Six best revision techniques

Are you looking at all your work and wishing there was an easy way to revise for your exams? Wish you could just plug a memory stick into your head and download your textbooks? Well, we’re not miracle workers but we’ve compiled some of the best revision techniques to help you nail your exams.

1. Eat/sleep/revise/repeat

We’re not saying that this should be your life but it’s a surprisingly good rule to follow. When you are revising, short study sessions followed by short naps are considered one of the best ways to learn. You read that right – it’s actually beneficial to take naps. The brain processes information while sleeping so a well revised topic will be easier to recall if you sleep on it. Don’t fall asleep halfway through revising a topic though – this obviously won’t have the same effect!

2. Pomodoro your way to an A

Pomo what? This is a great technique if you're having trouble concentrating. The Pomodoro method follows a basic pattern of 25 minutes studying followed by a five minute break. If you do four of these in a row you can then have a longer break. It works because you learn better in short sessions and you don’t have to punish yourself with unbroken hours of revision.

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3. Create mental associations

Want to know how you can improve your memory for studying? Learn how to make associations. It’s the best way to remember anything and it’s used by memory champions (yes, they exist).

A popular way of doing this is to visualise your revision into scenarios, for instance if you do chemistry and you need to remember the chemical name of oxygen you might think of mobile phone salesmen because the answer is O2. Another thing to do is to relate topics to things you enjoy, like game characters, movie titles, books or sports players. Having trouble remembering the story of your English text? Imagine it being read out by your favourite football commentator or fictional character.

4. Chew gum and buy a weird air freshener

Nothing like a condensed milk air freshener to keep you more alert. Unfamiliar scents tend to keep you more awake as you haven’t gone nose blind to them – perfect for those longer, harder revision sessions. Chewing gum is also proven to help concentration. This is, admittedly, a last resort.

5. Blurting

Blurting is a new revision technique that you have probably seen all over TikTok. Write down as much information as you can remember on the chosen subject area, once you have written everything you can remember, then research the areas you missed and write those areas down to revise further. Keep doing this until you eventually remember everything on the subject area.

6. Stick to the fonts you know for your notes, unless you’re dyslexic

font image 1

If you’re dyslexic, download the dyslexie font as it’s designed to be more readable for you, or use Comic Sans as it’s also easier for some people to read (despite the fact that no one likes it). Certain fonts like Arial or Times New Roman are considered the fastest fonts to read as they are most familiar to the majority of people. When it comes to fonts, familiarity equals speed, which means the font you always read and type with will be fastest for you.  

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Richard Jones

Academic Skills Tutor

Pro tip: Study Cards

If you’re still revising by reading your notes over and over, are you really learning? Try this instead:

  1. Look at your pages of notes and then circle, or highlight, every fact you need to know.
  2. Get some post-it notes and write one fact on each.
  3. On the other side of each one you need to write a short, clear question - the fact on the other side is the answer.
  4. Put the post-it notes on your desk so you can only see the questions.
  5. Pick one up at random, read the question, think of the answer and then turn it over to see if you got it right.

Keep track of your progress

  • How many did you get right?
  • Which ones do you always get right?
  • Which ones need more practice?

Focus on the ones which are difficult to remember. When you are ready, try mixing them up again with the other post-it notes and see how many you can remember now.

Different approaches can work for different people - just find out which ones work best for you.

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