Proven tips to help students with exam revision

Revision is a major part of everyone’s life, whether they go onto higher education and the importance placed over exams there or remain in education for only as long as is compulsory. It is therefore surprising how many people do not know how to revise properly. Fortunately, there are several techniques that can be used to drastically help by increasing the effectiveness of an individual’s revision skills.

Proven tips to help students with exam revision

Four Revision Techniques and Finding a Place to Work

It is remarkable how the simple act of sitting down at a desk can focus a student’s mind and encourage him to apply himself to his revision. Tips include finding a quiet, distraction-free place with good lighting and minimal clutter. This leaves the student’s mind clear to concentrate on revision and nothing else. This easy technique requires very little effort and makes a huge difference when it comes to the effectiveness of the revision.

As important as finding a place for revision are the actual techniques themselves. There isn’t a right or wrong way to go about revision, but there are many tips that can help with it. These range from flashcards and highlighting to mind-maps and note-condensing, techniques designed to reinforce information in a student’s memory and make it easier to remember. Most people do, however, find that it helps them to vary these techniques, as some will help the student to discover which methods suit them best.

The Techniques Themselves

Flashcards are pieces of card with a word on one side and its definition on the reverse. The idea behind this revision technique is that it helps connect the word to its definition in the student’s mind. It also helps exam revision because it is so easy to implement and learn from, while highlightingworks on the principle that colouring in certain key words makes them stand out and be more memorable. This is a quick and simple tip that can help draw key words out of large blocks of otherwise clumsy revision notes.

By documenting lots of different kinds of information on one page and linking them together in a mind-map, the student can see the various relationships between them. This is a useful revision method as it helps to draw modules together and link texts, by theme or subject for example. It also helps as a revision method because it provides a strong visual, making it easier to remember. Where there is too much information to effectively map, note condensing should be used to reduce the volume of revision notes into more succinct and manageable loads. Condensed in this way, the information can be processed more easily and learned through association. Larger blocks of text can be recalled through the memory of a sentence. This technique is especially invaluable for university students, who have vast tracks of detailed and precise information to learn.

Revision Timetables

exam revision

Timetabling is an important part of the exam revision process because it helps the student to plan ahead and allocate their work schedule appropriately. By viewing their timetable, they can see which areas they need to put more revision into and which they can have already completed. The confidence this gives in the lead up to exams is also a help because it help to minimize nerves, enabling the student to make the most of their revision and perform to the best of their ability in the exams themselves.

How to Beat Examination Nerves and Excel on Examinations

From driving tests to school exams, these conditions can create stress about performance and lead to undue anxieties. However, there are a few methods of calming nerves and ensuring that performance is not hampered by unnecessary anxieties.

Fully Prepare for the Exam or Test to Gain Thorough Subject Knowledge

Know the subject. It goes without saying that a firm grasp of the subject will increase confidence. Use flash cards in different colours to encourage both sides of the brain to engage in the learning process and stick to a defined schedule for revising and study.

Obtain sample test papers or practice the exam beforehand. This will boost confidence and increase the chances of a successful outcome. Feeling well-prepared can go a long way towards reducing anxiety and developing confidence.

Use Proven Techniques to Increase Information Absorption

Techniques such as Mind Mapping, a way of unleashing the brain’s potential developed by Tony Buzan [Mind Mapping: Kickstart Your Creativity and Transform Your Life. BBC, 2003], and the use of colour to promote memory can all be applied to increase knowledge retention and boost confidence. Identify learning styles to optimise study time.

Each person has a different learning style. NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) offers methods for identifying personal styles which improve the efficiency of knowledge absorption, as described by S. Andreas in NLP: The New Technology of Achievement [Nicholas Brealey Publishing,1996].

Deal With Stress to Optimise Performance


Here are some other less-academic ways to deal with stress that may have a positive effect.

Use essential oils such as lavender and chamomile, which have calming properties and can increase relaxation. Inhaling these oils can promote a sense of wellbeing and enable the student to regain control of anxiety that threatens to hinder performance on the day.

Breathing exercise will help to reduce feelings of panic. Focus on breathing from the stomach rather than high in the chest, and be aware of the speed of breathing. By changing the body to simulate feelings of calmness, it is possible to trick the mind.

Eat well and boost nutritional intake. A healthy diet can improve mental functioning, increasing memory and boosting intelligence. Ensure that the exam entrant consumes superfoods high in vitamin content such as Kiwi, spinach and blueberries, in addition to high levels of protein.

Think positively. Imagine a successful outcome, picturing how it will feel to pass the exam or test. This encourages the brain to respond to the challenge well, rather than dwelling on fears of failure.

Get a good night’s sleep, and resist the temptation to undertake last minute cramming. The last few hours before the exam are best spent trying to relax, rather than panicking and trying to slip in last-minute revision.

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