Exams are only a few weeks away, so we have put together some tips to help you to study effectively. There is practical study advice and ideas for working in a way that should enable you to find a revision strategy that works for you.
WHERE and WHEN you study makes a big impact on how effective you are. Think about what is important to you. For example, some people find that music is a helpful study aid, others find it a distraction. Once you get an environment that suits you, it is a good idea to study in the same place- you will find you are already getting into the correct frame of mind as soon as you go there. Even though you might feel content within your chosen environment it is important to allow for regular breaks in your revision timetable. Always take breaks. We all have a very limited attention span- it is better to take a ten minute break every hour than to work for three hours solid- but make sure you come back!
Revison Do’s and Don’ts
- Don’t worry- Worrying will put you off and stop you from doing anything at all.
- Don’t take the easy option By going over things that you already know….. This might make you feel better (and boost your confidence) but actually is of no benefit.
- Don’t….. Leave it too late- the night before is not a good idea!
- Do…. Find out exactly what you need to know! Look at the textbook or revision guide– this will often summarise what you need to know.
- Do…. Plan your revision. There’s no point in trying to cram too much in. You know when your exam is. What will you need to cover by that date?
- Do…. Make a revision timetable and try to stick to it Revision Planning The biggest problem most students have with time is not enough of it! So much time is already taken up with school, homework and other commitments that you will probably have to look at your week carefully just to find time to study
If it helps, colour code your planner.
Each subject is made up of a number of topics. Use the planner below as an example of how to break down ONE of your subjects into TOPIC Areas. This can then be done for all your subjects.
|For example: Subject:|
1. Note-taking Making condensed notes from your classwork books and files is an extremely important aspect of your revision. The volume of notes that you have across all of your subjects is so huge, that you will never be able to revise effectively by reading and flicking through your classwork books and files. Sharpen your note-taking skills
- Make notes in a way that suits you. You do not need to use sentences. Some people draw charts, other use mind maps (there is information on this later on) and some use lists.
- Use abbreviations that you will remember in future e.g. env. = environment.
- Highlight the most important words as you go.
- Don’t try to rewrite everything down. Concentrate on capturing the main ideas/diagrams.
- Give new ideas a heading and put them in a different place – start a new paragraph, line or list etc.
2. Know Key Words It is important that before you go in to do an exam, that you know the key words. There are two aspects to key words: 1. Command words – these are the words in an exam question that are telling you what to do, and are generally mean the same thing across all subjects. 2. Subject key words – these are the words that each subject requires you to know, that are specific to that subject. Command words
|Analyse||break down into separate parts and examine, discuss or interpret each|
|Compare/Contrast||look for and demonstrate the similarities and differences between one or more things|
|Classify||give your own views, make and justify judgements based on evidence|
|Define||give the exact meaning of something as briefly as possible|
|Describe||give details of the main features of something|
|Discuss||explain, give the pros and cons of an issue and their possible consequences|
|Evaluate||highlight the strengths and weaknesses of arguments. Justify personal conclusions|
|Explain||give the reasons or causes to show why something happened|
|Illustrate||explain something clearly using examples|
|Interpret||explain something clearly using examples, comment on the issues or ideas|
|List||make a list|
|Justify||make a case for a particular point of view, using evidence and examples to support it|
|Outline||give the main features, ideas, events, issues but do not go into detail|
|Prove||make the case for something using facts|
|State||give a short but clear explanation with supporting evidence|
|Summarise||give a brief account of the main points without details or examples|
Subject key words
These are words you have been taught by your subject teachers and you will need to know to perform well in your exam.
Science: germination, combustion, photosynthesis
English: alliteration, Onomatopoeia, Personification
3. Diagrams: Diagrams can be a brilliant way to make shortened down notes which are visual and easy to remember. The three main revision diagrams which you may find useful are: Mind Maps, Spider Diagrams and Tables.
A: Mind Maps: To create a mind map follow this guide and look at the examples:
- Write your topic in the centre of a blank page, for example: Health.
- Choose a sub-topic, such as diet and write this on a line joined up to the central topic.
- Write all the things you want to revise about diet beside this part of the mind map. For example, fruit and vegetables, low fat, low sugar etc
- When you have finished with diet then choose the next sub topic of health which you want to revise, such as exercise.
- Continue to do this until you have covered all the sub-topics of health which you need to revise.
- Try making your mind map really colourful by using a different colour for each sub-topic and drawing pictures to help you revise visually.
B: Spider diagrams: These are very similar to mind mapping but are less detailed. Making spider diagrams is a great way to learn facts or details. Another way to use spider diagrams is to try filling in a blank one to test how much you know about your topic. Once you have finished look at your notes and see did you remember everything!
C: Revision Tables: These are a good way of making short notes to learn off. If you divide a topic up into sections you can then write all you know about each section into the boxes. Mnemonics and acrostics Remembering things for exams is a skill and can be improved with practice. This is a technique which works for some people when revising.
Mnemonics are made up words to help you remember lists, important words and ideas.
- P.E.E- Make a POINT….. Give EVIDENCE….. EXPLAIN
- ROYGIBV- the colours of the rainbow are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet
- TIPTOP: to use paragraphs remember: TI= Time P= Place TO= Topic P= person speaking
Cue cards and post-it-notes Using cue cards or post it notes are a useful revision technique. When you have revised a topic you can make a cue card using bullet points to cover the main points. Placing post it notes in key places will make you take in key information. Test yourself Making revision notes, mind maps and spider diagrams helps you to condense your work, but now you need to make sure that you learn what is in them!
- Practise answering test or exam questions
- Talk to the wall
- Display things that you keep forgetting on post-it notes on the wall, on the fridge, as screensavers or as memos on your mobile
- Read your revision notes/diagram, then cover them and write out what you can remember
- Ask your family to test you-get someone to take your revision notes and ask you questions on them