The Collins English dictionary defines revision as 'reading again'. "When people who are studying do revision, they read things again and make notes in order to prepare for an examination."
Reading and understanding your exam material a few times is definitely advised, but have you made sure you have set time aside to finish reading through it even once?
Some students will procrastinate for weeks and then pull out their books at the last minute to start cramming for their exams. This puts pressure on them to get through all the material in a very short space of time. By the time they have made it through everything the first time, they are either too exhausted or too stressed out to consider going through it all over again. Either that, or they’ve run out of time as they are reading through the last few pages on the way into the exam hall.
Revision is important for two main reasons.
Recalling: It helps your brain retain information especially facts, figures and terms that you first learned weeks if not months earlier. Going over these a few times, helps your brain recall them more easily.
Confidence: If you approach revision the right way, it will give you the confidence you need to achieve your highest possible mark. Your mind will not be clouded by anxiety and self-doubt because you will know that you have prepared well and are ready for whatever the exam will bring.
How Do Our Brains Like to Learn?
To revise effectively, it helps to understand how our brains learn best.
Patterns: Our brains look for patterns in information. We remember information better when it’s categorised into patterns that make sense to us. By finding connections between the information, our brain starts creating patterns, and those patterns help us to recall the information more easily. That’s why mind-maps and acronyms are so useful when trying to remember a lot of information.
Teaching: Teaching the information to others also helps your brain organize information by creating small lists which are easily recalled when you need them. Teaching also helps you to identify if you are unclear about anything because if you can’t teach it, you don’t understand it.
Small Batches: Our brains also prefer to learn in small batches. Cramming is not a good idea for anyone as too much information overwhelms the brain and most of the information is not retained or easily recalled. After more than 30 minutes of intense learning, most people start to lose focus and the mind begins to wander. Your brain will also start getting tired if you’re cramming when you should be sleeping.
Sleep: Sleep helps you to consolidate and organize everything you’ve learned so you can remember it when you need to. Sleep should never be ignored or not made a priority – especially during exam time.
Revision Timetable: To counter all the negative effects of cramming, running out of time or feeling stressed before an exam, we recommend following a revision timetable. Just like your exam timetable tells you where, when and how long your exam will run for, your revision timetable will tell you where, when and how long you need to revise each subject so you are prepared and confident when the time comes to write your exams.
By mapping out your studies in a revision timetable, you will have a better understanding of what you need to do in the time you have, to ensure you cover all the material. If there is a lot, you will know when you need to start to ensure you get through it all. You will also be able to prioritise the subjects that you feel need more revision.
We have created a FREE downloadable revision timetable for you. Hopefully your notes are organized into summaries to make it quicker and easier to revise. Jot down the subjects you plan to revise on each given day and then hang this timetable on your bedroom wall. Seeing it every day will help you to stay motivated and stick to the plan.
If you feel you need more help structuring your revision, we have exam prep courses for DSE, AS & A-Levels, AP and IBDP. For more information on our 2021 all year courses, please call us at +852 2383 0300 or WhatsApp +852 9298 3538.
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