This time of year is a bit of a hectic period of the academic year. You’ve just had Easter break (which was probably spent in your pyjamas, TV remote in one hand and a chocolate egg in the other… at least that is how I spent mine) but exams are just around the corner, so now you know it’s time to knuckle down.
Any exam is daunting, especially exams that potentially have the power to control which university you end up in. You can feel a little powerless. However, I have compiled a list of revision tips to give you that boost in motivation and to sustain your efforts throughout the whole revision/exam season!
- Make a List: First step is getting organised. I like to make a list of every topic/lecture within each subject and add three check boxes. One is to make sure all of the notes are filled in full, the second is for copying out the notes onto lined paper and the third is for condensing them into all the key facts! (Think posters, bullet points and cue cards!)
- Use Folders: Another way to be organised is to use folders to separate by subjects and then, within that, it’s a good idea to generally do one clear plastic wallet per topic/lesson within the folder.
- Get colourful: This step is probably one of my favourites. It’s time to get colourful! I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love stationery shopping. Maybe it’s because they remind me of the rush you would get during primary school, when every August your parents would take you get a brand new set of pens, pencils, rubber, ruler etc etc. Not forgetting the most important part, a NEW PENCIL CASE. It used to be what I would live for in the summer holidays (I now realise that maybe I wasn’t the most exciting kid to be around…). So my advice to you would be to treat yourself to some new stationery. Every colour imaginable. It seems so simple, but as soon as you have those colourful pieces of joy in your possession, then you will feel raring to go! Or if you’re like me and already have a bit of a stationery obsession, then raid your own stash and check out things you may have forgotten about. My absolute essentials would be coloured fine point pens (Stabilo have never let me down!), plenty of black and blue biros (I prefer to write in black), a pack of highlighters and then the basics such as a ruler, sharpener, rubber etc. Another thing I would suggest is Tippex! There is nothing worse than getting half way through a beautiful poster to then accidentally spell something wrong and feel like you NEED to start again (it happens to the best of us). Make sure that you also have plenty of paper to hand!
- Use a revision planner: The next step involves something that might seem so boring to some but so exciting to others… make yourself a revision timetable. In terms of time keeping, I would say this is one of the most important parts of your revision prep. We all know how easy it is to decide not to revise on a whim as soon as someone mentions hanging out, but it’s so much easier to say ‘no thanks, maybe another day’ if you know exactly when you will be free that week. I’ve put an example of a revision timetable in here, but there are SO many online that you can take inspiration from.
- Give yourself a break: When studying, it’s sometimes easy to get so involved that you forget what time it is or how long you have been revising for. Or you may be the complete opposite and be constantly day dreaming. Either way it’s important to ensure that you give yourself enough break time. I would suggest spending 15/20 minutes away from revision every 90 minutes. Stretch your legs, get some fresh air, do a few jumping jacks. Anything to wake up your muscles and let your mind wander after sitting for a while. It is also very important to give yourself at least 45mins – 1hr for lunch for your mind to recuperate.
- Hydrate and eat healthy: As you will know, our bodies are mostly water, so when we are revising it is SO important to make sure we are hydrated. It’s a good idea to have water on the side where you are revising to keep a constant supply! When doing such intense concentration, it’s important to keep all headaches at bay. Within this point I have also added to eat healthily. Food is fuel! Our minds need all kind of nutrients to keep on ticking, so make sure you’re eating enough.
- Exercise: I have added this little one in here, despite it not being everyone’s favourite. We all know what it’s like to be cooped up in the same room all day everyday. It’s tiring and draining. Whilst your mind is doing all the work, the rest of your body is bored. I am not someone who particularly enjoys exercise, at all. I never want to go to the gym and I have always hated cardio, but even I find myself craving exercise and the outdoors by the end of the day. There’s something about sitting in the same room all day that gives me cabin fever. So I find myself going on an evening stroll, or doing an exercise class in my front room so burn off any extra energy I have. Exercising is also good for the circulation in the body.
- Sleep and routine: Getting enough sleep in a night is essential for your success during the revision period (ten hours if you’re anything like me). Going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time everyday enables your body to get into a routine. According to The Sleep Council, “a bedtime ritual teaches the brain to become familiar with sleep times and wake times, it programmes the brain and internal body clock to get used to a set routine”. I would recommend waking up at 8am and revising between 9-5. This gives you the rest of the evening to chill, see friends and generally wind down. Routine is key!
- Set up your revision station: I personally prefer to revise at the library, in the quiet section with students around me to use as motivation! But for me that’s not always possible, especially over the Easter holidays when I’m at home. When this is the case, the dining room suddenly becomes mine and I spread out everywhere. I like this room because it’s quiet, out of the way and everyone knows not to bother me. If you’re lucky enough to have a room similar to this in your house, I would recommend claiming is at your own throughout the revision period. And if this is not possible, then find your perfect revision spot in your local library or cafe!
- My final piece of advice would be to breathe and relax. You have this under control.
DISCLAIMER: None of the images in this post belong to me. The source can be accessed by clicking on the image.