It’s that time of the year again – mocks exams are looming after the winter break. So the upcoming holiday will require some time spent on revision…But what is the best way to survive the rigours of revision and how do you make sure your child is making the best of their time? In this blog, we share our top tips for revision and how you can help your child.
Draw up a revision timetable
Plan what you are going to do each day and how much time you are going to spend on it. This way you won’t waste time pottering around thinking about what to do and finding the right books, you can hit the decks running. Don’t waste lots of time making this look pretty – tempting but that does not count as revision.
Plan your time well
No-one can focus for longer than 30 minutes effectively, so allow yourself 45 minute slots. This will give you time to get set up , to have 30 minutes of effective revision and then 10 minutes at the end to review what you have done or test yourself.
Factor in short breaks
5-10 minutes is ample, longer than that and you will start getting distracted by other things and lose momentum. Use this time for fixing a drink, grabbing a healthy snack or running around the garden to get some fresh air and exercise.
Don’t let revision take up your whole day
If you have planned to do 4 hours a day get up early and get it over and done with by lunch time. Then you have the whole of the rest of the day free. Or split it with 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the evening. It’s important you keep a balance and you will resent the revision far less if you have other things to look forward to in the day.
Find a quiet place to work
Once located, make sure it is set up with all the pens, paper books etc you need. Ask other people to respect this space and recognise that you are working and not to be disturbed. Try to eliminate as many distractions from this space as possible, keep your phone turned off when you are revising and turn off email alerts on your computer too!
Make summary notes
This has proved to be the most successful way of memorising information. Summarise the information from your original notes, then summarise the summary. See if you can get each topic down to one side of A4 or try using index cards for revision notes.
Use colours and mind maps in your revision notes
Colourful notes are more easily absorbed by the brain than black and white ones! Write key points on coloured post it notes and stick them around the house – the bathroom mirror is a particularly good place!
Remember, revision is only part of the equation
You also need to master exam technique to score the really good grades. Do plenty of past papers in each subject so that you are thoroughly familiar with the style of questions and what is expected. Do some of these in timed conditions to get a feel for what it will be like to complete a whole paper in one sitting.
Start your revision early
The longer you have the more prepared you can be. Cramming might create a feel-good factor when a subject is covered in a single afternoon, however, the study of ‘spaced repetition’ demonstrates that studying a subject for one hour a day every day for a week results in greater recall, as the brain can only remember five to seven bits of new information at a time.
Finally – try to relax!
Feeling stressed about revision? Try practicing mindfulness to help manage anxiety and tension. Focus on the moment and allow feelings to come and go. Use breathing exercises to slow down the heart and reduce tension.