1. Identify strengths and areas for improvement What do you need to get better at? It is easier to revise a subject which you enjoy and are good at but your revision ought to be focused where there is greatest need. A syllabus/ curriculum checklist will help with this – class teachers will provide this information.
2. Study in small chunks Revision will be more effective if study sessions for each subject are for a short period and repeated regularly. An effective plan might involve studying one subject for around 45 minutes before having a break for 10-15 minutes. It is best advised to then switch subjects and revise something different for the next 45 minutes before having a longer break prior to the next revision period. It is vital to re-revise previous topics on a regular basis – reading something once is not revision!
3. Create a plan It is essential to detail the amount of time available for revision and to specifically plan which subjects to work on and when. When a plan is displayed on a kitchen noticeboard or bedroom door, others will then know when revision is in progress and can try to avoid disturbances. This will help reduce stress levels and pressure from friends and family.
4. Create a good working environment For study time to be effective you will need a suitable environment with space for books as well as room to work. Fresh air and natural light will help where possible. Feeding your brain is also important, have a glass of water available and a healthy snack – bananas are a good option.
5. Understand your learning style Different people learn in different ways. Choose revision methods best suited to your learning. You might want to: Create colour coded revision cards or diagrams to display; record your notes on an MP3 player and play them often; act out scenes from literature / history; put key information on notes around your room or in the hallway between rooms.
6. Avoid distractions Whilst some learners find it helpful to play music whilst revising, it will help if there are no other distractions, turn off your mobile phone, log off Facebook and Twitter.
7. Focus on understanding Try to develop your understanding of a topic rather than simply memorising rules / dates etc. Understanding is much deeper and time spent on this will enable quicker recall and a more logical approach to answers.
8. Look at past papers By looking through past papers you can familiarise yourself not only with the content but also with the style of the questions. Most exam boards publish the mark schemes and past papers which will give you a huge amount of information about common mistakes to be aware of – again class teachers should be your first source for these materials.
9. Don’t forget exam skills Remember that passing exams is not just about knowing the curriculum inside out, you will also need to be able to structure an essay, follow ideas through logically and perhaps most importantly manage your time effectively. Include time to practice all of these skills within your revision timetable.
10.Be positive It is easy to become disheartened and demotivated, to feel that it is an uphill struggle and that you’ll never get the result you want – banish these thoughts ! With a realistic plan and a determination to stick to it, you can achieve your aims – BE POSITIVE !