Revision: Advice from a student

April 3, 2019

Written by Kate Whetton, A Level Student

Kate is a current A Level student here at Havant & South Downs College. With exams on the horizon she shares her advice on coping with revision:

Whatever you’re studying, it’s unfortunate, but probable, that you will have exams – or at least mocks – coming up soon. Nobody likes exams – they’re long, strenuous, and for many of us a considerable source of stress. But if you prepare yourself beforehand, you can turn the experience around to make it a little more bearable.

I’m not going to tell you how you should revise. I’m not going to tell you exactly how long you should be spending preparing. We’re all different, and we all have different skills and abilities. What works for one person won’t work for another. What I will share is some of the advice I have picked up along the way, from things I do myself, to pointers I have received from others who have been there before.

It’s not too late

If you haven’t started revising yet, do not panic! It is not too late to make a difference if you start putting some hard work in now. Reminiscing on what you should have done, or work you could have done before now will only cause more stress. What matters is that you do make that change and commit to revision. It’s better to do a little than none at all.

Break it down

Interestingly, revision works a lot better when you break down each topic/module into smaller chunks and revise little and often. Not only does it make revision less stressful (avoid cramming!) but it also aids your memory. So make yourself a list of all the topics and subtopics you need to go over and work through each one step by step.

A note about productivity

Sometimes revision won’t go as well as you’re hoping. Other things in life will get in the way – that’s inevitable – and sometimes preparing for exams won’t be your top priority. When balancing revision, homework, a job, and other things in life – it’s good to remind yourself that being a little bit unproductive is better than doing nothing at all.  Don’t let life get in the way of revision, but at the same time don’t let revision get in the way of life. It’s all about finding that balance – a way of getting the most out of your remaining time, so that you can achieve the best that you can.

Be resourceful and get creative

There are a lot of resources you can use to revise! Textbooks and past papers are just the tip of the iceberg. Your lecturers, examiners’ reports, flashcards, revision guides, quiz generators like Kahoot and Quizlet, markschemes and YouTube can all be good things to use – and are all fairly easily accessible. But don’t forget – the most valuable resource you have is time – make sure you spend it wisely. Revision is (sometimes) only as boring as you make it. But you can revise course material however you want. Revise in different ways, make it fun and colourful and creative – so long as it helps!

Use Apps

There are a handful of helpful apps you can use, either for the actual material you need to revise or to keep you on track. There are a few apps out there – particularly for A Level subjects – that have content based around what you need to know. But be careful with these, often they are not based on any exam boards and many require you to pay for content.

To keep you motivated, there are also several apps. My favourite, and personal recommendation, is Hold, which gives you points for time you spend without using your phone which you can then redeem for discounts and prizes.

Ask For Help

Sounds simple – but make sure you do! Whether it be from a friend, a lecturer or a family member – if you are struggling with anything make sure you ask for help. There’s nothing wrong with it, and it will make you feel better.

Look after yourself

It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to achieve your best if you do not take care of yourself. Do not compromise your physical or mental health for the sake of pushing yourself too hard with revision. Take regular breaks, have a balanced diet, get enough sleep and try not to stress.

This time of year is supposed to be challenging. It won’t be easy – but it will be worth it if you put the work in now. Whatever your future plans are, your dreams, your goals… no one knows what you want as well as you do; no one will be as upset as you if you don’t get to where you want to be – so do not give up now!

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