Nobody enjoys revision. We learn to hate revising for tests when we’re at school, and it doesn’t grow on us as we progress to college or university. It’s like trying to condense a year or more’s worth of learning into a small number of days or even hours, and makes us wish that we’d paid more attention to what we were taught when it was first taught to us! It gets even worse as an adult. Our brains aren’t designed to soak in new information as adults in the same way that they are when we’re children, so making that information stick is harder than ever.
Just because something is difficult, though, it doesn’t mean that it’s impossible. Adults can and do learn to adapt and store information through revision as a way of passing tests and exams – but they need to develop a system for doing so. Your brain is not an online slots game. You can’t just throw things at it and hope that everything will work out well for you when all the reels stop spinning. The chaos and thrill of online slots games are what keeps people coming back to play slots online at their favourite websites, but what works at a slots website won’t work when you’re staring at a screen or gazing at your notes. If we’re talking exams, you have to come up with another way of getting your online slots jackpot. Let’s see if we can help you to get there.
Revise Daily And Weekly
Looking at all the information you’re supposed to have absorbed over the length of a term or course can be overwhelming. You’ll feel like you’re drowning if you try to address it all at once – so don’t. Work out how much time you have, and then divide tasks up into days and weeks. We stress “weeks” because that’s how far ahead you should be planning. Break down the workload into weekly segments, and then break the material for the week down into days. Spent six days revising the material, and then test yourself on the seventh day. Consider it a weekly review aimed at ensuring what you’ve revised in the past six days has committed itself to your long-term memory.
Take Regular Breaks
You’re not at school anymore, and so studying isn’t the focus of your entire day. Most of you will be trying to revise for exams while trying to hold down a day job, and that day job will take up most of your energy and attention. By the time you sit down with your books, you’re unlikely to have enough focus left to spend three or four solid hours at it without drifting off or missing things. That’s why you should take ten-minute breaks every hour as a bare minimum. Science tells us that these breaks help our brains reflect on the information they’ve just seen. Whether it’s a coffee break, an opportunity to grab a snack or even a space in your schedule for a quick walk, these breaks might make the difference between retaining information and losing your grip on it.
Create A Dedicated Space
Our homes are busy places. Many of us have partners and children at home with us, and as much as we love them, they get in the way of revision. Where possible, dedicate a room in your house to studying and make it clear that you’re not to be disturbed when you’re in there unless there’s an emergency. Even if you live alone, creating a dedicated study space will help you to learn. We make subconscious associations about the rooms in our homes. Our front room (where the largest television is) is associated with relaxation and entertainment. Or bedroom is associated with sleep. A study will be associated, unsurprisingly, with studying. Even if you don’t have enough space to dedicate a whole room, creating a specific corner or desk for studying will help.
Take Old Exams
You might recall from your school days that our teachers would often have us sit last year’s exams in preparation for sitting this year’s exams. You probably imagined that they had multiple copies of last year’s exams sitting around on a dusty shelf somewhere. That isn’t where the papers came from in most cases. When an exam is no longer “current,” it’s available to the public. If you contact the exam board that will host your final exam and ask them for a copy of last year’s exam, they’ll give it to you. The questions you’ll face will be mostly (or perhaps even entirely) different, but taking the paper will still give you a useful steer on whether or not you’re heading for success. If you pass, it’ll give you confidence. If you fail, you’ll at least know where your strengths and weaknesses lie. That way, you can structure the remainder of your preparation time accordingly.
Exams are stressful. That statement remains true no matter whether you’re expecting to pass them or not. Taking an exam feels like an evaluation of our worth, and fear of failure can keep us awake at night. You can remedy that by making sure you get plenty of exercise. Not only is exercise a proven way of beating stress, but it also tires you out. You’re far less likely to have a sleepless night if you’re exhausted from a combination of work, studying, and exercise – and you need all the sleep you can get if you’re going to pass an exam!
More than anything else, try not to worry. We realise that might sound like a redundant thing to say, but worrying doesn’t solve anything. It just takes up valuable time that could be used for something else. Try as hard as you can to snap yourself back into the moment if you catch yourself staring into the distance and worrying about the exam. Your life is not on the line. In the worst-case scenario, you’ll always have the option of taking an exam again if you fail it the first time around. Take confidence from your well-structured revision plan.
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