Revision is often one of the most stressful things you'll have to endure during your student career. Fear not, as we've got some tips to make the whole process a piece of cake!

 

Studying is a horrific experience, right? No, and it doesn’t have to be this way!

Here are nine tips to make the next few weeks a whole lot easier so that you can ace those exams. Don't worry, you’ve got this.

1. Create a designated study space (that isn't your bed)

Set up an area where you go to work – a chair, a desk or, if you’re lucky enough, a room – separate from where you eat, sleep or relax. While we’re on it, keeping your bed a sacred sleeping space can really help you sleep better at night. Associate different areas of your room with different activities – your desk for work, your bed for sleeping, your sofa for watching TV – and your brain will soon catch on, making those tasks a little easier and a little more automatic. 

2. Put that phone down

Instagram will not teach you trigonometry. Twitter won’t teach you about mitosis. That friend you’re texting probably isn’t an expert on Nazi Germany between 1933 and 1939, and even if they are, you’re probably not talking about it!

Your phone is your worst enemy when it’s revision time. At the very least, put your phone on Airplane Mode to stop the notifications. If that doesn’t stop you picking it up every five minutes, remove it from the room altogether – put it in your sibling’s room, hide it in the kitchen or encourage your cat to sleep on top of it – making it difficult for you to access it. It won’t miss you! (The phone, I mean… although your cat probably won’t be too bothered either.) 

3. Make a plan, Batman

Hmm… what should I study now… hmm…

Sound familiar? I have often spent a good five minutes deciding what topic would be most beneficial to study next, by which point I have lost all motivation to work and consider myself worthy of a break for the strenuous task of getting out my books. Instead, set aside ten minutes to make yourself a proper plan for the week or the month; today, I will revise Topic 1 of Subject A. This afternoon, let’s make a start on Topic 1 of Subject B. Tomorrow, I’ll start with Subject C before finishing off Topic 1 of Subject A.

Know what you want to get done, write it down so you don’t forget it, and get to work as soon as you sit down. 

4. Shaken, not stirred

Notice how confusing my plan was in Tip 3? That’s the way it should be. Revising all of a topic at once may seem logical but you’ll end up ignoring it for the next few weeks, instead learning other topics until you forget the original one. Uh oh.

So, don’t be afraid to mix it up a little! Start revising a topic on Monday, then on Wednesday, test yourself on what you’ve already learned. Next Tuesday, go over everything you’ve studied about that topic and then finish it off. On Friday, test yourself on the whole thing! As long as you get into a consistent pattern like this, you should be well prepared for your final exams. 

5. Brain dump 

Find a blank page. Write the name of a topic you’ve been studying at the top of it (for example, “the nervous system”). Then: go!

Scribble down everything you know about that topic. Trust me, it may be hard at first but once you get started, just stay with it and it’ll come flowing out. When you’ve written down everything you know, look back at your notes and you’ll easily be able to see the gaps in your knowledge.

6. Brain dump… on a person (ew!)

Find a friend. Or a family member. Or your cat (not the one sitting on your phone, as that may be a distraction). Like you did with the blank page, spew out everything you know about a topic to that person, or try to teach them it. What’s more, encourage them to ask questions so that they can understand it too – if you find you’re struggling to explain it, you probably don’t know it well enough yourself. Once you’re done, make that person (and yourself) a cup of tea. You both deserve it. 

7. Quiz yourself

There are plenty of apps out there designed for revision quizzes. On most, you can make virtual flashcards of your notes, and it’ll test you on them.

Alternatively, you can test yourself on other people’s online flashcards (just make sure they’re doing the same exam board as you, otherwise they may have a different specification). As a bonus, you can get these apps on your phone, so you can trick yourself into thinking it’s a game – plus you can do it on the bus, at the dentist or on the toilet (hey, each to their own). 

8. All hail past papers

Past papers are the cornucopia of revision, and you don’t need to fight anyone for them – they’re all online.

Firstly, you get to see what your paper will actually look like – that way it’ll be less intimidating in the exam, and you’ll know your way around it. Secondly, you can see what sort of questions they’re really going to ask, and how they’re going to ask them. Sure, you can swallow the entire textbook, but knowing how to apply it to a question is key to getting the marks. Lastly, they come with mark schemes. Try doing a past paper and then look at the mark scheme to see what grade you would get and, more importantly, what the answers are.

9. Remember why you’re doing this

Revision can suck. It can really, really suck. But do you know what doesn’t suck? Getting into your dream university. Acing that exam. Doing yourself proud. Yeah, it’s pretty rubbish right now, but it’ll be so, so worth it in the end.

So write down your goals or even a cheesy motivational quote from Tumblr and stick it on your wall. Remember why you’re doing this. And if you don’t have a reason – if you’re doing this only because you have to – you can still do yourself proud by doing your best. Either way, turn off the TV and ignore House Stark; right now, Summer is Coming.

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