Revision Mistakes You Might Be Making
Exam season is without a doubt one of the hardest times of the year. As your work load increases and your deadlines get closer- it can feel like the pressure is mounting.
You may be making some revision mistakes that could affect your overall results, but these can be easily rectified.
So here is a checklist of things ‘not-to-do’ while revising for exams:
1. Don’t start revising last minute
Though I can account for last minute revision (aka. using your short term memory) being affective, there is no denying that starting your revision earlier is going to get you better results. You need to learn understand the revision, the longer you have to revise the more you will understand. Likewise, the longer you give yourself to memorise these things, the easier it will be to retain the information.
2. Don’t use passive revision techniques
It’s easy to sit in a classroom, or lecture theatre, and take notes… while thinking of other things. This is passive revision. So take control of your own learning: use active revision techniques. Test your knowledge, apply it to real situations, question assumptions and create your opinion. Active learning will help you understand your revision far more and even quicker than passive. Take notes in your own words, simplify concepts- if you find something difficult or you don’t fully understand it, break it down. The idea is to fully understand it- being able to quote the lecturer is no use if you don’t understand. So active revision is: flash cards, debates with peers, practise exam papers, quizzes, mindmaps, diagrams etc.
3. Stop confusing recognition to recall
As the exams get closer, we all panic and wonder whether we know enough. Honestly, the idea of sitting with a blank piece of paper and trying to write down everything we know, or doing a mock, or a quiz can be daunting. Especially daunting if you think you don’t know your stuff. So re-reading notes is the easier option. Buuut it’s nowhere near as effective. This is recognising, to properly test your memory you need to recall. You won’t have your notes in the exam to prompt you so you need to test yourself, identify where you’re struggling and work on that in the final few days.
4. Stop only using one revision method
Everyone has their ‘go-to’ revision technique, the one we’re most comfortable with. Though it is important to use the study techniques that work best for you, it’s also important to make sure the revision is as effective as possible. Using various methods will do this.
5. Don’t walk into an exam without knowing the format
Knowing what your exam paper will look like and what you need to do is SO important. There is nothing worse than turning the first page of the paper and having a flap because you don’t recognise the format, or you’re not sure where you need to write. So make sure you walk in prepared. Know the lay out and the timings for each section. This way, there is no added stress to the already panicky situation of an exam.
6. Always start with notes in your own words.
Taking notes effectively is your first step to understanding. I always rewrite my notes up as my first step to revision. This way I have revisited content from potentially months ago, and have rewritten them in my own words. This is not only a form of revision, but a skill too! You will know your stuff better.
7. Don’t let a bad experience cloud your judgement
Exams aren’t everyone’s strong point. They certainly aren’t mine. I have always been far better at coursework. But don’t let yourself be put off revising just because you think you’re ‘not an exam person’. Who knows, this year you might be better at exams than ever before!
8. Make sure you socialise
Exam season can be a lonely time. Friends and family are a huge part of keeping your sanity. Make sure you have the support you need, encouragement from friends and family makes a real difference.
9. Don’t exploit your own energy levels
Everyone works best at different times of the day. Knowing when your prime time to work is will help structure your days and be more productive. Work with your own energy rhythm, if you work best in the morning, make sure you’re up and using those most productive hours to their maximum.
10. Don’t study while distracted
I have always found that working while distracted is pretty pointless. If you’re trying to tackle multiple tasks at once, it’s hard to do anything to the best of your ability. Prioritise your work, make sure you are working on one task at a time and giving it your full attention.
I hope these are useful tips! Good luck to anyone about to sit exams.
Please feel free to leave comments and I will make sure to get back to them as soon as I can.