Five steps to getting your revision started

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Don't know where to begin?

Here are a five simple steps to provide the kick start you need to get going on the road to exam success.

1. Get your notes together

First things first – get all your notes together and make sure there are no gaps in your knowledge. Missed out on any lessons, or had a particularly rubbish supply teacher for a few weeks? Make sure you swot up on these topics, because you can bet that these are the very ones that will come up in the exam. 

You could borrow other people’s notes, go over your textbook, find YouTube videos on your subject – anything that ensures you have all the information you need. Once you’re sure you’ve got legible notes on all your topics, try organising them in a logical order so that they’re easily accessible if you need to refer back to them.

basicallykaya says: "For notes, as long as it seems, I re-write the textbook but in my own style,like in a way I would write it in an exam. No bullet points, abbreviations or shortened sentences. I write ALL of the necessary information in full sentences, but occasionally throw in banter/analogies for concepts that are harder for me to grasp.

"When I'm done actually writing notes, reading it out loud flows so easily, because it isn't the textbooks information anymore, its MINE and its personalised. I keep this all in one book rather than sheets in a folder, just preference though."

2. Past papers are your friend

Some people rely on past papers as their primary revision method and others use them in the few days immediately before the exam. Almost everyone will do a past paper at some point during their exam journey. 

There are loads available online as well as examiner’s reports and exam specifications – all this information will help you understand how to write the best possible exam answers.

burnatte4 says: "I went through as many past papers as I could first, but I did them timed and with no resources.then I marked them all! Then afterwards, all the ones I had failed, i would revise those topics and do the past-papers again."

3. Get a plan in place

Before you get going with revision, you need to plan it out. Make sure you leave enough time for all your subjects, that it’s all sensibly spaced out and that you allow yourself time to do fun things as well. 

Try developing your study timetable to reflect the way you’ll actually want to revise by using the spaced repetition method. This technique involves revising for a subject and committing it to memory, then coming back to the subject again and again after increased intervals of time to refresh your memory.

Lauren___e says: "I used spaced repetition for my A-level exams!

"For psychology I used it to learn psychologists names, as well as brief summaries of the studies. In maths I used it to memorise trig identities/product rule etc. and in physics I used it to learn the many definitions.

"I really feel like it did help me to learn it, I don't know how well I did in my exams yet but I would recommend using space repetition!"

4. Organise your stationery

Need flashcards? Highlighters? Coloured pens? Go shopping now and get them all in place before you begin to revise. Anything can (and will) distract you from revising once you’re trying to get into it, so having everything you need to hand will stop you taking a lengthy break from your revision to locate the stationery you need.

chloecrazy says: "For me personally, I have a ring binder for each subject, and then a lever arch for each subject also, so I can move across finished topics from the ring binder to the lever arch (it gets really heavy), loads of paper (loads), your typical pencil case, including highlighters, calculator for maths/sciences and
I like taking post it notes for English."

5. Know who's got your back

Revision season can be really stressful so it’s going to be especially important to have the support of your family, friends and teachers, especially if this is the first time you’ve gone through lots of formal exams. You could also organise a study group with some friends to help each other with difficult subjects and revision techniques.

Xero Xenith says: "My habit is to revise alone, even though there's people doing all my subjects just around the corner! I think it's just my mentality – I've always got the results I wanted from doing it alone, and TBH it's less effort than arranging a meeting time/place. 

That said, there's certainly benefits to revising with others – it's more fun, it's nice to be quizzed, and things tend to stick better when you hear someone else's way of remembering it!"

Will you be planning your revision? Or are you thinking that you'll just dive straight in?

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