Oh hi, yup you did read correctly, this is me blogging for the first time in forever *sings Frozen* (sorry I couldn’t resist)! You’ll be pleased to know that my first year university exams haven’t left me too broken from 2am revision sessions or from the many hours almost stabbing myself in the eye with a highlighter, oh and nor from the countless hours spent in the library (which if you must know was approximately 3 and trust me that was enough). Although having said that I still have one to go, so you never know!
I have realised several things in the past two weeks: expensive highlighters are no better than the £1 ones from Poundland, coffee has the ability to be your best-friend (especially the Nescafe pre-made sachets, I’m just lazy) and that snacking through boredom is for sure a real thing. Since I have spent every single day of my life revising these past few weeks, I thought it was about time I shared some of my ‘ultimate’ revision tips and in particular the ones that I have been relying on.
Now I am the perfect example of someone who basically doesn’t know how to sleep properly. I just like to nap instead of going to bed early, and my power naps turn into 3 hours… This then means that I can’t sleep at night and my sleeping pattern ends up being a complete disaster (student problems eh?). BUT, I think that sleep is arguably the most important part of revision! That does not mean get up at 11am, then nap for 3 hours and then be back in bed for 9pm which actually means getting into bed to watch 5 hours of YouTube videos (or Netflix) on your laptop – don’t worry I am perfectly familiar with this kind of ‘extremely lazy’ student lifestyle that should be dedicated to Saturdays only.
However, what this tip does mean is that you must ensure that you obtain the correct amount of hours sleep EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. Don’t worry, this may sound virtually impossible but it is only during your exams. Trust me, this will help you so much. Alongside sleeping for right amount of hours, I think that a routine is good to have. You know that kind of routine your parents attempted to achieve with you when you were 6 or 7… “breakfast at 9am, lunch at 1pm, dinner at 6pm, bed by 10pm (without the laptop)” sort of thing.
Also download the “Sleep Cycle” app – it will save your life.
I am pretty good at writing “To Do” lists of “To Do” lists of “To Do” lists… (woah, how confusing). However, “To Do” lists can actually be super useful during revision as it allows you to plan out what you have to revise for each exam. However, I just love the sense of accomplishment when I finally get to highlight something off of my list.
I have been planning my revision in my university diary and on my laptop calendar. This is a good way to track your progress and see how much (or little) work you have done for all those many hours spent sobbing over those textbooks.
Stick to the “To Do” list but don’t make it too long, else you’ll probably cry (like I do) when you see how much you have left to do. I get so upset and down about myself when I am unable to achieve EVERYTHING that I want to do but sometimes you just don’t have time to do EVERYTHING, so narrow it down and make it simpler.
Keep it short and achievable.
This tip works for me but might not for you as everyone is different! I think that working in colour, using highlighters, coloured pens to write notes and colour coding is really useful. For me, I am often able to remember information better if I associate it with a colour or sometimes a tiny drawing (or symbol / icon).
This I think is a great tip for people who are visual learners, creative or suffer from dyslexia/dyspraxia like me! I find it super difficult to remember stuff, especially if I have absolutely ZERO interest in the topic. But I have recently devised a way of revising that helps that a lot:
- First of all, I type ALL my revision notes up onto a single word document and in that document I title each section or module of work, this helps me to find stuff super fast.
- Then I go through and make anything that is SUPER important bold.
- Anything that I am struggling to remember I change the font colour to a bright one other than black. The easiest colours I find to read on screen are teal, purple or orange.
- I then print out the document and go through it with a highlighter (but be careful not to highlight everything, don’t worry I do that too) and colours pens, taking notes (and drawing ickle pictures) as I go.
I find this to be a super affective way of revising topics that are usually long (and quite boring). I also find mind-mapping a great way to revise but Anthropology doesn’t lend well to that kind of revision *cries*.
As mentioned above, I take a lot of notes when revising. This is partly because I am usually re-reading stuff as well as pulling apart my class notes, lecture notes and powerpoint slides. For my most recent exam I ended up with a handmade revision booklet that contained over 30,000 words and you only imagine how unhelpful that ended up being! Okay, I had done a lot of revision and I was super proud of my ‘half-a-ream-of-paper style’ revision guide but realistically it wasn’t easy to flick through. And so… after all that I narrowed it down to ten, or so, revision cards containing only the most important aspects of each module. I think that long notes are good throughout long-term revision, but ‘cramming’ requires short snappy notes rather than half a novel.
I remember my secondary school headteacher once said to us before our GCSEs that the only way to do well is to revise each topic, 7, 8, 9, 10 or 20 times (and I remember thinking there is no way in a million years I am going to pass these exams). Now I, like most students out there, don’t have enough time to revise each topic 7 times, let alone 20. However, I do think it is a good idea to revise each topic THREE times. ‘Revising a topic 3 times’ doesn’t mean writing up revision notes 3 separate times but more returning back to topics after revising others. This will just jog your memory about a module and then after the 3rd time it will cause you to wake up in the night having nightmares about Shakespeare, Marxism or Game Theory…
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Firstly, sorry for how long this post is, oh geez, I have been gone for too long! Secondly, I hope you found this useful and that it didn’t make you stress too much (…don’t stress just eat a starburst or something). Thirdly, if you would like to get in contact with me then CLICK HERE YAY, although, be aware I am super behind on my emails but will be replying once my last exam is over!
P.S. Snacking is a vital revision tip and an overall must… I recommend pizza, sweets, chocolate or bananas (Because you’ve gotta be healthy occassionally)!