The January mock exams are fast approaching, so we’ve been in touch with our #LongRoadAlumni to ask them for their top revision tips! Take a look at their advice below…
Long Road Alumni 2019
Undergraduate Psychology Student, Newcastle University
- Five-minute rule – The hardest part of revision is getting started because it can seem so big and daunting and impossible. In this case, I use the five-minute rule. Start a timer and just revise/read/flashcard for five minutes and if when you complete that and still feel like it’s too difficult to try a quick break and then another five minutes. And repeat that over and over because five minutes of revision with short breaks in between will add up to at least half an hour of revision in no time.
- Focus time – A lot of us don’t know what our attention span is and when we need breaks so what I did was to find my attention span for the day. Your attention span three days ago will not be the same as today, so set a stopwatch and revise until you feel yourself getting distracted or losing attention and then stop the stopwatch and take a break. Then start a timer for the time that you stopped the stopwatch at and basically loop your focus and break times. If you find timers on your phone distracting get one of those baking/egg timers. They’re super cheap from Wilko.
- USE SUBJECT PLUS!! – Ask your teachers to explain something to you.
- Make A3 summary sheets – So this was my main method of revision. Basically take a sheet of a3 paper, fold it in half and then traced the fold line with a marker to show the distinction between each side. Next title one-half AO1 and the other half AO3. On the AO1 summarise all the outline/describe aspects of a topic eg Working memory model. On the left hand summarise all the evaluation points of the topic. I colour coded support and challenge with green and red. This A3 sheet is basically the basis of your 16 mark essay question. If you learn the content on this page and practice writing the answer times you basically have your 16 marker, 8 marker and any AO1 and ao3 questions sorted.You can then translate your A3 sheets into flashcards. Remember to create a line of argument! It will not only improve your essay but it will also help you learn it and retain the information. So refine and reorder the content of your A3 sheet on a scrap piece of paper or make an improved A3 sheet if you want to and then translate those notes onto flashcards. I did it something like this. Topic title AO1 = what you would write for this section abbreviated and bullet-pointed to save space. Then for ao3 do it by paragraph so I would put topic title ao3 para 1 = put down the evidence and how it supports/challenges, then extend it by giving more supporting/challenging evidence. Repeat for the rest of the paragraphs. You don’t have to extend your peel paragraphs but we all wanna get them good grades so try it. You could always skip the A3 sheet and just go straight into making these flashcards but I needed to combine the content from textbooks and worksheets to collect my thoughts and see the full essay flow so this was useful.
- Flashcards – Use flashcards to study case studies and experiments, terminology and definitions. Just flashcard everything.
- Use past papers!! – All of them!! Do them again and again!! Make up your own questions!! Do past papers/revision with your friends and by friends I mean people who love and want to succeed at this subject as much as you want to because then you’ll be more motivated to study together. Also, you can explain and teach each other stuff, plan essays together etc and so you will reinforce that information.
- Enjoy yourself! – Revision and exams are not the most important thing! Follow your ambitions! Do your hobbies! Volunteer if you want to! Knit, draw, sew, dance, play instruments!! Have fun! See friends! This is literally only a 6 month period of your life and then it’ll be over and you and your friends will move away to follow your next steps in life so enjoy their company while you can!!
- Talk to the support system in the college if you feel stressed and overwhelmed – They can help and suggest more ideas which aren’t on this list! Talk to your teachers ask them if they have more revision sources they know of.
- You are more than your grades!!! – I wish I realised this back in January when I was revising for my mocks. I felt like my grades were the only thing that mattered and if I didn’t get the grade then I fail in everything but that’s not the case. No matter what your grade you have attended lessons and done homework and revised so you have put the effort in and whatever your grade is you should feel proud bc you are amazing and productive. You are more than just a student. You’re a good friend, a good partner, a good sibling, a good child, you’re a hardworking employee, a caring volunteer, an artist, a musician, you have things you are enthusiastic about. You have hopes and dreams and so much ahead of you. Sixth form is such a short time so enjoy it and learn to love yourself regardless of your grade.
Long Road Alumni 2012
Postgraduate Doctorate, University of Oxford
Draw comprehensive diagrams for reference – as a visual learner, I would draw an annotated diagram with all details of a whole concept that I could recall and see in my mind when taking the exam. The act of collating relevant information helped strengthen connections in my mind between course content.
- Use mnemonics – make sentences, arbitrary or relevant, to remember the first letter of each answer to a question.
Long Road Alumni 2017
Undergraduate student, University of Brighton
- Find a revision technique that suits you – experiment with flashcards, mind maps, exam past paper/practise Qs, coloured notes.
- Don’t overdo it when you revise – set yourself realistic targets to revise for each day so it’s manageable and achievable!
- Make use of your teachers! – They are there to help you so make use of extra time in lesson or after lessons, bring in practise Qs for them to mark etc.
- Be strict with using your phone/tv when revising – revise for 1 hour then 10 minutes break e.g. grab a cup of tea, a snack, get up and walk around.
- Changing up the environment of where you revise – you could revise for one subject in your room, then move and revise in the kitchen then the library.
- Get a revision buddy! This may be your friend or parents/guardian or siblings, but this allows you to revise with someone and test and help each other as there are bound to be topics that you can help each other with.
- When making notes, only write the key points – get used to summarising each point so you know the key facts ready for the exam.
- Start revision/notes early – each time you finish a topic in the lesson, create revision notes for that topic so when you come to revise, you already have the notes ready for revision for the exam.
- Past papers are a great way to revise – make use of these online and Qs given in class as it puts all your knowledge into practice!
- Make plans – Have things to look forward to after you have revised.
Long Road Alumni 2019
Undergraduate Film Studies student, Brunel University London
- DO NOT STRESS – The more you stress, the more difficult revision becomes, and the more difficult revision becomes, the more you stress. You’re just going in circles.
- Take breaks and have non-revision time – If you’re constantly revising, I can guarantee you’ll end up stressed. Have days off. See your friends. Do something fun.
- Get exercise – You can get exercise in your breaks or non-revision time. This’ll make a big difference to your wellbeing as it gets your heart rate up > blood pumping faster > m
ore oxygen to the brain.
- Don’t stare at a textbook for hours on end – Try summarising a page or a chapter in notes. Writing stuff down makes you think about it, and you’re more likely to remember it.
- Find a quiet place to work – The last place you want to be revising is in the middle of the canteen. Settle down in your room. Put some Mozart on. Relax and revise.
- Start early – You’ll have to start at some point, so you might as well get on with it. Make yourself a revision timetable (don’t forget your breaks) and stick to it.
- Spice it up! – We all love a bit of colour. Get your highlighters out. Coloured notes are 10x easier to memorise than boring black and white ones.
- Teach other people – This is not only a good laugh (most of the time), but also makes you think about it in a different way. Lecture your friends and family on mitochondria or computational mathematics….
- Finally… think positive! – There are plenty of people who did well in life without 100% in every exam, or who were actually pretty useless at school or university. You can only do as much as you’re capable of. Work hard. You’ll do well.
- Don’t try and revise something that you can’t focus on – If you’re struggling on one subject or topic, move on and come back to it later, like an exam paper.
Long Road Alumni 1991
Service Lead for Podiatry and Diabetics, Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust
- Practice and repeat! – Past papers are the best, do them over and over, there are only so many questions and if you practice enough you will get to know the types of things likely to be asked. It also makes exams far less scary and when you recognise keywords or phrases it takes the fear out of the situation.