Exam season is quickly approaching, as we’ve reached the end of our Easter break. I hope everybody has had a productive break whilst remembering the importance of relaxing. I wanted to share some revision tips, as a second-year Undergraduate Student. Revision tips in which I am constantly modifying and evolving in a bid to become more productive and to succeed.
Personally, I’m a visual learner. I thrive upon making flashcards, watching videos and reading articles. Furthermore, drawing diagrams and making my notes colourful is an essential for me. I prefer taking a more “active” approach to my studies, it certainly helps me to retain bundles of information.
Disclaimer: Understandably, our minds are all programmed to work differently and in our own unique and efficient ways. Moreover, the revision tips I implement in my daily schedule may not be effective for you personally, but this is where I greatly encourage you to try new and exciting techniques!
It’s important not to overload yourselves with too much information just to gain the satisfaction of completing endless hours of revision. Overloads will result in stress and increased anxiety levels, please know your limits and take care of your health.
I became confused while understanding the different revision methods students abide by. I personally begin working a month before my exams, but I know others who settle down a few nights before the examination is set to take place. This is all okay.
Revision can be tough if you fall into comparison, primarily the comparison of not completing as many hours as a friend. More hours of revision doesn’t always equate to more productivity, sometimes, reducing your hours can be more productive in terms of memorising information and feeling more satisfied. I recently became fascinated by “Study with me” trends circulating around YouTube, with young adults proudly sharing their revision schedules alongside issuing helpful techniques. While this is helpful, it’s important to understand what is best for you and your well-being, you’re under no obligation to study for 14 hour periods just because a social media influencer did.
I’ve grown to admire revision breaks whilst appreciating the benefits they hold, as they allow us to recharge and to retain information in a more efficient way. My revision becomes successful when breaks are implemented to issue me with another focus, like the simplicity of going for a walk, watching a documentary or spending time with a friend. Taking breaks often stands as a struggle for me, but ensuring I plan them and use them efficiently helps with reducing my anxiety levels massively.
I set myself revision goals and I believe it’s an important asset in order for me to reach my optimal productive potential. I revise for a maximum of 7 hours per day, expanding on this would not be beneficial for me as I’m learning to find a balance in life and I would simply become overwhelmed with the information. Furthermore, it’s also important and very necessary to priorotise sleep (always, not just throughout university). Sleeping helps with concentration and focus, and I’ve found that being rested helps me to be more productive. Try to avoid working until crazy hours in the morning (although tempting…)
Social media is forever developing, meaning the opportunities are limitless and there are many, wonderful things our smart phones are capable of assisting us with.
In my first university year, I familiarized myself with revision apps which continue to aid me in various and effective ways. Apps that allow us to expand on our knowledge whilst encouraging us to stay focused.
Quizlet is an incredible study app, with resources for both Students and Teachers, with a tool available to search for your chosen subject area, issued with flashcards, tests and study sets. You can create personal study sets for individual exams and study subjects and share them with friends.
Fun fact: Over 90% of Students who reported using Quizlet received higher marks.
I very recently discovered Flipd whilst engaging in a search for helpful revision tools in a bid to keep my brain mentally stimulated. I became drawn to this app in particular due to the encouragement of important areas often neglected (especially during stressful situations!) such as mindfulness, sleep and relaxation. I use the app multiple times daily, I set myself goals and feel encouraged to stick to them. Ie: revising a specific topic for an hour, or spending time away from my phone and reading.
Fun fact: 85% of users who began using Flipd felt more productive overall.
3) BLACKBOARD LEARN
I’m under the impression that Blackboard learn may just be an app for University Students; I could be wrong and I apologise if so! However, I love Blackboard and appreciate the organisation it holds. I find Blackboard to be an incredibly useful resource whenever I wish to go through lecture content, to listen to panopto recordings to jog my memory, or to find useful course and module updates. The app also enables you to view your grades and to view assignment feedback, with the addition of email notifications to ensure you never miss an announcement, which is always beneficial in order to improve on future assignments. The site is also available as an online tool.
YouTube can be problematic if you have the tendency to watch one video before soon finding yourself 3 hours deep in funny animal vines. Believe me, we’ve all been there. However, YouTube can be a wonderful resource (or so I’ve found). I regularly turn to YouTube to gain a better understanding of difficult concepts which I struggle to understand from reading alone. I enjoy watching crash courses and other videos to expand on my knowledge, whilst writing down notes and searching for similar videos portraying the same message. Ie: This morning I watched multiple videos on animal imprinting because although I clearly understood the definition, I wanted to see it visually put into practice.
Maintaining concentration can be difficult, I appreciate that everybody has busy lives and extremely loud minds. It can be troubling to focus on work when your thoughts lie elsewhere. I’ve had to train myself to be able to settle down and concentrate for long periods of time, I now find revision to be a good distraction for my mental health because it offers me a focus and keeps me motivated. I believe the key to maintaining concentration is keeping your mind both physically and mentally stimulated, which can be done by using new and different revision techniques. I also believe taking breaks is necessary, as mentioned above, they help to keep your mind focused and assist with breaking down reading and note taking material.
BOOKS AND ARTICLES
I find books and articles incredibly helpful when it comes to revision, and just for enjoyment. I find them particularly creditable when it comes to searching for examples and associating them with topics I’ve covered previously. For example, I covered content on Economic Decisions in animals and I wanted to expand on my knowledge. A simple Google Scholar search lead me to an example in which parrots were experimented with to highlight how they make Economic Decisions based on tools, a thoroughly insightful read. Books are useful and help to increase the confidence you have in a range of subject areas.
STUDYING WITH FRIENDS
Personally, I prefer working alone when it comes to revision. I love settling down in a quiet, reserved space and getting through my content at my own time. I need complete silence, similar to examination settings where the sound of a pin-drop would be distinguishable. I believe that working alongside friends would be too distracting for me, and I would get caught up in their work and possibly fall into comparison. Other students prefer having revision company to discuss topics and different views on things, I am the opposite and I embrace my individuality.
STAYING HYDRATED, PRIORITIZING EATING
Perhaps this is in collaboration with my Eating Disorder, but my busy work schedule means I often forget to eat and I am prone to neglecting myself quickly and repeatedly in this way. This is an area I am still currently working hard to manage, but I recommend planning your revision around your eating schedule so the risk of missing meals is reduced and energy can be restored within the Brain. Taking snacks to the library (or wherever you’re working) may also be a beneficial idea too, as you can care for yourself in the comfort of your work-space. If eating is an issue for you, I recommend setting reminders on your phone to encourage you to eat, or speak to a friend/tutor you trust so they can help to assist you too.
A QUIET, ORGANISED WORKSPACE
I once read that your work-space can affect both your mood and your productivity levels. Working in your bedroom can be challenging, as the Brain associates the room with sleeping/resting, so you may find it difficult to reach your full potential. Although, I do recommend having an organised ‘study board’ where you can place sticky notes with keywords and definitions, accompanied by exam timetables and helpful diagrams. (Among other things you find helpful!)
And most importantly, remember to relax and to take deep breaths.