Aiming for the top grades at A-level? Here are some tips on how to get them
So you fancy heading to uni to take on a business course? Ah, the freedom of higher education. The ebb and flow of international business studies. Managing your time. Doing your own laundry. There's just the small matter of your exams to pass first; so we've prepared some revision strategies to help.
Actually start revising
It all gets easier once you start, so take that first step as soon as possible. Where should you begin? Step away from the books and notes: your first tactic is to plan.
“Starting early is one of the best ways to avoid the classic last-minute exam stress that you are missing key information or haven’t done enough,” says Eleanor Burgess, a recent BSc Management graduate from Warwick Business School (WBS).
“Planning and managing your time effectively is super important to ensure that you are maximising productivity.”
Get it on the wall
OK, so organisation matters, but how do you get organised? TSR member TeraKoma recommends going backwards. “Work out your exam dates and work out what you need to study each month to have completed revision before your exams.”
Past papers are your friend here - as well as the course syllabus. Work through these to find out where there are gaps in your knowledge or your notes.
Once you’ve got this clear in your mind, put relevant revision sessions into a timetable. This gives you something to refer to, as well as a way of seeing how far you've come.
“My top tip would be to set yourself a timetable that suits you and your working hours,” says Jinesh Timbadia, a BSc Accounting &and Finance student at WBS. “Diligently follow that timetable and if you feel you are running behind schedule, adjust accordingly.”
Get this bit done quickly; give yourself a couple of hours to make your timetable, and stick to it. The Procrastination Goblin will stalk you throughout your revision, and taking weeks to plan your planning is one of its favourite time-wasting tactics.
There are lots of revision methods to choose from (you can find plenty of suggestions here). These will range from rewriting notes to making flash cards or vlogs (there’s nothing like presenting a business topic to an audience to make you get to grips with it). The key thing is to know what suits you best, and what will help you not just recall stuff, but really understand it.
“I did all the past papers for maths, roughly one a week, as well as questions from the textbooks,” says TSR member Acsel. “You need to find methods that work for you.”
Talk to people
Another helpful technique, especially for subjects involving case studies or questions with more than one possible answer, is group study. “Arrange peer coaching sessions, where you each discuss an approach to a problem you're struggling with,” says TSR member DPLSK.
Reach out to others if you hit trouble as well. “Your teachers and peers should be the first port of call if you get stuck,” says DPLSK. “If they can't help you then forums are quite useful.”
As well as seeing how your knowledge measures up against past papers, you might consider looking up examiners' reports, where you can read exactly what’s required from specific exam answers. Once again, this is helpful for finding gaps in your understanding so you can fix them.
Beware unhealthy comparisons, though, namely constantly holding yourself up against others. “Focus on perfecting your own revision techniques instead of copying what your friends say they are doing,” says WBS BSc Management student Jaakko Järviniemi. “That is how you’ll continue your academic success”.
Stop and breathe
Quantity doesn't equal quality. One of the most helpful revision techniques is to recognise that revision sucks and to stop doing it on a regular basis. “Your concentration will drop after about an hour straight, so revise in short bursts, taking breaks to watch TV, play games and so on,” says TSR member Dark White.
You could even revise on the sly, by listening to business podcasts or watching TED talks, to get wider subject knowledge without hitting the books.
“An effective work balance is such an important consideration for exam preparation,” says Eleanor. “Studying for hours on end is not always the most productive and you can often get stuck in a rut.
“I always find that having a break from your notes is the best way to calm down and come back with a fresh mind-set and outlook.”
Manage your time
Perhaps the key to successful revision lies in just one word: time. Give yourself enough time to revise everything; plan your time; use it well and take breaks, and practise working to exam timings.
“If you are doing an essay subject you need to practise to time,” says TeraKoma. “If you're too slow you will not finish the exam! Practise, practise, practise until you can do it in the time required.”
“I like to spread out my revision over a few weeks instead of leaving everything to the last minute,” says Yasmine Lemrani Alaoui, a WBS graduate who now works as an analyst for JP Morgan.
“Try to divide the material in a way that enables you to break down your time efficiently. It is really important that you divide your study tasks throughout the day.”
Revision is a challenge, but bear these tips in mind and dig into the TSR forums and you'll soon find yourself at uni, doing that laundry. Final tip? Keep white clothes and coloured ones separate. Good luck!