Being a student is hard isn’t it? It seems like the minute you’ve handed in an essay and cracked open a celebratory beer, another tutor will announce the topics for a new essay. And let’s not forget the mammoth dissertation that is required of most students in their final year. Studying can really take it out of you. And if that’s not enough when spring finally shows it’s chirpy face you will have to turn your attention revision.
Revision doesn’t have to be a chore, and there are ways you can make it less painful and more productive. By setting up the right environment and using techniques that are recommended by psychologists you can have successful revision sessions that will improve your exam performance. Below we offer some handy tips:
1) Form a game plan
The key to good revision is being organised. Start early and make a structured plan – this way you will be able to fit in all the revision you need to do and their won’t be a last minute panic that you haven’t covered certain topics. Make a timetable that is realistic and target based: if you revise a little ever day you will get everything learnt and it will reduce stress.
2) Summarise lecture notes
Look back over you lecture slides and the noted you made during lectures. Summarise these on flashcards, factsheets or posters. If your exams are in a timed essay format you may also want to highlight and learn relevant quotes as these could gain you more marks.
3) Mind maps and memory aids
According to cognitive research, a lot of people remember visual symbols rather than words. If you write up your notes and illustrate them, you are much more likely to remember them. Diagrams and colour also help, so create a mind map, with connections between concepts and highlight trigger words to make them stand out.
4) The power of past papers
Past papers are extremely useful for getting an idea of the format of the exam. They also show which question topics have come up in recent years so you can roughly predict what won’t come up in your paper. Don’t use this as an excuse to skip a topic though- you can never definitely know what questions will be set. If you are at Lancaster University you can access past papers through your department website.
6) Optimise your environment
You need to work somewhere where you won’t be interrupted or distracted and preferably somewhere peaceful. If you need certain books or materials then the library is perfect but sometimes it can get over crowded and if you’re using your laptop there’s often a fight to find a plug. Revising in your room means you can control the temperature, you have everything you could need, and the fridge is only 10 steps away. Our student accommodation in Lancaster is the perfect place for both living and studying; they are fully equipped with a large desk, plenty of shelves and fast internet so you can study productively.
7) Reward yourself!
The key to staying motivated during revision is to set realistic targets of how much work you will do and then when you have achieved this you can reward yourself. When you make your revision timetable, aim to cover a certain amount of topics per week and if you complete these by say, Friday you can allow yourself to go out and party or chill out with a takeaway.
When it comes round to revision time don’t get stressed before you’ve even started. Remember to leave yourself plenty of time, plan ahead and pace yourself. Living in City Block will be beneficial to your learning because you can work in a laid back environment.