Don't just revise; here's a plan that works!
Revision can be tough I won’t lie, especially if you’re dealing with a subject that you find difficult to grasp. In this article, I attempt to put together a few of my personal experiences and top tips I picked from reading around, about how to do effective revision. Knowing how to revise effectively can be helpful beyond academic exams, so rest assured that the time invested in it is never wasted. If you are too busy to read the details in this piece, have a skim through; a grasp of the subject should suffice.
Starting early reduces stress and anxiety
Begin your revision in class, seminars, or any tutoring session. Meetings like these ignite lightbulb moments and you are more likely to have a better understanding of the subject of discussion. Notes written in your own words and reflecting your ‘lightbulb’ moments are some of the most effective revision resources. You would have validated those notes with your peers or lecturers in class and because you wrote it yourself, you are most likely to have a better understanding. Research shows that starting your revision early reduces, if not eliminate stress and anxiety associated with examinations. Less stress means better results and better well-being. Starting your revision early will help you identify your weaknesses and gives you plenty room to either seek clarity or engage with learning material that gives you a better understanding. You can still do this nearer to the exams but it's way better if you gave yourself room to operate freely. Remember, anything can happen at the last minute!
Planning your revision makes you super-productive!
It won’t take a moment to put a plan on paper or on your phone, give it an hour or two. Start by identifying your most productive time of the day. I prefer to work at midnight and at dawn. Find yours and study at that time. You can get so much done even if it’s a few hours but your most productive moments. As part of your plan, write down your revision goals and cancel them out as you achieve them. There’s a deep sense of satisfaction that comes with canceling out the achieved items off your to-do lists. This is good for your mental state during exams! Finally, be deliberate and focus on the parts you find most challenging.
Reflect on your class/revision notes
Remember the notes I mentioned at the start of the article? Make sure to have a reflective look, add any other notes or learning material. If past papers are relevant to your course, find and engage with them.
Test yourself and record your progress.
After you have done the revision, you need to revert to the goals you set at the beginning to check if you have achieved them all. Do not be too hard on yourself but don’t make excuses either. Genuinely evaluate how you have met your goals by either writing out what you have learned without referring to your notes or discuss with your friends. If you are alone, do a monologue and pretend to be explaining what you have learnt to someone else. You can even record yourself on your phone. If you find that you did not grasp it, try re-writing, just to be sure.
Are you a loner or a groupie? Maybe you fall somewhere in between, like me. Everyone is different and effective learning means different things to people. Some people are more effective when they learn in a group but others prefer to be alone in silence. That said, group studies have proven to be very efficient, so who says you can’t have both? Whilst you're at it, remember that taking breaks are very important and will improve your productivity. Do something you love during the break. I love a power nap, a brief walk or water and music. You can try the Pomodoro system to improve your focus and breaks Pomodoro Timer Online - Pomofocus.
Most importantly, know what distracts you the most and move heaven and earth to stay away from them! Also, ensure to eat and sleep well. These impact your general wellbeing and keep you going.
To conclude, if you're finding that your academic studies are causing you stress, anxiety, or you feel you need further support, you are not alone. The university provides various provisions for dealing with student life. If you would like to find out more information on looking after your own wellbeing then make sure to visit the Student Intranet to find a wealth of resources to help you manage your emotional, mental and physical health. This includes specific resources and guidance on coping with your studies. If you’re not sure where to start, email firstname.lastname@example.org and they can refer you to the service that is right for you.
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