Revision habits to set you up for uni
The internet is awash with advice on revising effectively. Much of it is good sense, and teachers will be urging their students to do the age-old things like starting it early, planning it out with a timetable that has goals and sensible downtime, and so on.
Some advice out there is questionable, but hey, if it works then so much the better:
- Bizarre revision methods - http://university.which.co.uk/advice/student-life/bizarre-but-effective-revision-methods
- The smell of rosemary “aids memory” - www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-39949193
Here are some less obvious things that pupils might take note of, and form into habits that will serve them well through to their university finals.
Eat, sleep, exercise
- Healthy eating helps the mind. And it doesn't have to be boring: www.theguardian.com/education/shortcuts/2017/may/15/healthy-takeaway-options-students
- Have a good breakfast.
- Take breaks and fill them with exercise to clear the mind and energise the body: www.independent.co.uk/student/student-life/top-10-revision-tips-for-your-final-or-first-year-exams-8576161.html
- Get enough sleep. It helps you assimilate what you've put into your brain. www.surrey.ac.uk/features/sleep-tips-exam-success and www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2192087/Revision-cramming-Sacrificing-sleep-study-make-worse-exams-homework.html
Revise in the morning
- When you're at your freshest, mentally, and the temptations are fewer: http://lifemoreextraordinary.com/study-skills/study-morning-or-night/
- Plus, isn't it great to reach the afternoon knowing that you're either finished, or almost finished?
- It's down to personal preference, of course, but if you do end up revising at night, don't sacrifice precious sleep for it.
- Check you're achieving your goals, and find out where your gaps are, by doing past papers or old exam questions.
- Get someone else to test you. But don't worry about how their revision is going, and don't give in to people who are going to be bad influences. Maybe use family members instead of friends? If they don't know the subject, you'll really have to explain yourself clearly – and it's a s if you're teaching them your subject, which helps your own recall.
- By doing past papers, you'll be applying what you've learned. That's how uni works - they don't just want facts regurgitated, they want students to take that knowledge and use it.
- Look at examiners' reports. These should be available wherever you find past papers on exam boards' websites, and will give insights into what examiners are looking for in good exam answers. As recommended here: http://university.which.co.uk/advice/ucas-application/revision-exams-making-the-grade
Switch up your study space
- You want to work somewhere with few distractions. Check in with social media every now and then when you have a break, but otherwise steer clear. Put your gadgets in a different room if you can – you don't want Netflix or YouTube taking away your focus or tempting you to have longer breaks than you intended.
- If you want to listen to music, make sure it's calming and not intrusive. As the Guardian points out here, music may not help at all: www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/2016/apr/19/students-revise-exams-revision-science
- Get lots of natural light. Move your furniture if you must. Tidy up and make the area comfortable, but not too comfortable.
- If you have noisy family life going on around you, think about decamping somewhere quieter and calmer, like your local library. Ideally, you should let your family know when and where you'll be revising and ask them not to disturb you.
Here are some more potentially useful links:
- Make a revision timetable that actually works: http://university.which.co.uk/advice/student-life/creating-a-revision-timetable-that-actually-works
- 20 game-changing revision tips: http://university.which.co.uk/advice/student-life/game-changing-revision-tips-we-tweeted-you-may-have-missed
- Nine ways to revise more effectively: www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/2016/apr/19/students-revise-exams-revision-science
- Revision techniques: the good, the OK and the useless: www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-22565912
Good luck! You got this.
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