Different Ways Of Revising For Exams

Sunday, December 13, 2015

I've just finished my mock exams in school, meaning a lot of my free time over the past few weeks has been spent revising. Although I've written some blog posts on revision in the past, I've discovered many more techniques since then and modified my methods so that they're most effective. When it comes to revising, there are many ways to go about it and techniques that you can use. I thought that it might be helpful to share my ways of revising, as the methods that I mention could be useful for you.

Write out All of Your Notes
This is probably the most important step for me, as I like to have a complete set of notes on each topic so that I can consult them at a later date or read them to see what I understand and what I don’t. Personally, I find that typing my notes is a lot quicker and is therefore a more efficient use of my time, but if you prefer to write out your notes then this also works well, especially since this gives you more freedom to add illustrations and diagrams. To compile the notes, I collect my school books, revision guides, online resources and anything else that might be helpful, so I have a broad selection of information to choose from.

Create Posters, Mind Maps and Visual Aids
If you want to make your revision fun or at least look appealing, more visual methods are great to use and can be really beneficial. Creating posters, mind maps and other visual aids can really assist with your learning and make the endless amount of notes seem more manageable. It works best if these are bright and colourful, with keywords or important phrases being highlighted. It’s worth playing around with these to see what works best for you, but I can guarantee that this will be more effective than bland, boring resources.

Make Flashcards 
It has been proved that one of the most effective ways of revising is to test yourself or get others to test you. The best way to achieve this is by making flashcards, either with concise notes to condense down your revision or by having a question on one side followed by the answer. Although this could be adapted for any subject, it’s important to find out which ones it will be the most effective for. Flashcards can easily be created on paper, but another option is to use the app ‘Flashcards+ by Chegg’ to create them, which means you can look through your notes whilst browsing your phone.

Voice Recordings
If you are studying a language, making recordings can be really helpful and assist in memory when it comes to speaking tests. When I have to learn my French speaking test, I often record it on my phone and listen to it when I have a few spare minutes. This really helps it to sink into your brain and can assist with pronunciation as well. Another tip for languages is to listen to people speaking the language, for example on the radio, as this will help you adapt to the accent, pace and pick out words that you already know.

Past Papers 
I’d probably class past papers as one of the most important elements of revision as they can really help you understand what type of questions you may be asked and how to answer them, as well as improving your time management. By having a past paper and a copy of the mark scheme, which your teacher can get for you, you will be able to see where you are commonly losing marks and how to fix this. Also, exam questions are often worded in a way that is difficult to understand, so the use of a mark scheme will help you to understand what you need to include.

Revision Guides 
When studying for exams, revision guides can be really useful and help you to see what content needs to be covered. They will tell you exactly what topics you need to revise and often will have practice questions included in them, so they are an invaluable resource that you definitely need to get. My favourite revision guides are the CGP ones, as they’re really easy to understand and display everything in a much more appealing way. They are often be sold in shops or by your school, but you can also buy second-hand copies on Amazon for a relatively cheap price.

Rhymes and Acronyms
If you’re struggling to remember something, turning it into a song, rhyme or acronym can really help. I’ve used this multiple times and found that it always works really well and I can remember what I need to know. For example, I learnt all of a French speaking test a few years ago by fitting the words to the tune of one of my favourite songs. For maths, I constantly sing ‘The Circle Song’ to remind me which formula is for the area and which is for the circumference. As for history, I have multiple acronyms that help me remember things such as the terms of the Treaty of Versailles or the aims of the League of Nations. Whatever topic it is, I can guarantee that the use of these will be helpful.

Watching Online Videos
Like most people, I’m addicted to YouTube and spend hours watching videos online. What you might not realise is that there are many videos created to help you with revision or understand topics that may be difficult, especially for maths and science. If you don’t understand how to solve a certain problem or want to watch a video to back up your knowledge, I’d definitely recommend using YouTube. Also, my school has signed up to ‘Maths Watch’, which is a website filled with video tutorials for all areas of maths. Although not everyone will have access to this, I’d definitely take advantage of it if you do.

Making a Timeline
If you’re struggling with remembering the order of events, then making a timeline can be useful. If you study history, then you could use this method to remember the order of the events leading up to WW2 or anything else that you need to remember the order of. This technique could also be applied to English, as a timeline could be used for the events in a novel.

Re-Read Any Important Texts 
For English, it’s important to have a thorough understanding of the texts, including key quotes and underlying themes. The best way to identify these it to re-read the texts, as they will be fresh in your mind and you’re more likely to pick up on further details when reading novels for the second time. I decided to re-read both of my English texts, To Kill a Mockingbird and The Crucible, over the summer and again later in the year. It’s also helpful to highlight and annotate them as you go if it’s your own copy.

Revision Classes 
My final tip is to attend as many revision classes as possible before your exams. Teachers will more than likely hold these in the lead up to your tests and attending them can be crucial. Usually, you will cover topics that you might’ve struggled with initially or practice exam technique that will help you in the test. Some people don’t go to these, as they think that they already understand the topic, but they can be useful to refresh your mind and there might be a section of the topic that you realise you don’t understand as much as you thought. Teachers give up a lot of their time to hold these classes, so I’d definitely ensure that you attend them, as your teacher will know everything about the course and the content and will therefore be the best person to ask for help.

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