7 Ways to Revise Effectively for Your Exams!
Seven handy tips to make a success of your exams!
1.) Write about your notes.
Get a topic list either by creating one from class notes or by asking your teacher. Next, for each topic write about everything you can remember from that topic either in a mind-map, a bullet point list, or a paragraph. Do this before you check your notes! This will give you a written list of everything you already know before you revise. Once you have done some revision, repeat this task beneath the previous one, or add to your original in a different colour pen. Now you’ll be able to see what you have learnt from revising your notes. Repeat this process until your list contains everything you need to know and has been written out purely from memory!
2.) Talk about your notes.
For each topic in a subject area, write out all of your notes onto one sheet of paper or compile a deck of cue cards which covers everything in the subject area. Test yourself on what you know verbally by reciting it out aloud to yourself in the mirror or to a study partner. Once you have recited everything you can remember about a topic, use your notes or cue cards to check that you have remembered everything. If you have missed something out, repeat the process to include the information that you forgot. This will consolidate that new information. Repeat this process every day.
3.) Teach It
In order to fully understand a concept it is important that you are able to explain it. Exams will expect you to be able to explain concepts and ideas in written form so you should practice explaining them. The best way to do this is to teach these concepts to someone else. Use notes as a prompt to teach a study partner, friend or parent a concept that you are trying to revise. If you don’t have anyone who is willing to listen, imagine you are explaining the concept to an alien and recite the explanation to them! If you miss something out or forget a key detail, make a note of it and focus on this in your revision. When you are confident that you can explain the concept to another individual without missing any details, write it out in a paragraph to consolidate what you have learnt.
4.) Test Yourself
You should test yourself and your knowledge regularly in order to make sure that you are making progress in your revision. By trying past exam questions, or exam-style questions, you will not only be able to test your progress, but you will also be able to practice exam conditions. Get past exam questions from a teacher or search for some on the internet. Make sure you set yourself strict timings for exam-style questions. Only allowing yourself the amount of time that you would be allotted in an exam is useful as you can practice answering questions quickly and under pressure. You will never be able to replicate exam conditions exactly, but try to mimic them as best as you can. Get a teacher to mark your practice exam questions or get your hands on a mark scheme that has the answers. These are usually available online.
5.) Practice Filling in Diagrams
Pop a blank diagram that you need to be able to label into a sturdy, clear poly pocket. Place the completed diagram in the poly pocket behind the blank copy. Using a dry wipe marker, fill in the blank diagram by writing the answers on the poly pocket. Once completed check your answers with the completed diagram behind and use it to fill in any missed labels. Wipe the answers off the poly pocket and repeat until you are able to label the diagram correctly from memory.
6.) Revising Maths
Obtain a topic list from a teacher, online or compiled from your class notes. You will need to find practice questions that have answers that you can refer to. You can obtain these from a teacher, a text book or an online resource. Work through these questions for each topic focussing on topics you find most difficult. Once you have completed a question, flip to the answers to check you have it right. If you don’t work through the question again to try and work out where you have gone wrong. There are plenty of videos on YouTube that work through how to successfully solve mathematical problems so use these if you are struggling. Identifying mistakes is crucial to making progress in maths—make the error now so that you don’t make it during the exam!
7.) Revising for English
The common excuse “you can’t revise for english,” is a myth. Don’t fall into the trap of not preparing for your english exam. In english, practice makes perfect. Take as much time as you can to practice your writing. For english language questions, go online and find your own articles to analyse. Find texts that are supposed to persuade the reader and explain (verbally or by writing it out) how they do this. Find texts on the same topic that say different things to practice comparing texts. Have a go at finding texts of varying type—your examiner won’t stick to articles so make sure you don’t either. Once you are confident that you understand how certain texts are put together to fulfill their purpose, have a go at writing them yourself. It is worth practicing your writing in exam conditions and with a time limit—the hardest part of an english exam is writing everything in the time provided. The more you rehearse this, the easier you will find it in the exam. Say what you want to write out loud before you put pen to paper, it makes writing so much easier!
For literature—revise the core themes, characters and contexts of the texts you are studying. The techniques suggested above can help here.
The most important thing to remember for success in exams is that you can’t revise from a shoddy set of notes! Make sure your notes cover EVERYTHING you need to know for the exam. Use a syllabus to ensure you know EXACTLY what you are required to know! Get one from a teacher, or find one online!