Top 5 tips for revising for January exams (and Christmas fun!)

Although it may not be the most action packed of topics to cover in my blog, we all know that revision is utterly unavoidable and very important. Therefore I thought I would try and give the best tips I could for revising over the Christmas break while I was revising myself.

  1. Make a realistic time table

Although this seems obvious, and possibly pointless, it’s always good to have a basic idea of what you want to have achieved by the end of each week. This doesn’t mean a fully colour-coordinated, laminated list of every second of the day with scheduled sleeping breaks, as this would definitely come into the category of tip number 2 (see below). Just a rough weekly or daily plan that gives you goals and keeps you on track. From experience this is particularly useful as it means I don’t get too worried if I don’t have the most productive day as I know as long as I catch it up the next then I’m still doing well and it also allows for tip number 5.

  1. Realise when you’re procrastinating

We all know this feeling.  Your room is immaculate, you’ve had 15 cups of tea in a row and you’ve typed out the entire script of your favourite film from memory. You’re sure that today has been productive, but really you haven’t even attempted any work. To stop this, be aware when you start doing things just so you’re not doing work. For example when I start editing this post to within an inch of its life or decide to rewrite it completely I know that I’ll be putting off doing work, so will endeavour not to. It seems like a silly thing to state but you know best when you’re doing it so stop yourself.

  1. Take a look at the past papers in plenty of time

This is a great way of judging how much you know part way through your revision or finding weaknesses so don’t just leave it until the night before your exam. It’ll also help for you to know the format of the exams so it’s not a complete surprise when you get in there and the paper is unlike anything you’ve ever seen! Doing the papers more than once also won’t hinder you as it’ll show where you’re repeating the same mistake.

  1. Revise in a way that suits you

Some people like flashcards, some people like talking it out and some people like videos – everyone has different revision techniques. Just because someone has made 500 flashcards doesn’t make your poster any less useful so stay on track with what suits you. Don’t rely on just reading your notes; transform them to make them stick in your head. Even though this is another obvious one I’ve highlighted it partly for myself as I know I’m certainly guilty of this one.

Very festive hot chocolate, my guilty pleasure!
Very festive hot chocolate, my guilty pleasure!
  1. Take breaks and enjoy yourself

It’s still a holiday so everyone understands if you have some days off. Relax, kick back and make time for people. If your best friend wants to go Christmas shopping, revision can wait for a couple of hours while you take a break. Although this tip seems to be a ‘not revising’ tip, in reality your revision will be so much more focused if you take breaks and don’t attempt to work every second of every day. It is a holiday after all!

I hope these tips are useful, and to reinforce them I have been keeping to them myself this week. I indulged myself with a trip to the Christmas market with my younger brother and treated myself to an amazing Christmas coffee as well as finding gifts for my family and friends. On top of this I helped host an early Christmas party with my friends and introduced them to an Italian cake called ‘Pandoro’. It went down a treat and I managed to consume far too much food in one evening! Sounds like Christmas is starting early! On top of this in the final week of term I went to Professor Sir John Holman’s Christmas lecture (he is one of our lecturers and also President of the Royal Society of Chemistry), finding out all about the science behind Christmas food and traditions, like how crackers snap and how to make fake snow. It was really interesting and really got me into the festive spirit!

My pandoro cake before it was demolished by my friends!
My pandoro cake before it was demolished by my friends!

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Hi, my name is Giuseppina and I am a 2nd Chemistry student (MChem)! I'm half Italian, love travelling and watching TV shows from around the world. I'm a member of ChemSoc committee, Dance Society and Alcuin College netball.