Procrastination: the sworn enemy of revision. On no other occasion would it feel right to start hoovering your room, wash the dishes or take on any other hugely time consuming chore other than when you are supposed to revise for upcoming exams.
However, as we know deep down you would like to pass your exams and go on to have a successful and prosperous career; here are some key pointers on how to win the war the right way.
1. Set a routine that works for you
It may sound like quite an unappealing task, however all it really means is prepare properly. If you don’t want to get up until 10am, you don’t have to. The crucial part is to draw up a revision timetable that you are happy with and plan on working to. If you work well for long bursts, do that. If you find that you can only concentrate for 20 minutes at a time, play to your strengths.
2. Proper preparation prevents poor performance
While this may seem like a well-worn cliché, it remains true. It ties into the above point and is basically a natural successor. If you plan on revising at home, make sure you get dressed as you would any other day. Half of the battle for activities like this is mental. Getting in the right frame of mind sets you up for the day.
3. Create a work station
A cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind. Yes it may be another potential cliché but again it’s relevant to the revision process. Trying to be productive in a distracting and unorganised area is doing you no favours. Heading out to the library is often a great way at creating some space as well as avoiding any potential distractions - TV, internet, guitars, food, friends, your pet dog... the list is endless.
4. Get creative
Chances are that sitting in front of a textbook, course notes or any other source of revision feels similar to staring at a brick wall. Often when the idea of revision comes to mind, this is the only way we think it possible. However the good news is that you can spice it up as much as you want. Use colours, shapes, tables, diagrams… Whatever helps you to remember your facts and figures best. Break the mould, you’ll thank yourself later.
5. Have a break
I’m sure many of you know a few people who adhere to the eight hours of solid revision strategy. Good news - revision doesn’t have to be that way. We all learn in different ways; it’s about finding a pattern that works for you. If you feel you are making some serious headway and don’t want to stop, don’t.
For the trickier subjects, it may be worth working at a steady pace, with enough breaks to keep your mind refreshed yet not enough that you get distracted for several hours online. However you decide to attack your revision, make sure you also build in appropriate rest time.
I know what you are thinking; this was supposed to be advice on how to make revision more bearable. Adding physical activity to strenuous mental challenges hardly sounds easier. However physical activity is incredibly important. Whether it’s going for a jog before you start, using it as a way to break up your day or even being physically active in your day off from studying, it will help blood circulation and oxygen to the brain, reducing tiredness and stress.
7. Make notes
No matter what subject you are tackling, making summary notes will help immeasurably. While it is reassuring to park yourself behind a mountain of textbooks, under the illusion that every word is being absorbed, the only way to test your ability to retain the information is through taking notes and then testing yourself. Although it may seem tedious, it is an effective and potentially more enjoyable method.
8. Ask for help
Study buddies, parents, friends of friends – help is at hand should you need it. Asking someone to test you on the essentials, or to study with you is a great way of keeping the revision process fresh. Maybe you’re feeling competitive; studying with a course mate will enable you to spur each other on. Either way, you revise without it feeling like so much of a chore.
9. Eat well
Food is fuel. With this in mind, it is important to remember to eat well during the revision process. Wholegrain foods, blueberries, oily fish, nuts; these are just some examples of ‘brain foods’. More importantly, eat something you enjoy and that will keep you as focused as possible. While the combination of Red bull and Pringles may seem like an alluring combo, it will do you no favours.
10. Stay positive
Although it is natural to want to excel during the exam period, it’s worth noting that many people have underperformed in that scenario, yet have proceeded to have successful careers. Perhaps it is the level of expectation and pressure foisted upon us from an early age that occasionally makes us feel like deer in the headlights. The reality is that it is just another test, similar to every other test you have taken and passed through your educational experience so far. Many others have been tested in a similar way and so, it is worth remembering that if they can do it, so can you. Staying positive is the cornerstone for a successful attitude.
While you don’t have to follow all of these tips, hopefully you will find some strong pointers to help you crack on with your revision successfully. Ultimately, revision is a very personal process, so find whichever method works for you and stick with it. As long as you put the time and effort in, everything else should fall nicely into place. Good luck!