When you’ve finally escaped from timetabled classes and a supervising teacher, the initial rush of freedom and independence can be euphoric. You have the chance to conduct your revision the way you want it to go, at the time of day that suits you best. You can focus on the areas you struggle with, without having to wait for other students, and glance over the work you find easy. However, this honeymoon period rarely lasts long. Revision timetables fall into abandonment as TV shows and plans with friends take priority, and the backlog of catch up revision begins to pile up in a mountainous way. To avoid this pitfall, follow our simple guide to staying on top.
Use Your Tutor
Holidays are the best time to take advantage of having a tutor. Not only do you have extra time to schedule in sessions, but so will they. You’ll be able to work on putting a realistic revision timetable in place, knowing that someone will be checking up on how much you do and whether you stick to it! Your tutor will be there to clear up any questions you have over the notes you’re using, as well as testing your knowledge with surprise exam questions. As they’ve gone through the same process as you, you can rest assured that they know every sneaky shortcut to get you through your revision in the least painful way possible.
Shake It Up
Forget about sitting at a table with a stack of books and colour-coded highlighters (unless that works for you – we’re no stranger to post-it note piles here!), revision can be entertaining and interesting when you put your mind to it. Avoid re-reading textbooks and going over notes, and swap this for anything from coming up with your own exam questions to activities such as interviewing characters from books or historical figures. You should be as creative and energetic as you can: the more memorable your revision tactics are, the more memorable your work is! If you can, try to incorporate movement. Associating physical steps with facts, figures or formulas is a sure-fire way to embed something into your brain.
No one can work solidly for an entire day, so don’t plan to. Many students make this mistake when creating a revision timetable, and realise that twelve hours of revision means they hardly have time to breathe, let alone take food stops (and no one likes working on an empty stomach!). Make sure to break up your day with short rest periods: these could be for lunch, snack times, or around the time of your favourite show. You know what time of day you work best at, so if you’re a night owl, don’t start your schedule at 6am, and wonder why you can’t concentrate. One of the best things about revising at home is being able to work around your natural learning patterns, so take full advantage of this.
It’s Not Forever!
While it may seem that exam preparation and coursework is taking up the majority of your life at the moment, don’t be tempted to blow revision off in favour of going out with friends or lazing around all day. It’s important to take breaks, as we’ve mentioned above, but all-out day trips can be saved for your post-exam holidays. You’ll have an impressive amount of time once your exams are over, and it’ll feel all the better when you don’t have the stress and guilt that comes with not revising when you know you should be.
Robert Grabiner – Founder of MyTutorWeb