• Making a timetable or plan
• How do you revise?
• Useful revision activities
• Organising and using notes
• Use past exam questions
• Finally…keep positive
• Extra ideas
• Know yourself – habits, patterns
• Be flexible and realistic
• Keep in control
• Reflect – if it’s not going well, make changes
Making a timetable or plan
Making a plan takes time, but it’s a very important part of revision– it means having to make a
lot of decisions about how you are going to spend your time.
It helps to be as realistic as possible when you plan. Make a plan that fits with your
likes/dislikes, not something so ambitious that it is bound to fail.
• Work in small ‘chunks’ of time
• Plan which topics you will study on which days
• List tasks involved (checking notes, focus on questions, quick essay plans)
• Build in definite breaks – and when they finish
• Don’t try to cover too much too fast – be realistic, small chunks are best
• Keep half and whole days when you don’t revise – so they are available for emergencies
How do you revise? Pro-active strategies
Revision takes a lot of concentration and is intense – find strategies that help you keep ‘on
track’ and alert. Short periods of revision are usually best for this.
• Plan how to use the time even if it’s 15 minutes – make a ‘tick list’
• Use notes – see below
• Identify a key topic, mindmap what you know, identify what you don’t know and find it
• Only use books/articles to ‘fill gaps’ – scan for info. you need
• Revision works best when you really engage with the subject, if only for ten minutes at a time! Find what suits you
• Keep asking yourself questions
• Put things in your own words
Useful revision activities
• Re-write notes, to clarify ideas (but don’t overdo it!)
• Organise notes around particular questions, issues, themes
• Practise using your material flexibly ie to suit different exam questions
• Talk through an answer to a question – takes less time than writing
• Make up lots of short questions on a topic – and plan your answers
• Talk to students on your course – talking through/discussing topics really helps!
Organising and using notes
Don’t just re-read notes (passive learning) but think about what you can do with them (active learning)
• Sort through and highlight what’s essential
• Make notes on notes to help recall
• Reduce notes to key headings, points and references
• Make ‘master’ cards with key points and memory triggers
• Focus- ask questions, keep engaged e.g. ‘What does this mean? How does it relate to x? What is important about this theory/point?’ etc.
Use past exam questions
Look at these at the early stages of revising – that way, you will find out what you need to
revise, and can look at notes with more focus on particular issues.
• Use as a focus for your note organising
• Practise ‘de-coding’ the question
• Find links between exam questions and areas of study
• Check questions carefully –highlight key words, decode ‘jargon’
• Do quick plans/mindmaps for exam essays-time yourself
• Check/add points you can’t recall
• Practise prioritising-make decisions about what to leave out/put in
• Do at least one timed ‘exam’ essay – do with a friend, then discuss each other’s essay….very good for seeing how you get on in exam conditions
• Revision is tiring – give yourself lots of short breaks and rewards for getting things done.
• Studies suggest that we retain more at the start and finish of study sessions – so the more short sessions you have revising, the more you will remember…that’s the theory, anyway!
• Try to get enough sleep, a bit of exercise, and enough energy food. It helps concentration and state of mind.
Look at the ‘Learning Pay-Off’ sheet attached. Think about the ‘pay-off’ of the different revision activities. It’s a useful way of reflecting on revision – what’s effective and what isn’t. Bear in mind that a lot depends on your own style of learning…and build a revision plan that suits your style.
Use the ‘Revision: seven-point action plan’ sheet to develop your own methods and goals for revision – this can be a useful ‘focusing’ exercise, but be realistic – you can always change your action plan if it isn’t working as well as you hoped.
(high, medium low)
|1. Reading your lecture notes, handouts, books and articles over and over again.|
|2. Making summaries of your source materials as you read them.|
|3. Writing important things out over and over again.|
|4. Practicing writing out full essay answers.|
|5. Making essay plans for essay question possibilities.|
|6. Practising writing out answers to old exam questions.|
|7. Working out hundreds of short, sharp questions on your own and practising writing out answers to these.|
|8. Practising speaking the short answers to past questions and to short, sharp questions that you have written for yourself.|
9. Practising thinking through how you would answer questions.
|10. Practising solving problems.|
|11. Getting fellow students to quiz you and quizzing them.|
|Revision: seven-point action plan|
1. Positive state of mind e.g. checking my motivation; giving myself positive messages; working in stress; accepting the challenge. Things I will do to stay positive:
2. Time e.g. going over my work from early in the year in different ways; organising a timetable, Priority organiser (page 82) or Time circle for revision (page 80); dealing with my excuses for not revising; using spare moments. I will:
3. Variety e.g. working in many short spells; using varied and interesting ways of going over my material. I will:
4. Over-learning e.g. rewriting notes, index cards, new essay plans, memory triggers. I will:
5. Practice e.g. doing past questions; working under exam conditions; having a trial run. I will:
6. People e.g. sharing revision with other people where possible. I will:
7. Selection What topics will I revise? What level of detail can I really use under exam conditions? I will: