How to Revise Effectively for an Exam

Can you give us advice on how to revise effectively? This is a common question amongst parents and pupils themselves who are about to take their exams.

From research and common experience between myself and pupils, these are what I consider to be the most effective way to do it. Some of course are what we might consider plain common sense but which pupils under pressure, need reminders on:

You need to prepare for the exam, months before the actual date, not days. Make a timetable for revising on the topics you need to cover. Specify what time you will revise and stick to it.

When revising, make sure you take a break between 1 hour revision slots. Revising for 2 hours or more each time will prove to be unproductive as your brain becomes saturated. Take a breather. Go for a walk, stretch, have a drink, a little nibble or talk to your pet! While you're having these mini breaks, totally forget about the revision.

Feel free to put some sticky notes around the house to remind you of important formulae, equations, etc.

Don't just read your notes. Write them down. Work on some exam questions or exercises and actually do them. It feels different from just reading them! A few minutes of actually doing the work out is more effective than 2 hours of just reading your textbooks/notes.

Go over all the topics especially the one you struggle with. If you have to struggle, it's better to do so at home rather than during the exam.

Find a good place to revise. Definitely not in front of the TV or next to a blaring stereo! If you want background music, chose the music without lyrics so you won't have to listen to the words.

Make sure you ask for help on any topic you struggle with be it with your teacher, tutor, a friend, online, youtube, maths websites, etc.

Make sure you know how to use your calculator. Practice using this on topics such as trigonometry, indices, series, ...

Practice answering exam questions in exam conditions. Time yourself. Feel free to do any questions you have already done to see if you understood them.

Have an early night, the day before the actual exam. On the day of the exam, make sure you have breakfast. You can't take an exam on an empty stomach. Last minute cramming won't work now. So just relax.

This might sound tough, but don't hang out with nervous or paranoid people as they can cause you stress which won't help you. Keep away!

Try not to worry too much. Enjoy your revision. You can only do your best. You will find that it isn't that bad after all.


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