My exams are starting shortly, 45 days to be exact, not that I want to be reminded, which means I’ve started revision. Not very successfully but the thought was there! I’d aimed to have done so much more than I have by now but oops, I guess I lost track of time!
Revision isn’t something you can avoid until you get into a steady job with no aim of progressing through studying so the earlier you can learn what works for you, the better.
I’m not going to talk to you today about how to revise because I don’t necessarily know that myself yet, there are so many supposedly useful methods out there I just try everything, but I’ll talk to you about things that will help you revise. These tips are generalised tips for any revisions circumstances so whether you’re doing your first lot of revision even for your very last exams, I hope these tips will be useful to you!
- Wake up early. It’s easy on exam leave or if you’re revising during the holiday to you wake up whenever and then get started with revision. Now I’m not a late sleeper but even if I wake up at 9, I’ve already missed at least an hour that I could be revising. I suggest waking up at ‘normal’ time, as if you have school to go to. Get dressed and have breakfast and be ready to start at 8. This means you can have more breaks later on and feel as if you’ve actually worked hard that day.
- I touched on this above but eat a good breakfast. If your stomach is rumbling constantly, it will distract you! I’m sometimes guilty of not eating as much as I should but I never miss breakfast, it’s an essential to my day!
- Always turn your phone off and give it to someone to look after or put it in a different room. As much as I know that I won’t work if I have my phone nearby, I still struggle so much to not go on it as revision is sooo boring! If I give it to my mum I know she’ll give it back if I ask for it but that she won’t be happy if I ask while I’m meant to be doing revision. It just removes the possibility of me being able to play on my phone which I pretend I don’t do instead of school work but let’s be real!
- Schedule in snack breaks. One of my friends who did her GCSEs last year told me that the time she put on the most weight in her life was during exam leave and at the moment, I can definitely see where she’s coming from! I’m eating soo much, it’s insane! If you have a specific time designated to eating, it stops you from getting distracted by the thought of food at other times. I boredom eat which basically means I keep getting up to get more food just so I’m doing something interesting even if I’m completely full of food!
- Have a revision timetable. This was somewhere I went wrong in my mock exam revision, I did start off with a timetable but everything took longer than I expected and so I didn’t stick to it. I found that only revised the topics I enjoyed, not things like physics. Make sure you write your timetable in pen so you can’t alter it when you want a break!
- Have a countdown to the start of exams, end of exams and results day. No matter how much people told me this year would fly by, I didn’t believe them, but wow, it’s flown by!! It’s easy to think that the exams are weeks or months away when actually they’re not far away! If you have a countdown yo can keep reminding yourself every time you want to take an unscheduled break. There are plenty of apps or websites that do countdowns or you could just have a calendar to cross off every time you go to bed.
- Drink loads of water. I only drink water but I don’t drink enough of it, however I am working on my water intake. Water keeps your brain working and stops headaches and makes you feel more awake. (Also, if you really want to skip revision, drink water makes you need the toilet more, hence more breaks!)
- Make sure you have everything you need in your revising space. By this I mean pens, pencils, rulers, paper of every kind, flashcards, revision guides, school books…. It stops you from having the excuse to wander around the house to ‘find’ the stuff you need.
- If you’re ill, take a break. Over Christmas, when I was revising, I was ill and just felt generally terrible but I carried on working and couldn’t get rid of it. Therefore, my next piece of advice is, if you’re ill, take a break and put all your efforts into beating your illness. There’s nothing worse then doing an exam while ill! I mean, don’t do nothing, maybe if you do English Literature, you could re-read the book but probably from your bed filled with medicine!
- Get dressed everyday. I first saw this on someone else’s blog a year or so ago, sorry, I can’t remember who but I’ve remembered it everyday. It’s important to get dressed everyday into something comfortable but smart. If you get dressed in something loungey and lazy or don’t get dressed at all (I mean PJs, cheeky!), you will act and feel loungey and lazy. By making sure you get dressed everyday, you’re more likely to actually get stuff done!
- Revise with a friend. If you have a friend who’s particularly great at, let’s say, biology and you’re not good at that but you are good at chemistry which is their weak subject, you can help each other to revise. I understand that you just want to hang out without the revision but you could meet up in the afternoon, you could do 2 hours of revision and then 2 hours of ‘hanging out’ once you’ve finished revision for the day.
- Or, if you can’t do that, teach someone/anyone. Basically, you understand topics much better if you’re questioned on them so teach someone about your topic, maybe your mum or dad or sibling and get them to ask questions and ask questions about anything they don’t understand. Or if no one’s free to listen to you get a pet or teddy and explain it to them. Speaking it out loud really helps especially for spotting areas of your course you really can’t explain out loud but thought you could when you said it in your head.
- Make use of any extra revision you can. This is easier when you’re not on holiday but say that your school does extra revision sessions for anyone who wants to go, go along! It might be the worlds most boring thing but just remember the extra step you’ll have over people who didn’t go. Ultimately, trying to get good grades is just a matter of beating someone else to get the little boost to get better grades so anything you can do to get that edge over them will help you.
- If you’re listening to music, make it plain. Words tend to distract you, so listen to something plain like piano music. It doesn’t have to be boring but not sing-along-able! I know piano music probably isn’t nearly as fun but sorry, do you want good grades or not!?
- Make use of everything online. I’m aiming to do a post on websites and apps to help with revision so look out for that but there’s so much available on the amazing thing we call the internet which will help with revision. YouTube is something I personally find so useful and you can find really helpful videos on virtually any topic you’re struggling or videos on how to revise.
- Revision songs are a must! I find memorising lyrics to songs so useful so I love researching for songs to help me remember stuff like the ‘electromagnetic song’ or any songs to help me remember physics equations. Have a search, the songs out there are catchy and make revision a little bit more fun. If you can learn every word of Ed Sheeran’s new song, you can learn every word of something that is only 30 seconds long. I’m sure some of them deserve to be on the Top 50 Charts for creativeness if not singing ability!!
- Set yourself reasonable goals. Decide what you want to achieve in each subject and work your butt off to get those results and if you think you’ve done enough, aim for the next grade up until you can’t work any harder. Obviously make the grades achievable, don’t aim to get an A* if you got an F in coursework but don’t set your aims to low.
- Take a break. Working 12 hours everyday might be successful for a short time but then, it will stop working. You need breaks. Maybe one day you could go on a run or a walk, another day you could bake a cake or meet up with a friend for an hour or two. Don’t take too many breaks but don’t work flat out, it’s not good for your bodily health or mental health. There’s only so much you can do.
Finally good luck on any exams you do. And look out for my next few posts which are also on ‘Exam-related’ topics!
‘Hard Work Pays Off’
(The aim of this post is to help as many people as I can, so if you found this useful, please share it!)