It has been a good few years now since I sat for my last exams, but I thought I would share some effective revision strategies that helped me learn. I’m dyslexic, so when I was at school and university, I needed to use study techniques that worked. As we are all trapped at home during this pandemic, it might be the perfect opportunity to develop or hone your strategies.
One of the most effective ways of learning a new concept or idea is known as retrieval practice. It can be done by thinking about things you have learned or read about at a later point in time. There are several different ways to do this. Retrieval practice can include writing down everything you know from a topic, creating flashcards, paraphrasing, and teaching someone else. The important thing is that you do this from memory, rather than re-reading your notes. However, do feel free to check your answers afterwards.
Flashcards are a great way to be able to practice recalling information and concepts over and over again. Thy type of flashcards you make will depend on the type of test you are going to be taking. For multiple-choice style tests, flashcards about key concepts will probably suffice. I also found they could be used to prepare for essay examinations. To do this, I made flashcards that put together answers for broader questions (questions that were likely to show up on the test). The answer would include several key points or concepts you will need to know to be able to write an answer to this question.
After learning something new from a book or a teacher, paraphrasing what you have learned is a great way to help you master the information. You could teach your friend or parent what you learned or write it down somewhere (from memory).
I know it can be hard to get motivated to study when your examination is weeks away. However, the best way to learn is to spread out learning into smaller chunks rather than trying to cram the night before. Studying for 15 minutes for four days will be far more effective than studying for 1 hour the night before the exam. If you find it hard to do this, try coming up with some reward every time you revise in advance. It doesn’t have to be a big reward. It could be a cup of coffee while you’re studying, a piece of chocolate, or your favourite TV show afterwards. Find something that will motivate you!
While you are studying, try to find a quiet place where you can focus. You will be able to get far more done in one hour of intense study than in 3 hours of distracted revision (such as watching the TV at the same time). As above, you can always reward yourself by watching TV or Social Media once you have finished your work.
I hope you found these revision strategies helpful. Try them out and see what you like and what works best for you. I would love to hear how you get on!
If you are feeling stressed about studying, you may want to check out Seven Exam Stress Tips from Students.
Good luck with your studies!
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