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Author, Nikita Mossman is a 3rd year Law and Politics students at the University of Liverpool.
Revision is something that you can never have too many techniques and tricks for. There’s always a new way to revise that may or may not work for you. Here are some of my top tips:
I honestly think charts of all kinds are amazing when trying to revise and get things stuck in your head!
When I say charts I mean, sectioning an A3 sized paper in small sections and organising content from your course onto it. For one of my law modules, I split the page into boxes and along the top of the page (landscape), I put all the different topics. Then along the side, I put a clear structure of what needs to go into an essay around those topics. For example, if I was talking about the topic of ‘murder’, I would put the definition in the first box, the cases used in the next box and so on.
I always colour coordinate it. Different topic, different colour. Rainbow is the best colour theme because you can memories the order of the colours of the rainbow and use that as the order of the topics in your answer.
I also make the boxes relatively small because the more you can condense in to the box, the more likely you are to remember it. Even having an overload of flash cards aren’t as effective as a chart that has everything on one single piece of paper. You’re brain can’t memorise long paragraphs so making it short and sweet, I find makes it easier to revise from and then remember in the exam. This leads on to my next tip…
Writing full essays as an essay plan or writing down huge paragraphs about what a topic is about is extremely counterproductive. When you are making notes about something, always shorten it into little bullet points and don’t let it go over two lines worth of words per bullet point. I know it seems quite obvious but I always seem to have a tendency to forget to keep it short and blank out during an exam because I had too many words to remember. Bullet point effectively and only put down the key things.
Reading always helps to expand your knowledge and can really help you to understand the module/topic as a whole.
When you start to delve deeper into a topic and go beyond lectures and seminars, it makes it easier to approach a question in an exam. The extra research really does help to put together a great answer to an exam question.
Even if it’s a multiple choice question paper, the more you know about a topic and the more you understand it, the more likely you are to pick the right answer. Reading around your topic is extremely beneficial.
It’s so easy to get overwhelmed with revision and feel far too guilty to step away from your laptop because there is just too much to cover and time is running out! The last thing you want to do is stay at your laptop when you feel like your head is about to explode. Remember, breaks are needed. You need to let your brain recharge. Grab a coffee, go for a walk, go and talk to your friends. Take that time to rejuvenate before getting back down to business.
However, it’s a good idea to leave where you know you can start back off again. If you come back and you have no idea what to do, you’re most likely to start to procrastinate and waste time. Go on your break with a clear plan of what you are going to do when you come back.
Time wise, 10-15 minutes is enough. Don’t spend too long on breaks, otherwise you won’t want to start revising again and you’ll end up relaxing for longer than you are actually revising. Give your body the respect it deserves to just take a few minutes for itself to really heal from all the brain power being used. You will retain a lot more information this way.
Linking on from my previous point, exercising in your revision breaks is a great way to de-stress and revise more effectively. During the exam period, the University offer free use of the gym facilities and pool between Monday 13 and Friday 24 January. This is a great way to have some down time and sweat out all the stress. Exercising really helps you to be more productive with revision and with the University offering this free access, there’s no financial burden of going to the gym during exam period.
Who doesn’t love a good treat after a hard revision session? Make it a regular thing. Finish a topic and eat the chocolate bar that’s staring you in the face. Finish the whole section and watch an episode of a series you’ve been dying to catch up on. Write out the answer to a past paper question and order that pizza you’ve been craving. You will feel so much happier with the things you have got done if you reward yourself. It means there’s something positive to work towards and you can use that as motivation.
I hope these tips were somewhat helpful. These really work for me and I think you should definitely give them a try to see if any of them are useful to you.
Thanks for reading, and good luck with your exams!
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