Top 10 Tips for a Successful Revision
The end of the academic year is around the corner. Graduation is just a few weeks away. This is the final sprint to summer vacation! If you’re thinking of your revision period as a chance to catch up on some much needed sleep or as an opportunity for a 24/7 cram-fest, you may be on the wrong track. Do you want to ace your exams? Do you want to make the most out of your revison weeks? Instead, incorporate the following techniques to your routine and consider these top ten tricks for making the most of your revision.
1. Plan Your Study Time
While the revision period may seem like more than enough time to cover all of your classes, poor planning can result in inadequate coverage and last minute scrambling. Before hitting the books, designate a set study time for each course, making sure to build in time for breaks. While human nature may inspire you to leave the most challenging tasks for last, schedule strategically instead: for example, if one subject influences your comprehension of another, choose the former first. Stick to your plan as much as possible, but be flexible, too: when challenges arise, adjust as you go.
2. Control Internet Access
The internet is a helpful study tool, but it can also be a terrible time suck. Rather than fall prey to internet distractions, take advantage of time management apps which are designed to selectively block internet access to certain sites or during particular times a day. If self-control isn’t at the top of your list of admirable qualities, time management apps can be a revision lifesaver.
While you may feel like you need every single second to jam your mind with information in the days leading up to your exam, research shows that squeezing in exercise may be a more beneficial use of your time. Just 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity spikes the brain’s production of “feel good” endorphins, which do everything from improve memory to enhance problem solving abilities. A dual benefit? Cardio can also help reduce stress during the pre-exam crunch. So lace up those running shoes and give your brain a boost!
While plenty of YOLO moments may await when exams are through, make time during revision week for yoga, instead. Meditation is known to prevent mind-wandering and improve focus, while recent research shows that just 20 minutes of yoga can improve reaction time during tests of cognitive function. Plus, who doesn’t love Shavasana?
5. Rephrase and Repeat
While you may think that the student mumbling to himself at the coffee shop counter has lost his mind, he may actually be onto something: research shows that repeating information aloud to yourself is a powerful memory technique because it engages multiple senses. To better anchor the concepts in your mind, rephrase them in your own words. Many people also find that writing down information has the same effect. Or, support the brain’s love of color by using multi-hued pens and highlighters to increase retention and comprehension.
6. Eat Healthy
Science shows that what you eat on exam day can affect your test performance. Refrain from skipping breakfast and loading up on vending machine snacks. Instead, seek out high-protein foods which foster mental alertness. Eggs, yogurt and nuts are all packed with brain boosting nutrients; other beneficial brain foods include fish, berries, seeds and fruit. Meanwhile, avoid energy-sucking carbs and refined sugars which sap an energy and lead to inhibiting lows.
7. Treat Yourself
While healthy foods are essential to fuel the mind and body, the occasional reward may provide the motivation you need to push past mental obstacles. Set a goal — such as finishing a chapter or solving a particularly challenging equation — and treat yourself when you are through. While devouring a box of doughnuts before walking into your chemistry final is a recipe for disaster, indulging in a small treat during a marathon study session can offer valuable incentive.
8. Drink Water
While the thought of forgoing your morning macchiato may have you gasping in alarm, consider this: too much caffeine can lead to the jitters. If you’re already nervous about a big test, introducing caffeine to the mix will only elevate your anxiety. If you’re hooked on coffee, don’t cut it out completely; instead, moderation consumption can keep your nerves in check while preventing withdrawal headaches. Whenever possible, choose water to stay happily hydrated.
9. Work in Group
While the corner desk in the basement of the library might as well have your name carved into it, studying for too long by yourself can be counterproductive. Experts suggest taking your learning on the road and reaching out to others. Find a captive audience and give a lecture on your learnings: this not only reinforces basic concepts, but also helps identify areas where your mind may be muddled.
10. Focus on Your Own Performance
Resist the temptation to compare your process and progress against the study status of your fellow classmates. Rather, practice exams offer a productive way to measure your individual strengths and weaknesses so you can address them. Taking a practice test is also a helpful way to anticipate how much time you’ll need to finish an exam.