It has begun. The holiday many of us love (because of the Easter chocolate), but dread (because of the looming exam period) the most. A time when, school or university, we are forced to undertake consecutive late-night, long-hour, headache-inducing, all-day exam revision. We force ourselves to stay up till midnight each night, pouring over revision notes, heavy text books and lecture slides, and as the end of the holiday approaches, our desperate attempts to cram become more urgent.
I’m here to tell you — It doesn’t need to be that way! There are many fantastic revision tips out there that can help you to optimise the way you revise during the holiday, ensuring that you don’t end up half-dead from exhaustion on exam day.
I’ve collected 7 tips from the best corners of the Internet (and my own brain) to help you with your revision this Easter:
- Plan early – Create a revision schedule in advance or at the beginning of the holidays, and stick to it. Remember to leave yourself some time for Easter chocolate if you celebrate!
- Don’t leave your revision until the last minute – It may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people still leave everything until the last minute, particularly when it comes to exams. Cramming last minute will not help you to remember information needed for your exams. On the contrary, it’ll stress you out, make you even more anxious and make it more difficult for your brain to absorb, and most importantly, understand, the information you need for your exams. The best revision strategy is to start as early as possible! In this ‘21 Killer Revision Tips‘ list, CGP recommend starting a few months in advance of your exams, i.e. before the Easter holidays.
- Practice, practice, practice! – Whether you’re revising for your GCSEs, A Levels, IB or university exams, practice really does make perfect. Memorising material is not enough to ace your exam, you need to practice what you’ll be tested on. So, if your exams are essay-based, practice exam-style timed essay writing using past essay questions/papers. If your exams are multiple-choice and/or answer based, whip out some practice questions and papers to familiarise yourself with the style of questions you’ll be asked and the content of the exams you’ll be sitting. As The Guardian’s ‘Five Secrets to Revising That Can Improve Your Grades‘ wisely states: ‘writing exam answers is a skill, just like playing an online game is a skill. You wouldn’t try and improve at a game by trying to memorise moves, you’d practice making them’.
- Read, memorise and test yourself – This is one of the most fool-proof revision techniques to help you absorb and retain information for exams. According to the BBC’s ‘Revision Techniques – the Good, the OK and the Useless‘, you should ‘start by reading the text book then make flash cards of the critical concepts and test yourself’. I can vouch for this technique myself, it helped me revise for my history exams throughout my degree.
- Minimise procrastination by keeping away from distractions – Procrastination is one of the biggest hinderances to your revision. Flipping between social media and revision for instance, is one of the worst ways to revise as your attention is constantly divided. Dividing your attention between distractions that allow you to procrastinate and your revision will result in not absorbing and learning what you revise properly. This makes revision much more tedious than it has to be. If you’re working from your computer, I would recommend using browser plug-ins that block social media (and other websites of your choice) for a period of time while you revise. My favourite plug-in of this kind is Stay Focusd, which enabled me to limit the amount of time I spent on websites like Facebook and Twitter while revising. For those of you working offline, move to a quiet space with little distraction and turn off your electronic devices while you’re revising.
- Take breaks – Forcing yourself to revise for long hours without any breaks will exhaust you. It may also cause you to lose concentration while you revise, which is never a good thing. Break your revision up into 1-2 hour slots, followed by a break where you can get something to eat (Easter chocolate, anyone?), have a change in scenery, go for a walk and declutter your mind.
- Seek help if you need it – If you’re struggling with a subject, topic or question you feel a bit unsure about, seek help. There’s nothing wrong with having someone explain the problem to you or looking online for answers and explanatory tutorials. Right here at Superprof, you can ask and find answers to questions on the Q&A Hub, a forum both students and tutors can access. Another site I’d recommend for step-by-step instructional videos, personalised learning and practice questions in tons of subjects is Khan Academy.
You’re welcome, and good luck!