Everyone’s always telling you to start revising, right? But, do they ever actually tell you how to do that? If you’ve never done it before, knowing where to start with revision can be really difficult, so here are some handy hints on how to get cracking.
Give yourself plenty of time
As you become more experienced with exams, you’ll learn more about how long you need to revise. Everyone is different, but if you aren’t sure, play it safe and give yourself several weeks. Pick a date when you want to start, and make sure you stick to it- don’t keep putting it off, because before you know it, you’ll be in the exam hall.
Don’t make a rigid timetable
Some advice will tell you to make a revision timetable, splitting up your days into hour-long chunks, separating subjects, colour coding, etc. I disagree: unless you have the discipline of an Olympic athlete, you’re not going to stick to it. Make revision checklists: go through your notes and textbooks and make lists of everything you need to know, ready to tick off when you’re done. Timetables are too restrictive- you feel instantly guilty when you break it. Allow yourself a bit of flexibility.
But do have a plan
Make sure you know exactly when all your exams are, so you don’t do all the work for your last exam first. Then you can look at the exam season as a whole, knowing where you are and what’s next at all times. It’s best when revising to start by going through your work, making notes, spider diagrams, posters, whatever works for you, and building up to doing past papers and practice questions.
Start with the thing you’re worst at
Loads of research has shown that you’re most productive at the start of your working day. So, if, say, you’re really bad at chemistry, pick up your chemistry book first while you’ve still got some motivation, then reward yourself afterwards with a nice bit of something that you like. Get up in the mornings and take on the hardest task of the day first, then the rest will seem easy after that!
A few final things: make sure you’ve got a good space to revise in, where you won’t be disturbed by your family; you’ve got plenty of paper and pens (yep, an excuse to spend a fortune on stationery); put your phone away. You can reward yourself by checking your phone after half an hour. Good luck!
Do you have more advice on how to make a start on revision? What got you started? Tell us below.
Photo: Andrew* / Flickr