The first time I did a post similar to this was two years ago, just before starting by GCSE’s. It was shortly after starting this blog, and I remember having so much fun writing it because it was something that I felt quite confident about. Two years has completely flown by, and I have done so many exams in that time… practice papers and real ones. Everyone has their own technique for revising, and I am defiantly more of a visual learner. I incorporate this into my revision, and try to make it much more enjoyable by getting creative. Depending on what level of exams you are doing, or how many, you will have started revising at different time. Usually by this time, exams are roughly a month away. I have got so many revision techniques that I use, and I really wanted to share them. This post is all about my tips for the month before, however in 3 weeks time I am going to do another, for the week before exams. My tips for the week before are very different, and only work if you stick to doing what you had planned in the next three weeks. I’m not going to lie to you all, I hate revision, but there are many things you can do to make it bearable. My main problem is that I have so many distractions going on, what with blogging, family and spending time with friends. It is pretty much impossible to balance them all. It is also a matter of making slight adjustments to your lifestyle, in order to cope with the stress of the exams. Now is the time to get into the mentality of doing exams, and think to yourself that you will be rewarded with that extra long summer!
“The Secret of Getting Ahead, is Getting Started”
I am going to split up my tips and tricks into different categories, including things you can physically do, things you need to say to yourself, and some lifestyle changes that need to be made in order to succeed.
What Can You Do?
Have the right materials – first of all, you need to ensure that you have all the right materials for revision. This is something you need with you in your place of education, as well as at home in your study area. The correct stationary depending on your subject is always essential, as well as methods of organising your work such as folders and flash cards to condense your knowledge. There are also little things that you often forget about, like small post its to stick on text books highlighting key information, coloured pens to colour code your work, and a diary to keep on track of where you are. A few additional things I found that always helped me was a big cork board where I would have the things I always forgot for a subject, and little whiteboards to test yourself with, or get a family member to test you. You can also do this in revision groups with friends, however if you are easily distracted, this is definitely a bad idea.
Balance your time – to begin with, get yourself either a large planner, or hand written diary. Don’t use your phone or anything, as you will be distracted by some notification that pops up. Using colours, organise your time in terms of revision, socialising, relaxing and hobbies. Obviously, this close to exams, revision should be quite apparent on your timetable, but you do also need the time to relax and enjoy your hobbies. You need to be very realistic with your timetable, and make sure you are not setting yourself unrealistic goals. I have put together an example timetable, so you can see exactly what I mean!
Detailed Notes, to Condensed Notes – When revising, I always start by making a revision powerpoint for each subject. This is easier now I only do two subjects, but if you do more it is still possible. On each slide I write detailed notes on a particular area, and add lots of key terms and highlight important information. I then print all these off (there are usually a lot), and highlight things that I either really don’t want to forget, or don’t know about as well. Using my flash cards, I then make very condensed pages, from the detailed information. This makes it much easier than just making flash cards from a textbook. The detailed notes are also in your own words, making it much better to understand.
Practice Papers – trust me, I know how soul destroying these can be, but they are so worth it. I don’t sit them like a real exam, I colour code. I use the colours green, orange and red to signify what I know. I firstly go through the paper with green pen answering all the questions I know and attempting the others. Usually I always need help, so I then go through in an orange pen, allowing myself to refer to my own notes, either from an exercise book or textbook. This way you are sourcing the information yourself, and learning at the same time. In red, I then go back through referring to the mark scheme, marking my own work and filling in answers I just really couldn’t do. Closer to exams I then look back over these, and hopefully will now know the answers to the ones I originally didn’t.
Thoughts To Have
Success or failure – I guess this is pretty simple, but you essentially have to say to yourself, do I want to succeed or fail? I remember during my GCSE revision, I used to get completely terrified about results day, and the emotion I would feel if I failed all my exams! It used to make me feel utterly sick, and completely drove me to keep going with the revision!
You are allowed time off – this is something that so many young people seem to forget when going through exams, but it is so important in order to do well. You cannot spend every hour in the day doing revision, it is draining and needs to be done in proportion to everything else. Resting is the only way that revision will pay off, as the information can be processed in your mind. This is even more important closer to the exams, as your body needs to feel refreshed and awake in order to complete them all sufficiently.
Forget about others – wow, this is something that used to bug me so much! I would compare every grade I got to other people in my class, to other people on Facebook, and even worse to my close friends. Yes, a little competition is good, but it can’t be taken too far. You have to remember that you are getting these grades for yourself, and nobody else. Everyone has different capabilities, and everyone always comes out with different grades. All you can do is work as hard as you can, and your hard work will pay off.
Eating Right – this is something that really does effect me in terms of work and exams. You need to be eating healthy and proper food. Yes you can have a bar of chocolate, but your meals need to be balanced, and you need to be eating a proper breakfast before starting your day. Making simple changes will make this all a lot easier, replacing a junk food afternoon snack with some fruit, or fizzy drinks with less sugary alternatives. Just having a more balanced diet will make it much easier for your revision to pay off, and you will soon start to feel like a much healthier, and happier person.
Social Life – I know how difficult this is, but you need to minimise your social life for for the next four weeks. You can still see your friends, and go out to do things, but you just need to do much less than normal. Four weeks really isn’t that long in terms of a lifetime, and trust me you will make up for it during the summer! Not going out as much will conserve your energy and make it much easier to revise and get through exam season.
Exercise – this is simple, a little bit of exercise will make it much easier to get through the exam season. This doesn’t have to be hardcore cardio, but a short walk to the shops or ride on a bike. Exercise naturally makes you happier, and will make you fitter enabling you to process more when revising. It is time that you can enjoy for yourself, and being active will always make you a much more positive person.
I hope these tips have helped, and good luck with all the revision!
– have a great day –
The water bottle featured is from Chillies Bottles, and you can see the full range here. This was sent to me, as part of a blog collaboration.