My tips for exam revision

Picture this: You come home from college/university, you walk up to your room, unload all your things onto the floor, ready to just chill out... but then you look at your desk. Revision notes, the feeling of panic of looming exams, unfinished coursework scattered about. No need to picture that however, as I have some tips for you!

It’s that time of year again! Like many, my life right now consists of examinations and coursework. It is easy to feel like there is just too much to do at this point in the year, with each coursework and exam potentially deciding an important result. But hopefully by sharing some tips for exam practice and dealing with the pressure, I can help show that not all is lost and we can all get through this (if a little worse for wear at the end).

Doing the Revision

When it comes to actually doing the revision, I think it is important to note that everyone revises better in different ways. I’ll go through how I revise best, but I hope to offer a bit more in each section.

Going over the notes

First thing for all revision: Going over the notes. Now I find it helps me to actually rewrite notes in a different format. I am personally partial to the “colourful flashcards” approach. Using my “What is foreign Policy?” flashcard from last terms exam, I breakdown each lecture into subcategories with the important points added on. Each colour representing a different category.

This is just one way, some people are better at just outright rewriting or drawing spider diagrams, using post it notes, typing it up etc. Doesn’t matter which way, as long it goes in!

How long? – Keeping it fresh

One of the biggest problems can be that you always feel that you haven’t revised or done enough work, so how long am I supposed to revise for? Well personally I revise in long chunks, with breaks every hour. After every two or three hours, I change the topic I revise for. If I am revising the role of realism in the international system for instance, I will swap to doing work on Japanese spirituality to freshen things up.

Group Revision

Group revision isn’t something personally I find myself great at. I find that I get distracted easily with my friends and sometimes we can end up just talking about whatever happened last weekend or some such. But group revision does have its advantages. Someone may pick up on something you missed, you can test each other, and it is in general less soul destroying boring than solo revision can be.

Swap out the scenery

It gets seriously boring being in the same place day in, day out. I like to swap the scenery around, nothing major, just a change of building, or going outside in the sun (which we have had a surprisingly good amount of here in Plymouth).

Dealing with the stress

So revising itself isn’t too difficult most of the time, but dealing with the stress that comes with the looming deadlines can be far worse. So then how do I deal with that? Two words: Lazer. Tag. A new found hobby of mine, but it really does just let the stress out.

Okay, while not for everyone, the point is to just take a day out to enjoy yourself. If your stressed your work may not be up to scratch. You’ll find yourself becoming moody and not wanting to revise.

Another aspect of this is proper rest in terms of sleep. You don’t want to be tired, it makes revising that much more hard to do. My personal method for making sure I get enough sleep is to not do any work for at least an hour before bed. That is time for bed time snacks, and binge watching Netflix. Go on...have a lie in.

Friends and family

With all the work due, and at the risk of sounding cheesy, it is worth remembering to not put every other part of life on hold. Go out with friends, chill out with the family for a bit. I mean, family are obligated to listen to you moan at least for a little bit right? While I am joking, they will help you deal with this dreaded time of year, so let them.

That’s all for this week, time for me to go back to my revision after talking about it so much!