It’s peak revision time, but it’s important to remember that there are so many more revision techniques than just copying out your school notes.
If you can match your revision strategy to how you like to learn, you’ve got yourself a winning combination and more chance of getting the grades you’re aiming for. Tapping into your strengths when it comes to learning will be your superpower this year.
So, how do you like to learn, and what are the best revision techniques to try?
How do you learn best?
Everyone takes in information differently. Some of us prefer to listen to ideas and then discuss them with others to better understand them. While some of us like to get more hands-on, creating diagrams, experimenting or watching videos.
The main thing to remember is that everyone is different. How you learn might also change depending on your mood, energy levels and the subject or topic. Either way, just thinking about how you retain information best during exam time can help you plan your key revision strategies and revise more effectively.
Visual learning means taking in information when it’s visually presented rather than just the written word. Maps, charts, diagrams, illustrations and handouts are all visual learning aids.
Aural (or auditory) learning means hearing information, from talks, lectures or videos. Repeating things outloud or talking about what you’ve learned with someone else is a way of learning aurally.
Learning by reading and writing simply means taking in information via words and text. Traditional textbooks and annotations are reading and writing learning aids.
Kinesthetic learning means getting a bit more hands-on. Doing things like making models or conducting experiments can be kinaesthetic – or participating in activites and discussions.
14 of the best revision techniques
There are so many more revision techniques than just rewriting your school notes (though that might work for some of us!). Have a read of these revision strategies and see what helps you the most. You can structure your revision plan around what works for you and never get stuck in a revision rut ever again!
1. Mind maps
These are a graphical way to represent complex ideas and concepts. You could feature powerful mental triggers like images, colours and shapes to help your brain remember. It’s a helpful way to take notes or brainstorm essay themes or topics. Create a digital one with a tool like MindMup or go free-hand.
2. Spider diagram posters
Similar to mind maps, spider diagrams are helpful for visually brainstorming ideas so that you can see a complete overview of all your information. It represents how different ideas are connected, with the key topic at the centre, like key Cold War events or plant transport systems.
3. Colour-coded post-it notes
You can use colour-coded sticky notes to write and organise important snippets of information like quotes, statistics and dates. You could sticking them around your bedroom so you can read them every day, using one colour per subject/topic to help you differentiate.
4. Reading aloud
Whether it’s an essay draft, timeline or chemistry equation, reading things aloud can help things stick – or when it comes to essays or long answers, help you notice any mistakes. When learning languages or for subjects like drama, you could even record yourself and listen back.
5. Study groups
Get together with a study buddy or group from school and revise together. Talking through ideas and asking each other for help can be an effective way to help you remember things. MyTutor’s group lessons are perfect for this and will help you stay focused.
6. Make up rhymes or mneumonics
We use mneumonics or memory devices to remember notes in music, colours of the spectrum and the planets in the solar system. You can make up your own acronyms, mneumonics or rhymes to help you remember the complex stuff.
7. Listen to educational podcasts or audiobooks
For those who like to listen to things being explained, you could compliment your revision with a fun podcast. The Week Junior Show, TedTalks, Stuff You Missed in History Class and Science Friday are all great places to start.
8. Re-organise school notes
Going through your notes, identifying gaps and re-organising them in a way that makes sense for you will help you to familiarise yourself with key topics and help you highlight if there are weaker areas you need to double up on.
9. Blurting (or memory dump)
This is a technique that’s currently blowing up on TikTok. It literally means ‘blurting out’ all the information you know on a topic and trying to get it to stick in your long-term memory.
Get clued up here. Quickly read a section of a textbook or study guide, then close the book and write down as much info as you can. Once you’re done, reopen the text and see which areas you remembered well and which areas you didn’t. Then, give it another go, until you feel the information really going in.
Funnelling is similar to blurting but helps you edit your notes very quickly. Here are the five steps:
- Write down everything about a topic – use sentences, bullets or diagrams.
- Then, take one sheet of paper and, from memory, write it out again. Limit the info to fit on that one page.
- Look at your work and try to identify the most important thing. Take a post-it or flashcard and write down the most important information from memory.
- That’s the key thing but you’ll want more detail for the exam, so next, take one sheet of paper again and write as much as you can remember. Compare it to your original notes in step two, add in anything you missed.
- Now do step one again, this time from memory and compare it to the original step one, add in what’s missing.
11. Watch YouTube or MyTutor videos
Sometimes, watching a video that explains a complex idea or series of events just helps things make sense. Check out the free MyTutor Study Squads on YouTube on anything from coding to scatter graphs.
12. Test yourself or get someone to test you
It can be really helpful to go beyond the page at times and either test yourself or get a parent or friend to test you. That little bit of pressure is great practice and will really help you know whether you’ve retained the information or not!
13. Revise while doing something else
For hands-on learners, sitting at a desk for hours might not be the most effective way to learn. Try going for a walk and listening to a class or recorded notes, or squeeze a stress ball as you read through key dates or stats – the steady rhythm may help you focus.
14. Practice papers
It’s an obvious one but doing practice papers for your subjects is one of the most important revision techniques. Try and do as many as you can under exam conditions to get yourself used to the time pressure.
Thinking about getting some 1-1 revision help? Find the perfect private tutor here.