Erin is from Birmingham and studied Law at the University of Sheffield. During her third year she volunteered with Sexpression, working for the University as a student tutor and in halls to discuss consent. Erin decided to stay in Sheffield and now works as a Higher Education Engagement Assistant for HeppSY.
Revising isn’t the easiest thing to do. I know most people (including myself) spend more time procrastinating than they do revising. However, it’s much easier to start revision once you know how to revise.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach for revision – it’s personal and everyone works best in different ways – but there are some general steps you can follow that will work for most subjects.
Step 1: Understand
When I revised in school, I would begin by making sure I understood everything we had learnt in lessons. If I didn’t, I would ask a teacher about it. I would also read textbooks, watch YouTube videos or talk to friends who knew the information better than me.
Step 2: Create
I made notes of everything I knew in a way that worked for me. Personally, I liked everything to be very simple and straightforward. I usually bullet-pointed all the information under different sub-headings for different topics. However, I had friends who liked everything to be colourful and exciting to look at, whether that was in a mind-map or a poster.
It doesn’t matter how your notes look as long as they work for you. Using my friends’ notes never worked for me unless I made my own versions of them. You should avoid simply copying straight out of textbooks too!
Once I had all my information in a me-friendly format, I would condense it. This meant shortening my notes into key ideas, words and phrases. For history, this was things like key dates or events, and for science, it was specific equations I could potentially need to answer in an exam. Once I had the notes, it was time to memorise them.
Step 3: Memorise
I would begin by reading the information aloud and then writing it down again. Once I felt a little more confident without my notes, I would teach it to my sisters or parents. They could ask questions that tested my understanding as I had to work out how to explain things in a different way. When I was able to discuss a topic and answer questions without difficulty, I was ready to move onto the next topic.
Step 4: Revisit
When condensing my notes, I would make a ‘headline points’ sheet to give to a family member. They would then ask me everything I knew about one of the points. This helped me commit it to my long-term memory by the time it came to the exam.
Past exam papers were useful too. Although it was tempting to flick through them, it was much more effective to answer the questions properly whilst being timed. This showed up any gaps in my knowledge.
These revision techniques worked well for me, helping me get into university to study Law. However, revision is a personal thing and different techniques work for different people. As long as you follow these steps:
- Understand the information
- Create and condense your own notes
- Memorise your notes
- Revisit the information
You can customise the specifics to make it work for you! The most important thing to remember when it comes to revising and exams is that you can only try your best. If you do that, you will always have something to be proud of no matter the outcome. Good luck!