Here are some revision tips and memory techniques that will enable you to keep your cool over the study season.
Active revision methods
Active revision is all about using and organising information. Active revision techniques have been shown to be more effective in helping students learn. Think about what helps you to learn. Making notes in your own words is a tried and tested revision technique, condensing your notes into ‘bitesize’ summaries of key points which you are more likely to remember.
Effective revision strategies and memory techniques
- Mind maps – Mind maps are an effective way to identify connections between ideas. Make these interesting and more memorable by using colours and images. You can also create these electronically using the many free apps available such as Canva or Mindmeister. If visual cues work for you, drawing diagrams can also be useful in remembering processes and cycles.
- Study groups – Often explaining a topic will aid your own memory and understanding. Finding the time to get together with a group of your fellow classmates can be a great way to test each other and run through sample answers. If you can’t do this in person there are lots of opportunities to set up study groups and meet online at your convenience using the many software and apps available such as Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger.
- Post-It notes – For many, the humble Post-It note is a failsafe memory trigger and they are a great way to recall key details and summarise information. Colour code your themes and stick them around the room, refreshing them in your mind by regularly moving them to different locations.
- Reflection – Reading through your past essays and assignments can help you gain focus. Reflecting on the feedback given can help to identify positive points and potential areas for improvement.
- Practice questions – If you can, search for previous exam papers in your subject area. If you can access past papers or exam questions this is a good way to put your knowledge to the test. It also helps in planning a framework for your answers.
- Rhymes or mnemonics – Some students find adapting facts to songs will help them retain information. In a similar way mnemonics (using the first letter of a series of words to create a phrase that is easy to remember) are a good way to memorise facts.
- Recording notes – If you learn better listening to things you may find that recording yourself reading excerpts from your notes on your phone is effective. You can listen back to these at any time, making it simpler to allocate short revision slots.
Active versus passive revision
Passive revision includes activities such as reading notes or copying material from textbooks. This method will allow you to recognise study concepts but not all students will be able to recall or use them effectively in an exam scenario.
The following passive revision strategies are unlikely to help you engage with large amounts of information:
- Typing out all your notes – Unless a specific requirement, simply typing out your notes in electronic format will not engage your thought processes with a topic and will waste valuable time.
- Reading notes – As a passive act, reading notes is ineffective as what you are reading will not necessarily be stored in your mind.
- Highlighting – Combined with annotation this method can be effective. However, be mindful not to mindlessly over-highlight a document as key points to remember will become lost.
- Copying out resources and material – this is a time-consuming activity which won’t enable you to properly digest and engage with a subject matter.
Keep on going!
Finally, stay motivated! Here are some easy ways to do this:
- Take regular breaks. However, remember to keep to a structure and be disciplined with your revision.
- Use active revision techniques
- Change things up. Vary your revision materials to make study time more interesting and remember small chunks of information are easier to remember.
- Give yourself treats. When you’ve achieved certain goals reward yourself!
- Establish a routine. It’s sometimes hard to study independently at home so setting out a routine will help keep you productive.
Following all these tips and tricks will help you master active revision in no time! The more you use and organise information in a way that’s easy to understand, the more you’ll learn from your revision.