Top ten tips on how to revise for exams

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Best ways of revising for exams

  1. Link all relevant concepts together. Seeing the bigger picture is more useful than dealing with isolated facts. Immersion in the subject itself is better than remembering individual facts.
  2. Write main points when revising. Taking key points does help some people take in key concepts, so restrict it to writing the main point as an anchor rather than regurgitating everything. Don’t just read; write out brief points that you want to solidify
  3. Revise in different locations to vary your intake.  It also helps you recall later, because you’ll store different information at the different places.  In the exam, you could recall more by picturing the different places you were and remembering what you studied in each place
  4. Don’t rely on the memorizing.  Some detail does need to be in your head clearly and correctly, but much of what you study is about arguing and analyzing a subject, as opposed to exact recall of specific points and quotations. Understand the concept rather than memorize as this will give you ample time to recall and understand the subject you are revising.
  5. Read (and attempt) past exam papers.  This advice is often dished out, but many either don’t bother, or don’t take it seriously enough.  When you do read through the papers, see how the questions are worded and try to grasp what is being asked of you.  Look for any recurring themes across past papers so you have an idea of the kind of topics that crop up again and again
  6. Time yourself at writing answers to essay topics.  You may be confident that you’ve got the knowledge, but it’s no use when you know it’ll take four hours to write that knowledge in a two hour exam!  Learn to gauge the time you have and get the important factors written out first.
  7. Understand the layout of the exam. Understand the logistics so you’re prepared on the day.  I’m amazed at how infrequently this is done.  I’ve known module handbooks handed out at the beginning of the year with the exam layout explained…yet some students haven’t bothered reading it.  Guess what, they’re less prepared than everyone else!
  8. Focus on what you *don’t* know. You don’t need to waste time on what’s already firmly planted in your head.  I’m sure you feel good going over that stuff, but it’s not actual revision!
  9. Practice writing basic notes on topics you think may crop up.  This will help your initial preparation when in the exam.  As soon as you start working on a question, you’ll have learned to list main points to cover.  That way, forgetfulness won’t be an issue halfway through your. You can simply refer back to your brief list that took you a minute or two of your time.
  10. Have a study timetable: Allocate more time to subjects you feel need more attention and always follow your study timetable. Don’t wait until the last minute to start revising.