Revision Tips #2

Revision Tips

Hi everyone!
 This time last year I made my first revision tips blog post (see here). Since then, I have sat those exams and also a second round of exams in January the following year and picked up a few more tips on how-to revise along the way. Some of these tips must work because by some miracle I managed to achieve 93% in my January exam, which I still cannot believe. Sadly, the summer exam season is just around the corner, so it's time to start the revision process all over again, so I thought that I would update last years post and share with you a few more tips on how I like to revise for exams (and survive)! 
For those of you that may have just stumbled onto this post and don't know much about me, I am a 2nd year Psychology student at the University of Central Lancashire.
Revision Tips
1. Start early- I say this all the time and it never seems to work out too well for me but I do my best to try. Even if you start off with a couple of hours a day, you'll definitely be less stressed than if you try to cram all of your revision in the last week! Starting your revision early just helps to keep the stress at bay and helps you to be more prepared for your exams.

2. Condense your notes- Condensing your class notes down into manageable chunks is a great way to revise as you are refreshing your memory on information you have previously been taught, whilst making your notes smaller and more manageable. I try to abbreviate my notes and summarise the most important information onto index cards or mind-maps. I find that my revision notes are also much more appealing this way as I can take them around with me in my handbag, and I'm not lugging around masses of A4 paper in folders around with me
3. Use colour- This helps to make your revision notes more appealing and eye-catching. It also makes revision that bit more bearable. I bought a pack of the 'Stabilo Point 88 fineliner' pens during my first year of A-Levels and they are still all going strong, so I would definitely recommend buying those and using them to create colourful mind-maps or index cards.
Have fun with it, be creative!
4. Utilise your bedroom/work space- Put up mind maps, keywords, quotes, equations etc on your bedroom walls to help you remember them! I have done this since my GCSE's whether that be key dates to remember for my History exam, math equations, quotes for English Literature or even mind maps full of information. I like to highlight these and dot them around my room in different areas so that when I walk into my room, I am forced to absorb the information surrounding me. I find that a lot of the time, I am not even consciously revising, yet the information is going into my brain and I am remembering it.
I find that during my exams, I am trying to think of something and suddenly I can visualise the information in an area of my room and then I can remember it. This really works for me, although when I lived back at home (currently living at Uni) my mum hated me for this as she always thought my bedroom looked a mess, and at one point, I stuck a post-it note of information that I needed to remember onto the fridge door which lets just say, didn't stay there for too long..
5. Allow yourself to take regular breaks- I bet you're tired of hearing people say this to you, but taking breaks is so important! It allows your mind to have a short rest so you come back to your revision more fresh, alert and awake. I would suggest taking about a 20 minute break, so you could watch some TV; go for a walk; make yourself a drink and a snack; or even just call up for your friend for a quick natter- Just take your mind off of your revision for a short while. There are lots of useful apps that can time your revision periods and breaks, such as 'Pomodoro timer', which I find to be very helpful.
6. Stay hydrated- Use your breaks as your opportunity to fill up your water bottles and drink lots of water to stay hydrated! This will help to keep you awake and refresh your brain. It also helps me to avoid getting headaches from revising. This is also a key tip for during the exams too so keep drinking lots and lots of water!
7. Sleep- Like drinking water and staying hydrated, sleep is so important! If you don't get enough sleep (especially the night before an exam) your brain won't be working to its full potential and chances are you'll feel tired and unmotivated all day, and the likelihood of you procrastinating and taking a nap is extremely high! Try and get yourself in a routine over the exam period and get to sleep early so that you can wake up earlier the following day feeling a lot more refreshed and you'll have more time to revise the next day! This is perfect for me as I'm definitely an early-bird as I revise a lot better in the morning. When 5/6pm comes around, my brain usually switches off so I just like to settle down for the evening and relax then. This all depends on what works for you, if you work much better in the evenings and prefer to sleep in in the day, then that is fine, just try and aim to get a good 9 hours sleep!
8. Exercise- I find trying to balance revision with everything else is hard enough without incorporating exercise into the mix but exercise is so so so important, especially during exams! Usually, I like to go to the gym around 3 times a week, yet during exam season, I'm lucky if I can even get there at all! I just find that I have no time and I feel guilty doing anything but revision. Even as I'm writing this post now, I'm feeling guilty knowing that I really should be revising! It's a viscous circle but finding the time to exercise, even if it means waking up 30 minutes earlier of a morning, is crucial! It helps to get the blood flowing around the brain which improves memory and thought processes. Exercising helps me to feel better about myself and more pro-active, due to the release of endorphins that follow after exercise. Most importantly for me, exercise helps me to relax and releases tension that follows from sitting at a desk all day revising.
9. Make a revision timetable- I find that it helps me feel more organised and productive which helps me to relax and stay calm during the exam season. I find it helps me make sure that I am covering all of my subjects and topic areas because I am planning my time more effectively. I would suggest making it look appealing by colour-coding it. For example, for maths lets say, colour-code that as blue so you can easily see anything in blue is math revision etc. Also, this helps your timetable look pretty and fun, which is always a bonus! 
10. Test yourself- I am much more of an active learner so I like to turn my revision into games or tests. For example, I use index cards or even A4 paper to learn key terms or facts and test myself by asking a question on one side of the card, and having the answer on the other side. Then, I'd ask my family or friends to ask me the question and I would have to give them the right answer, for that card to go in the 'correct' pile. You can always do this by yourself too by asking yourself the question and turning the card over to check if you got the question correct or not. Keep going until you got all the questions in the pile correct!
11.Say things aloud- Obviously this one is more for when you are at home revising, as opposed to in the library, as you don't want to be disturbing everyone else around you, let alone getting some funny looks! I find that reading things out loud to myself or describing them to others really helps me to learn and remember the information.
12. It's only temporary- Remind yourself that your exams will soon be over and then you can binge-watch Netflix all you want, without having a care in the world! Spend a couple of months working hard for it all to be worth it on results day, and then you can do whatever you want for the rest of summer! I like to remind myself that it is a few months of 'pain' (yes pain) for a lifetime of happiness, which is so true especially with University- if you work hard now, you can spend the rest of your life reaping in the rewards of graduating with a top grade and getting your dream job (well, we can all hope can't we). Use this as self-motivation! But also remember that exams aren't everything so don't get too stressed by it all, because that won't help either. Just try your best and you'll be fine!
I really hope you found these tips helpful! I'd love to know if you tried any of these tips and found any of them helpful, so please let me know! Also, please leave a comment or tweet me (@VLBeautyx) with any revision/exam tips that you may have, as they might help someone else!
Best of luck with your exams!

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If you liked this post, you might like Revision Tips #1 and Reading List

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