Just remember, I hate writing this just as much as you hate feeling obligated to read it.
I’ll assume that if you’re reading this you, like me, are quickly approaching exam season (shock! horror! sacré bleu!) and are flailing around in a river of tears, like me. If so, fantastic, you’ve reached the right post. And hopefully, the rest of the words on this page are assembled in such an order that you can take some advice or help away and continue on your way to grade-greatness (patent pending). So without further ado (cause I think the title is pretty self-explanatory), here are my tips for revising!
- Make a plan!
You’ve probably heard this from all your teachers anyway but, like them, I also am an organisation and control freak. I like to know what is happening when and how much time I have to like, not do the work. A crucial thing for me is to know the exact times and dates of my upcoming exams, that way I know what subjects to prioritize, and what I can leave for a bit later.
Another great thing that everyone’s gonna hate me for saying is: make a revision timetable! Even if you don’t stick to it (I completely understand), just putting a plan of when you’re in lessons compared to when you’re free to hit the books, set a general block of time for each subject. This will help with not knowing where the hell to start and what to do when.
On top of this, please just please organize your notes. I know you haven’t looked in your folder, or below the first two layers of bag crap since September, but please just do it. Looking at your own notes in order of when you learnt them is crucial to remembering as much as possible.
2. Past Papers, Past Papers, Past Papers!
Another thing that majorly stresses me out about exams (starting to think I sound a bit highly strung…) is not knowing what I’m up against.
Unless your exam boards are the most evil mofo’s on the planet, then your upcoming tests are probably pretty standardized. They most likely have had the same structure year after year since their inception, and won’t be breaking that streak any time soon. So my suggestion is to look at all the past papers (normally found easily through a quick Google) or ask your teacher just to list the questions in order than they normally come up, how many marks they’re worth, etc. That can normally do the same as the above and just get your head in order and then you’re a bit more aware of what you need to be revising. Which leads nicely to my next point…
3. The Physical and The Emotional
One of my personal favourites. Now, some of these study tips may seem less like study tips and more just general life tips, and some may be so cliche that you don’t have enough eye space to roll your eyes at them. But this one, while generic, I do believe in.
To make mental space and tolerance for all the bullshit you’re about to endure, revision-wise, you need to look after your outsides too. Keeping a bottle of water on you at all times while at school, work, revising, in exams, just always stay hydrated. Every so often take a sip of water. It’s not that hard, and your body will reward you. Also, food. I’m a sucker for snacking on chocolate for energy, but even swapping the Dairy Milk for a bowl of Shreddies could be even remotely beneficial. Don’t get caught up on being the best, just remember anything to improve is good enough.
Exercise of course, comes into this category and while I can hear a lot of you groaning and crying, this doesn’t mean you need to go on a 5 mile run every night. Even little things like walks to the shops, getting outdoors, walking the dog, having a five minute stretch or push ups on your bedroom floor. Anything to get the blood pumping and endorphins going. It makes you feel more motivated and confident in yourself.
4. Stop Stopping
Throw away all preconceived ideas about when you work best and why. I had them, everyone does. Mine was “I can’t work at night time, I’m better in the mornings!” Then proceeded to wake up at noon every day. Not great. Whether it’s the “I work better outdoors!” “I work better under pressure!” or even “I work best when I’m naked wearing a fez with TeenNick on in the background!”, just chuck them away. Those things may be true, but for the purpose of your cramming schedule, just convince your brain that it’s utter rubbish.
You’re gonna need all the time you can get for these exams, and you can’t waste that time convincing yourself that it’s not the “right time”. Instead of stalking you ex on Facebook, flick through a textbook. Or go over your revision cards. You heard me kids, get on it.
5. Motivational Speeches
Another nice segway there (ooh) onto this tip. I know as much as anyone how difficult it is to get motivated. As someone who suffers from depression, I completely understand. But that also means I need to know the best ways that I can get my drive back, even just a little bit. A good way for me is to watch motivational videos, look at quotes or even watch YouTubers who have the kind of life I want. If they can have it, why can’t I?
Things like mantras and self-help books might seem ridiculous and cheesy but who’s to say they don’t actually work? Find the best way to get you pumped up and ready to go, and remind yourself why you’re working towards this in the first place. Is it for a place at university? For a job? Even just to show off to your friends and family, anything that will make you want to get your arse in gear. And I mean that, get that butt in gear, kiddo. You can totally do this.
Good luck to everyone out there who is in the same boat as me with the crying and the revising. I really hope this helped in some way! And if you’re struggling, need more tips (I got plenty) or just want a shoulder to cry on, chuck me a comment.