Top revision tips for exams

Viewed by many as one of the worst things they will ever have to do, the fact is that swotting or revising for exams needn’t be such a chore. It would seem that due to the time of year when GCSE’s and A and AS levels are held, BST may as well stand for British Swot Time, considering how little nervous students actually see of the sun. Help is at hand, however, with these top tips for revising to make the whole process more bearable.

To start, create a detailed revision timetable on at least an A3 sized piece of paper and post it somewhere prominent in the house. By going public, everyone else in the house knows where and when you will be studying, and by letting others know your plans it actually removes the pressure of having to motivate yourself. You will be more committed to your timetable knowing that everyone else is aware of it too.

There is an old saying that the early bird catches the worm, and in the same way that these wriggly soil dwellers are at their peak in the morning, facts are also more available and digestible in the early hours. Pick an early time to start and stick to, getting the bulk of your daily revision schedule out of the way when you are at your most alert and receptive means the info is most likely to stick, and you have the rest of the day to look forward to.

By questioning yourself when revising, you are bringing the facts to life rather than condemning them to a life of sluggish passiveness in your head. When making notes, instead of just writing down ‘1645- the Battle of Naseby’, ask yourself when the Battle of Naseby was, putting the name of the battle in one column and the answer in another. Cover the answers and keep popping back randomly to ask yourself the questions, giving yourself a small pat on the back every time you get them right.

Forget revising on your laptop or computer, however focussed you are to start off with, the temptation of the big wide world of the net will prove too much and you will abandon the agricultural revolution for a chat, or a browse or a game. Revision times should also be mobile free, so switch it off and leave it in another room.

Creating some easily remembered Mnemonics can be a boon to revising. If you don’t know what a Mnemonic is then think about this; what was the rhyme you learnt at school to remember the order the planets were in the solar system? That is a Mnemonic, and by creating your own some of the nastiest parts of the revision can be simplified.

Snacking is essential during long study periods; big meals will simply make you feel tired and sluggish. Take a leaf out of the book of the athletes at Wimbledon and the like and have a ready supply of potassium-rich bananas at hand to maintain both energy levels and receptiveness.