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Beat those exams this year: Top tips for revision

With exam season on the horizon we wanted to catch up with our National Lead Practitioners, experts in their subject fields, to find out what they believe the best revision tips and tricks. We want each and every one of our young people to walk into the examination room feeling confident that they have done everything they needed to be prepared. Here are our top tips for revision:

Practice Testing
A recent study by Prof. John Dunlovsky, of the Kent State University, showed that practice testing was one of the most highly effective revision techniques most practiced by students. This involves self testing to check knowledge through the use of past papers, knowledge organisers and flash cards. Team up with your friends or get your family to run through quick fire questions with you! Having the support and encouragement of your family can make all the difference.

Don’t cram!
Try not to leave learning subjects until the last minute. We know when you have a lot of exams coming up it might be tempting to focus on one at a time or wait until you are close to the dreaded date, but that isn’t always the most effective way to learn. Try to distribute your learning throughout your study period – in fact, start your study time earlier than you thought. Slow and steady wins the race.

Learn your facts and formulas
Create a crib sheet with everything on it you might need for your exam. This may be formulas for maths or chemistry, it could be dates or a timeline for your History, or statistics for sociology or psychology. Your sheet, your rules. Have your sheet somewhere accessible to refer back to – maybe this could be in your planner, or a poster on your wall. ‘Look, cover, write check’ – keep testing yourself on your facts and you’ll have them in no time.

Make a confidence checklist
Write down the main things you need to know for your exam into a checklist and go through this regularly, marking off the items you feel confident about. But don’t forget to re-visit those items from time to time anyway, the key to learning is repetition. This will help you to see how far you are coming and what your time should be best focussed on. Similarly, this should help stop you from spending too much time on the topics that you love or find interesting, rather than the ones you should prioritise.

Be realistic with your time
When you are planning how long you are going to revise for, don’t plan to start with a 3 hour session of solid concentration. It won’t work, and it could have a knock on effect on your belief in yourself. Train your attention span starting off small if you need to. This could be just 10 minutes to start with (phones and ipads away please!) then a short break of 5 minutes. Slowly build this up making sure that you stop every half an hour or 40 minutes for that all important 5 minute brain break.

Choose the right learning environment
Revising in the right environment can help you to concentrate and really take in what you’re reading or being tested on. This could be your home, in the library, part of a study group in a classroom. Try to avoid places where you might have distractions, such as the fridge or the television. Don’t forget to put away that phone too!

Look after your body and your body will help look after your mind
It can be tiring revising for long periods of time, and the mental strain can leave you feeling sluggish and lethargic. You need to be physically prepared for this. Hydrate well, avoid high caffeine or sugary drinks, snack on healthy foods and don’t be afraid to get up out of your seat and walk around stretching your limbs out. Regulate your sleeping patterns, and make sure that you are in fact getting enough sleep.

We wish the best of luck to all our family members sitting exams this year.