January 10, 2014

How To Revise: For People Who Can't Revise

It's that time of year again for students across the UK; exam season. Exam season is probably one of the most stressful, scary and pressuring times of the year for students and I must admit that revision is one of my most hated activities. I've been taking "serious" exams for 5 years or so now and that nervous feeling hasn't gone anywhere!

Revision has always been a real effort for me; working out the right technique, testing myself... I've found it really difficult to find a method that really works for me. However, this year at university I vowed to myself that I'd make that special effort with my course and in turn that has led to me finding a technique that helps me avoid stress, remember things better and it's given me so much more exam confidence.

Instead of just reeling off how I revise and what I do to remember things, I thought it might be a good idea to share with you some revision tips that I've picked up on and taken on board throughout my exam years!

Whether you're at School, College, Sixth Form or University, keeping up with your learning is key! I think that it's very easy to brush something under the carpet if it confuses you or you don't understand it. I am the biggest culprit of this! It's very easy to not stress about something if you pretend that it doesn't exist...until it gets to exam time and it bites you on the bum! Consolidation is key. It really doesn't take long to get your head around something so long as you just set aside some time and focus. It's also been proven that if you go over something 24 hours after first visiting it, you're waaaay more likely to remember it.

Planning is a major step in the revision process. If you go into your revision without a clue of what you need to get done, you'll end up focusing on the wrong things and wasting valuable time. To plan my revision, I take each module/subject and work out how would be best to go about my revision for it. For more factual subjects, it's best for me to make notes after notes, getting more concise as I go. For subjects that require a little more understanding than straight learning, I make notes, but I research around the topic and use as many resources as I can to reinforce my learning. It's all about finding what works best for you and the topic. I think a diary is a must for revision too. I'm absolutely loving my Cath Kidston one, given to me for Christmas. You need to work out how many days you have and approximately how long specific revision tasks will take you. Always plan that things will take longer that they should do, this allows for distractions, mini snack breaks or that random phone call! Don't expect to cram too much into one day either - your goals need to be achievable. Something I've found really motivating and beneficial for me this year is a "Post-It Wall". I lay out 7 post-its, Monday to Friday, in a horizontal line on my wall. I then write each task I have to do on different post-its, and put them in a vertical line underneath the day I plan on completing them. Finally I rip them off and bin them when they're done - it's so satisfying!! It's a good idea to give each topic a different coloured post-it too, so you can see what kind of thing you'll be focusing on on each day of the week.

I think that it's easy for students, including myself, to think that cramming as much revision into the weeks leading up to exams is the best way to get things into your head. In my experience, this is most definitely not true. Using the tips above, plan your revision, allowing for breaks and days off. I didn't realise just how important breaks were until this time round. I do a few hours and I'm like "I've had enough". I used to think to myself "No, do more, you have more to do." but that just demotivated me. I now realise when I'm bored and restless, stick the telly on and watch an episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians - it couldn't take my mind off biology more and I love it! SLEEP is a majorly good idea, too. As a biologist (kind of...a student biologist anyway...) I can confirm that if you barely get any sleep and attempt revision the day after, it's not going to work. SLEEP IS FAB FOR YOUR BRAIN!

It's also worth downloading some "organising" apps onto your tablet/phone! My favourite has to be Errands on my iPad - which you can find on the App Store!

Now, almost anything can constitute this. Be it a pretty diary and some cute stationary, or my best friend's technique of watching half an episode of a tv programme when she completes couple pages of notes! Days off are definitely a good idea too. I'm not saying that a day off when you have loads to do is a good idea, but put a day off or two into your schedule - it's something to look forward to! Even if you spend that day off plonked in front of the tv. I think it's also good to not miss out on being social for revision. Again, I'm not saying go out on the town or go get drunk every night, but use social events as motivation to get your work done sooner. For example, the other day, both me and my lovely Mathew had revision to do for our upcoming exams, but we planned a "date night" at Nandos and the cinema - so we had to get our work done in good time - we wanted the portugese chicken!

And that last point takes me on to my final piece of advice; motivate yourself. Think of why you're revising and your overall aim. For me; a marketing job at L'Oreal, for you, it might be something different. A real motivator for me is the idea of doing badly, and that terrible feeling it gives you in the pit of your stomach, compared with the feeling of achieving something. I know what I want to feel come March-time!

I hope that this has been helpful for some of you students out there! Just stay calm, focused, and steady. We are all in this boat, and it's how hard you work and how positive you stay that gets you some good results. I'm finally coming to realise that after all these years of exams and I'm hoping that with this post I can help some of you realise it a little bit sooner!

Stay motivated and I wish you all the best of luck!

Do let me know what you're currently studying for and how your revision is going by tweeting me @stephsvoice or commenting below.

I look forward to chatting with you!

Lots of love, Steph xxxx


  1. So sick of revising now! Can't wait for the next two weeks to be over! How's it going?
    Are you going for a placement next year btw? I'm sure there was a marketing one at loreal going xx

    1. Tell me about it! It's horrible! but at least it will all be over soon :) It's going okay though thank you, you? I'm hoping to but waiting to hear back, you? L'Oreal rejected me waaaah :( xx

    2. Can't wait for it to be all done, it's going alright but there's so much to remember as per usual! Nope I'm just doing third year as normal as I'm on placement alongside my course ATM :) good luck with yours!
      Charlotte xx

    3. Can't wait for it to be all done, it's going alright but there's so much to remember as per usual! Nope I'm just doing third year as normal as I'm on placement alongside my course ATM :) good luck with yours!
      Charlotte xx


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