A Levels are probably one of the most hardest and most challenging things I've ever done in my life. Throughout my years of education, I have absolutely loved, and hated school; I still find it extremely difficult to balance my social life, and other hobbies of mine, with revision. However, I've been able to explore ways which work and which don't to help me achieve the best grades possible. Thus I will be sharing my tips and tricks on studying with you in today's post to hopefully stop biology revision from driving me to insanity!
1. First and foremost, I always begin the exam season by creating a realistic timetable. I say realistic because my GCSE timetable included about 5 different subjects a night, which as you could imagine, didn't go down well. Before planning your revision hours/sessions, make sure you have pinpointed time for your weekly hobbies (e.g. sport, dance, music lesson etc), time for relaxation (I recommend you stop studying at least 1 hour before bed) and also time to socialize with family and friends.
You can colour code your timetable, like mine, for each of your subjects. As I am only taking four subjects, I've decided to split mine into sections so that I can focus on specific areas of my course. You can also use apps, like SQA My Study Plan or Skedule, to formulate a digital version of a study timetable.
2. A huge influencer of my procrastination would definitely be my phone. Therefore, as much as it may hurt, I advise that you ask a family member to hide it somewhere until your revision session is over. I believe that mobile devices can be a large distraction when trying to study so it is best to steer clear of too much mobile use over the exam season. However, I'm not saying to avoid technology as it can be a key helping point for finding unanswered questions and exam papers.
3. A personal favourite technique of mine is making flash cards, These are my predominant go-to when revising; the colours make it more fun to work with and concise, relevant notes ensure you are not overloading yourself with unnecessary information! If you're making revision cards, find your course's mark scheme, print it off and only write information it asks you to know. This way you are being efficient and not wasting valuable study time learning regarding something in a text book that you don't even need to know! Moreover, to utilise my finished flash cards, I put them in a pile on a my bedside table - this way I am reminded to read and remember them. I do this as I wake up and an hour before I go to bed.
4. This may seem like a more obvious tip but using the correct stationery is crucial. When you see everyone around you using fancy paper, colours and flash cards, you can feel obliged to copy them. Nevertheless, you must do what is right for you. You can find this out by doing timed practice exams at home - revise in different ways to see what style of revision suits you. Not everyone will remember information through colours/visuals; for instance, my boyfriend likes everything to be in black and white when studying.
5. The classic - revision posters. Whether these be the standard mindmap or intricate diagram, posters seem to be a popular and effective method of revision. Make sure to be inventive so they catch your attention - stick them around your house in places you regularly visit (the fridge, your wardrobe or even the toilet). If you are consistently seeing the information, you are more likely to retain it.
6. Printing off a TONNE of past papers has really aided my progression. As soon as I began working with previous exam questions, my knowledge expanded. This is technically the best way to retrieve the knowledge needed, in my opinion, as you are able to compare your answers to the mark scheme and see exactly what your exam board want from you.
7. This next technique usually works if you have an eidetic memory, like myself. Eidetic memory is where visuals can help relate or denote an image vividly, enabling you to mentally see the photos/writing on a page. Therefore, I tend to purchase text books or create diagrams so that I can relate the images to writing on the page. Using colours also helps me a lot.
8. Remember to break down your subject into ordered section. This will stop your stress levels exceeding to maximum as you will have a focal point to work on that day. Once you've broken a subject into a section, make sure to create, or do, something that will help your remember the information and then answer some past questions on the topic.
9. This is a good one of those who travel a lot or have a busy lifestyle - download apps that relate to your subjects/courses! By downloading releveant apps, you are able to revise on-the-go. This is convenient as you are studying and not wasting any time. My favourite revision app has to be Gojimo; this has an extensive array of subjects which can be specific for different exam boards.
10. Finally, you MUST have regular breaks. I am seriously guilty of not following this one and it results in insanity, for sure. It is proven that working consistently for over 3+ hours will completely demotivate a studient. Make sure to relax every hour or two, even if it is for 15 minutes to watch a couple of youtube videos, reading a book or having a meal.
Share in the comments below any methods you use to revise...
Lots of love