How to Revise

Does the thought of revision get your hands clammy and boggle your mind?

With so many revision techniques at your fingertips it can be really overwhelming to know how to revise.

It’s important to remember that different revision techniques work for different people, so don’t beat yourself up if what works for your friends doesn’t quite work for you.

With this in mind, it is possible to find the most effective way to revise and to lean into this to achieve the best possible results.

How do you revise?   

To know how to revise you need to first know what kind of learner you are. Are you a visual learner? An auditory learner? Are you a kinaesthetic learner who needs to learn through experience or do you learn best through reading and writing?

Once you know how you learn, you can nail how to revise. Lean into the methods that support your learning style. For example, if you are a visual learner then try incorporating diagrams into your revision time.

So let’s kick off by diving into the top nine steps to revise effectively.

9 steps to revise effectively

1. Start early

When it comes to effective revision, first things first, you need to start early. How early depends on when your exams are, but keep in mind that the earlier you start the less stress you’ll feel to cover all the topics and subjects in time.

2. Create a revision space

Clear your desk, make sure you are comfortable at your seat and have a glass of water and snacks to hand. Remove all distractions and make sure there is plenty of light for your perfect revision space.

3. Plan

Sometimes just the thought of revision can be overwhelming. This is where a proper plan comes in handy. Plan out your week ahead of time so that each day you wake up and know exactly what you need to cover. If you set yourself targets you have something to work towards in each study session. Proper preparation helps to prevent poor performance and will boost your confidence.

4. Find your method

Find the method of learning that works best for you. Remember that active learning is the most effective way to revise. Reading or re-writing your notes just won’t cut it. Instead create flash cards, mind maps, record yourself and replay it, even discuss your ideas with friends and family. Find an active revision process that works best for you and lean into it.

5. Vary your subjects throughout the day

Let’s be honest, if you have a full day of your least favourite subjects ahead of you, it certainly isn’t motivational. In addition to this, when we only focus on one subject then we tend to get bored, we become disengaged and are less productive. Plan your day so that you can do both your favourite and least favourite subjects on the same day.

6. Test yourself

You can access past papers and quizzes online or from teachers, and you can use these to test yourself after you have completed a section. Not only will this help you to identify what you know and don’t know, it is also a great way to improve your memory, retention and recall skills.

7. Tell others about what you’ve learnt

There is a lot of power behind sayings things aloud. Not only will it re-affirm the information for yourself but telling others will also quickly reveal if you have a solid understanding of the topic. If there are any areas you’re unsure about you can revisit them during your exam preparation time.

8. Take breaks

Revision is a marathon and not a sprint. Between each subject area make sure that you take short breaks. Even better, try the Pomodoro technique which is explained below. Approach your revision in bite-sized chunks so that your exam preparation time is more focused, productive and thus effective.

9. Sleep & Be mindful

So simple, yet so easily forgotten to prioritise. Your brain needs time to rest and digest all the things you’ve learnt throughout the day. A good night’s sleep not only helps with your focus and attention but it also helps improve your mood. Whilst the exam preparation period is a stressful time remember that no matter how it may feel, you are not alone and this time won’t last forever.

How many hours a day do you revise?

This is a question with so many answers. Truthfully, no one else can really answer this but you. At the end of each day or study session, ask yourself if you feel like you have done the best that you can for that day. No one will expect anything more than that.

Nevertheless, sometimes looking out to a full day ahead of revision and exam preparation can feel daunting and overwhelming. A proper plan can help here.

Instead of looking out into the abyss of all the topics you need to revise, plan in a specific time slot for each subject. Break it down even further, with each topic within that subject.

Once you know what subject you are going to focus on, then consider how you’re going to structure your day. Why not try the Pomodoro technique. For this, you revise for a set period of time, such as 50 minutes, and then immediately follow it with a break for 10 minutes. These bite-size fifty-minute revision sessions seem a lot more manageable than a looming full day of revision.

How do I force myself to revise?

Some days are just harder than others when it comes to revision and exam preparation. So when you find yourself staring at a blank piece of paper or wishfully looking out of the window, it’s time to get up and get moving.

Get the blood pumping around your body and get some fresh air. This could be a short walk with your dog, a run or even a quick game of tennis. It has been scientifically proven that short breaks will improve levels of focus. Not only is it great for your productivity but it is also a great way to break up your revision topics.

In addition to this, find a way to make revision fun. Everyone has those one or two subjects that they just do not enjoy. That is completely normal. So mix up your revision methods and try something new like teaching a friend or family member about a topic.

Instead of trying to force yourself to revise, why not incentivise yourself to revise. Use an incentive, such as chatting with a friend, having some chocolate, or going outside, to treat yourself after you have done your revision for the day. So if you don’t do it, then you don’t get a treat!

So there you have it. Our top tips on how to revise during the exam period. Keep these in mind and keep calm during this time. It won’t last forever and it will be worth all the hard work. Prioritise some nice breaks, plenty of fresh air and a good night’s sleep and you’re well on your way.