With exam period approaching fast for many students, I thought I would share my experiences whilst revising for exams. It is almost eight years since I last took an exam - but I now have to take some more in a few weeks’ time and it has made me think about what went well, what went badly - and, in hindsight, what I should have done differently!
Looking back, I can see many changes in the way I’m revising now to how I approached it way back then....
We all hit peaks and troughs when revising, sometimes we feel really motivated and other times we slack off. This is one of the first things I remember clearly whilst studying. The times I look back on which were really tough and stressful were always the times when I hadn’t spread out my work evenly and I was cramming - which leads me to the obvious number one tip:
Plan your time
Don’t leave everything to the last minute and timetable your revision sessions! I only ever did one “all-nighter” and can categorically say it didn’t work. It sent the rest of my sleeping patterns into disarray and left me feeling more tired and less motivated to work on subsequent days. With my next lot of exams coming up, I have spread the workload across several weeks, and can honestly say I feel a lot less stressed leading into these exams than I did in the past.
I love to exercise and do so most days. Exercise is a great way to relax your mind during a revision break, and it also keeps the brain and body stimulated, which helps to make your revision sessions more effective. Even a ten to fifteen minute walk will re-invigorate your mind and make you feel more prepared to absorb those vital facts and figures. Try to walk/run in quieter places where there is less noise and mayhem to distract your mind, and eat the right food to keep your energy levels up. Not only will this help your revision, but you'll also get the bonus of being in shape for the post-exam summer break!
Don’t entirely shut yourself away! Although revision is often seen as tedious, and a lonely activity, I remember many enjoyable times spent with my fellow students, revising in study groups. These forged strong, long-lasting friendships that have endured to this day. We helped each other through the tasks, and it made revision feel like less of a burden and actually quite fun, it’s sounds nerdy, but let’s be honest we’d all rather be successful in our exams and have fun doing it, than fail and be miserable about the results. Activities such as reading to each other and testing back can be really useful - but you do have to be careful not to digress and just end up gossiping! It's best to limit group study to not more than forty minutes at a time, just like solo study, and give yourselves breaks and targets.
Well there you have it -a lot of the time we all know what we “should” be doing but just need a reminder. I hope this helps, and best of luck to all students this summer!
Take a look at our student revision help video below and page for more study tips on how to prepare for exams.