essential to you achieving the grades you want. Personally, I always take the rest of the day off whenever I have an exam, as my mind is never in the right place to do more revision after such a stressful day. Furthermore, I choose to only cram revision the night before, and do a maximum of 5 minutes before the exam on the day, as I don’t like to overthink and second guess what may come up in the exam, instead just telling myself I have done the work and I know I am going to succeed.
Exams are always stressful, but unfortunately necessary. Maximising the weeks leading up to them is essential for being successful, but don’t be too hard on yourself and work yourself into the ground. If you have a few days off, have a few days where you don’t do as much as you should, don’t beat yourself up and get stressed. Remain calm, pick yourself back up, and just work extra hard the days after. If you put in the effort and you really care, you are sure to get the results you want.