The internet is filled with study tips but different things work for different people. I would recommend trying several different methods and see which works best for you.
The first thing I would recommend is to create yourself a cosy study space at home. I’d advise against setting up your revision station in bed. The temptation to curl up and fall asleep can be very strong, particularly if it’s a boring topic. It might suit you not to study at home but go to the library, head into the garden or maybe just a quiet spot you go to.
Before you settle, make sure you’ve gone to the toilet, have all the books you need, grab drinks and snacks. Otherwise you’ll find any excuse to get up. Trust me. We have all been there. Wear comfy clothes, make sure you’re warm enough.
I’m a great fan of flash cards. Keep them simple and the information on them short. Just note the key points rather than endless paragraphs. They are great to take out and about with you so you can revise on the bus or train home. You might want to put them up around the house in places you go regularly and read them each time you go there (e.g. bathroom mirror, snack cupboard).
Test Each Other
I personally revise better on my own but I know for a lot of people it can be beneficially to revise with friends or partners. This is a good place to use flashcards, you can test each other. You may want to set up your own quiz show based on your exam revision.
I didn’t do a revision planner when I did my GCSEs and A Levels but think my results would have been better if I had. I’m now using a revision planner for my NEBOSH exams and it is making a great difference. My splitting up the topics you need to revise and having set areas to cover and certain times, you shouldn’t miss anything. Without a plan it can be easy to focus too much in one area and you may miss some important information.
There are amazing apps out there designed to help you revise. Quizlet is a popular one. It’s a free app and there are lots of study materials on there. There’s tests and notes. I’d really recommend it for most subjects.
Pretend you’re Teaching
This is a technique I always do. I walk around the house talking through what I have just learnt, repeating it again and again, act like I’m teaching (I don’t know what the people walking past must think!). Teach these topics to a friend, parent or partner, even the dog. Whatever works for you.
Ensuring your notes have all the information you need to know is vital. It is pointless revising from incorrect information. Try and make sure your notes are detailed and complete.
When you’re in class or making notes from a topic you are reading up at home, make your notes appealing. Use different colours, draw diagrams, use post-its for important info. Anything that makes your notes stand out and keep your attention when you are reading them back through again.
Notes always seem to be more detailed and better laid out if you convince yourself that you are writing them for someone else. Try it…
I’m definitely a huge fan of past papers. You can put yourself under timed conditions but without the stress of it being a real exam so you get a feel for how long to spend on short questions, how long to spend on essay questions etc. It is also gives you an opportunity to see how the exam is likely to be set out and the kind of detail in answers they will be expecting.
Schedule yourself some regular breaks and in those breaks do something that is completely away from studying. Maybe go for a walk, treat yourself to a Facebook break, listen to some music, watch your favourite programme. I tend to go outside in the garden and play fetch with Duke for 10-15 minutes.
Read a whole chapter before you start revising certain parts. Something might start off as really hard and confusing and you can get worked up about it but it might well be explained by the end of the chapter.
Definitely turn off all distractions. Ask someone to hide your phone, the remote control – whatever is likely to distract you. Facebook will wait.
Don’t spend time revising what you already know. You know it! So try something that you find that bit harder.
Get enough sleep. You won’t do well being up all night studying. All-nighters have been proven to have a negative effect on your grades.
Break everything into chunks. Don’t try and get through a whole physics text book in one day! Spend an hour on physics, then maybe after a break sometime on geography, etc.
For some topics, it might be worth having a look on Youtube to see if there is a video with some relevant information. Doing my NEBOSH at the moment, there’s definitely some videos on there that will help.
Times New Roman is the easiest font to read so if you find an interesting article online but the font is odd, copy and paste it into a Word document and change the font to Times New Roman.
Exercising before you start to study has been found to keep you more alert during your revision. Maybe take a walk down to the local shop to treat yourself to some chocolate as a study reward for later on.
Try not to worry too much about the exams. Yes, they are important but I am yet to find an exam that cannot be retaken or that will cause the end of the world if you don’t pass!
Good Luck in all your exams. Let me know how your exams go and any study tips that works for you.