Let’s face it – revision is a chore.
Even with a perfectly planned revision timetable that spans your entire week, you’re going to be struggling not to pick up your phone and procrastinate after three hours of Physics.
How can you combat the urge to just stop revising altogether? Well, much of your revision is likely to be repetitive fact retention and regurgitation, which makes for some pretty boring study sessions. In this post, we cover the top five techniques for making revision interesting (not to mention effective).
- Find out which type of learner you are!
Studies have suggested that there are three main kinds of learner:
Visual learners enjoy visual projects and presentations, and will remember what they read and write.
They best understand information when they can see it, which is why revising as a visual learner should involve graphs, mind-maps, lots of colour, and visual memory aids.
Auditory learners enjoy classroom environments and discussions within small groups. They understand information best when they hear it, meaning they remember oral instructions well and remember information that has been spoken to them.
Revising as a visual learner should include discussions between groups of learners, music association, and reading things out loud in order to commit them to memory.
- Tactile (Kinesthetic)
Tactile learners enjoy using tools or lessons involving physical action and practical participation.
They remember information best once they’ve associated it with a movement. Revising as a tactile learner will likely involve movement (i.e. walking around as you recite facts), music in the background, and taking frequent breaks so as not to become bored.
Once you’ve worked out which learning style you resonate with most, you’ll be able to tailor your revision techniques to those that work best for you as an individual.
- Test your friends and have them test you
Sometimes, the best way to learn is to re-teach the information you’ve already been taught.
However, most revision is completed outside of the classroom and in your own time, which makes it difficult to ask a teacher for their input.
By teaching your friends, you prepare yourself for the ultimate memory test: knowing a topic well enough to present it. You’ll also have to rethink your own answers as you grade your friend’s, which will further prompt your memory and make you ‘think in exam mode’.
There’s a reason sticking post-it-notes everywhere is a popular revision technique – it works. Put them everywhere you can, and fill them with all the topics you’re actively trying to avoid.
Need to remember the general equation of a circle? Post-it-note on the shower door. French verb tenses? On your favourite snack in the fridge. Worried you’ll forget the important dates of the Cold War? Stick ’em on the ceiling above your bed and read them every night before you sleep.
Not only will post-it-notes help jog your memory intermittently, but they’ll help you associate places and colours with different facts. In the exam, visualise walking around your house and try to remember the post-it-notes you put in different places. This technique works for all kinds of learners because it’s visual, involves movement, and can be read out loud.
- Use triggers
Our brains are great at association, which is why using sense triggers can be so useful.
How does this revision technique work? Well, you choose a trigger for your studying environment that can be replicated in the exam. This could be a particular perfume that you choose to wear, a certain t-shirt you get dressed in specifically for one subject and its corresponding exam, or a piece of music you can recall easily that you play whilst revising for one subject.
Don’t choose triggers that won’t be easily replicated in the exam; such as a particular drink or food (there’s no way you’ll be allowed to bring your favourite snack into an exam hall). By associating particular subjects with certain triggers, you’ll be able to jog your memory during the exam in an effective and focused manner.
- Walk it out!
Revision shouldn’t leave you isolated in your bedroom for hours on end. This can lead to major depressive episodes, as well as demotivation – neither of which is conducive to a successful studying environment.
By going outside to study, you give yourself room to breathe. Vitamin D is also a healthy addition to your study time, and will make you feel a little brighter after hours spent poring over books and flashcards.
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