The Best Way to Revise
Exams are a difficult time for everyone, especially people who are new to adult learning (see ‘Coping with Exams’), but one of the best ways to take the stress out of the exams is to prepare properly. Here are a few hints and tips to make the whole process as stress-free as possible.
Organise the TimeMake a revision plan, focussing especially on the topics that need more work, but be prepared to be flexible – things don’t always go to plan. Schedule in breaks too.
Organise the SpaceFind somewhere quiet and calm to revise. Working in a tidy and organised space will help revision, but don’t spend so much time organising that time for actually revising gets limited.
Break it DownIt’s much easier to revise when things are broken into smaller, more manageable chunks. Write summaries and lists of key points, or try explaining things to a friend – teaching someone else helps things stick and shows up any gaps in knowledge.
Take Plenty of Breaks and Have RewardsBreaks are very important – no-one can revise all the time. Have brief ten-minute breaks between sessions of half an hour or an hour, and have longer breaks too – take an afternoon or evening off every now and then.
Schedule in rewards – a cup of tea, walking the dog round the block, ten minutes with a new book, half an hour in the garden, an old favourite video or a new and exciting DVD, or a bath and early bed.
Take Some Time to ExerciseExercise is a great antidote for stress and depression, and a break in the fresh air can make things seem so much clearer.
Keep MotivatedThink about what you have learned so far, and why you are studying – whether it’s to get a better job, or just to learn something new. Use the fifteen-minute rule – if it’s hard to concentrate, try working on something for 15 minutes. At the end of the fifteen minutes, if the focus still isn’t there, at least you have done fifteen more minutes than you had before. And if the focus is there – just carry on. Taking notes and making summaries helps keep things interesting, and helps it go in, too.
Testing, TestingTests can help check up how well things are going in – try running through old exam papers, or make up questions to answer.
Get Plenty of SleepIt’s a good idea to have a break from revision before going to bed – exercise, have a relaxing bath, read a book or phone a friend. Don’t eat too late and don’t drink too much – both will disturb sleep.
Avoid all night revision sessions, and if possible, revise somewhere other than the bedroom – it’s likely to be easier to sleep if work and bed are kept as separate as possible.