Whether you’re revising for your A-levels, for final International Baccalaureate exams, or you’re a university student cramming for exams that count towards your final degree, there are plenty of things you can do to make sure you get the best out of your revision, without losing sleep over it. Here are my 5 top tips!
You’ll be told this in many forms over the course of your academic career; basically, make sure you know what works for you, and then stick to it. It’s all about finding that winning formula. Once you know what environment you work best in, you can recreate it for revision. Whether that’s sat on your bedroom floor with all your work spread around you and a revision playlist blasting from a speaker; or holed up in the silent study section of the library tackling lectures one at a time – you’ll know best how you learn best.
All work and no play makes for a very bored student. So don’t let it get boring. Take regular breaks, and get away from your revision. If you need a break every ten minutes because your attention span is that short, that’s fine! Just make your short bursts productive by lining up little treats for yourself after each one; gummy sweets are always a win. If you’re the sort that can stick to revision for hours at a time, that’s great too. Just make time for a trip to the shops; a night with friends; or an afternoon binging your favourite show on Netflix without any guilt (because let’s be honest, you’re going to do it anyway).
There are some modules you’ll love, and some subjects you’ll have a natural talent for. So be sure to play to your strengths. But it’s also important to recognise that the modules you aren’t as good at are going to need more of your attention. Divide your time in accordance with how well you think you can do if you put the effort in. It’s also good to acknowledge that sometimes, there’s a revision saturation point, where you’ve done all you can and from that point onwards, it’s down to fate.
There are people who freak out over exams, regardless. Don’t be one of those people. There are people who do the exact opposite, and don’t think about them at all. That’s also not a good idea. Keep a level head, and bear in mind what the exam you’re revising for represents. If it’s worth 5% of one module, then it’s not worth getting too het up about. However, when you’re looking at an exam that’ll help decide your future, you need to be as proactive as possible to maximise your chances of doing the very best you can.
All-nighters aren’t good. Forget those last-minute cram sessions. Forget all you’ve been told about drinking gallons of coffee for the sake of one 9am exam. If How I Met Your Mother has taught me anything, it’s that nothing good happens after 2am. If it’s getting late and you have an exam in the morning, you’ll be better served by going into it well-rested and having had a chance to take a break and keep a clear head. Staying up til 6am and slapping yourself awake before an exam never did anyone any good.
Good luck, guys!