You might already have a tried and tested approach to passing those exams, and revision techniques really do come down to individual preference in the end. Using different coloured cue cards might work for you, but they may not work for your classmate.
However, while you’re getting stuck into your revision, there are things to bear in mind that can really enhance your studies, and might even score you those important extra marks.
Set the scene
Crafting the perfect study environment is important for concentration and focus when it comes to revision and assignments. We’ve all used the term ‘happy place’ to describe somewhere we can go to relax and unwind, and the same principle applies to our work environment. The difference being that our work ‘happy place’ needs to be set up so that we can get into the zone and have access to everything we need.
- Comfort is key
Being comfortable in a study space is about finding balance. You don’t want to be so comfortable that you can’t focus or stay awake. Sitting at a desk or table with a comfortable chair is usually the best way to go, and is better for your health. Doing work in bed might be relaxing, but it may send your brain signals associated with sleep instead of studying.
- Personalise your space
For some people, a little personalisation in the study space can go a long way toward proactive studying. Adding some decorations or inspirational messages can help motivate some people to keep pressing forward.
- Clear Away the Clutter
Keeping your study space clean and organised can also help improve study time especially as a disorganised or messy study area can be a distraction. Working in a clean space can help improve focus and peace of mind, plus you’ll find things easier.
Listening to music while studying often depends on the person, as music can affect people in different ways. So when it comes to playing music in your study space, be honest with yourself. You’ll know what music, if any, you find helpful for concentration.
Be smart about it and choose the way that will help you best absorb the information.
Don’t just learn the facts, enjoy the subject
Revision shouldn’t be about memorising lots of facts in a short space of time but should be an opportunity for you to develop a broader understanding of your course content, learning about the bigger picture and making connections with what you already know. When you’ve finished your revision, not only should you feel fully equipped to sit your exam, but you should also have developed as a practitioner of your chosen subject.
So rather than memorising something and then moving onto the next topic, it is better if you can keep revisiting what you’ve learnt, continuously enhancing your existing knowledge, adding breadth and depth. It’s important that you build on what you know, rather than achieving a surface-level knowledge of a lot of things. A great way to develop your knowledge is by paying careful attention to the non-essential texts on your reading lists. They offer a brilliant platform for you to delve a little deeper into your course content. Revising in this way is also far more interesting and is more likely to keep you focused while you prepare for your exams.
To ensure you’re revising effectively, it’s a good idea to take some time to reflect on whether you’re being active or passive in your approach.
If you’re spending all your time reading notes and copying material, you can make better use of your time by more actively engaging with your learning resources. Instead of selecting parts of your reading and reducing and revising them, try writing the ideas in your own words, making connections and organising them in a way that helps you to better understand them. You can also try creating diagrams and charts or transforming parts of your revision into a hierarchical structure.
Another great thing about active revision is that it can facilitate valuable group work. Discussing topics with a friend on your course, drawing parallels and sharing ideas is a great way to develop a breadth of knowledge and can enhance your learning experience. Take full advantage of Microsoft Teams to set up a meeting and share tips and tricks.
Get to know your strengths
Over your time in education, you will have probably developed a rough understanding of how you best manage your revision. Whether you’re more productive working with friends or alone; in coffee shops or quietly in the library; everyone will have a different preference. Just like your chosen revision technique or location, it’s important that you also recognise where your strengths lie within your chosen subject matter.
It won’t be possible to foresee what topics will come up in your assessment, but you can harness your strengths and use them to inform areas of your revision that you’re less comfortable with. For example, there might be a point in history that you can access more easily through referencing a painting that you’re familiar with. Remember that if you are discussing something you’re genuinely enthusiastic about in your exam, it will come through in your writing and your argument will be more captivating.
The Exam Mindset
With so much resting on whether you pass or fail your exams, it’s inevitable that you’ll experience some degree of stress while you prepare. Feeling a little anxious is completely natural, and using this energy in a positive and proactive way can often be of benefit to you further down the line. Visit our post for tips about how to maintain a positive exam mindset throughout the revision period.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, remember that there are plenty of people at UWTSD to support you throughout your studies. From your subject librarian to study skills sessions, you can find out about the academic support services you can access by visiting the Academic support pages on the UWTSD Hwb.
Got some useful revision tips or advice for your fellow students? We want to hear about them. Share your thoughts with us by following @UWTSDStudents on Twitter and Facebook.