13 Mar 2013

What's the Best Way to Revise?

The best way to revise is to: start early, make sure you understand topics, do exam practice and mark your own work using the mark schemesIt's not enough to stare at your books or re-write information. You need to spend most of your time using active techniques.
Active Revision Techniques

1. Read the information then write out questions, e.g. 'what are the main themes of Lord of the Flies?' 'What is the water cycle?' 'What are the main features of rivers?' Then answer them on paper.

2. Write down everything you know about a topic without looking at your books. Open your books. What did you miss out? Which bits do you need to revise in more detail? You will need text books, or excellent class notes. Ask your teacher for recommendations.

3. Get a friend or parent to ask you questions about a topic, or test you on key terms. They don't need to know the subject. Give them the textbook. Or they could just ask 'what's that?' and 'why?' This is surprisingly helpful. The trick with this is to repeat test day after day - not just on the same day you learn it.

4. Pair up with a friend and revise together. Talk about topics and question each other: ask 'what's that?' and 'why?' or test on key terms. You don't always need to write it down. Revision doesn't always have to be horrible.

5. If revising the water cycle, draw it. If revising forms of erosion, draw it. Memory for pictures is eight times stronger than the memory for words.

6. If you know there's something you always forget, make up an acronym, e.g. for river erosion > AACH > attrition, abrasion, corosion, hydraulic action.

7. The most important thing is to answer lots of practice papers and use the mark scheme to mark it. If you've buddied up with a friend, you can mark each other's work.

Perfect Timing
1. Start early. Then you'll have attacked a big chunk before lunchtime. Never revise after 8pm. Late revision is extremely bad for you. You'll function better if you keep regular hours - get up early, go to bed before 11. Boring but true.

2. During Easter or study leave, revise two hours 'on', then break for one, or even two hours. Aim to do six hours 'on' per day.

3. Take one day off per week. You need to stay fresh and not feel like it's going to kill you.

Don't Panic!
If there's stuff you don't know, you still have time to get someone to explain it to you. If you start early, you'll give yourself the best chance. Your results will always be better if you try than if you don't. Do your best.
The author, , is an Oxford graduate, outstanding-rated English Language and Literature teacher and of ages 10-18 in the British education system. In 2012, she was nominated for Pearson's Teaching Awards. As a private tutor, she raises grades often from C to A. Her writing is also featured in The Huffington Post. She offers private tuition in the Haywards Heath area, West Sussex.