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Revision Tips

You will have already constructed a revision timetable, but here are some basic thoughts on perhaps how to refine it.

  • Make sure you have structured blocks with regular breaks. Put in some of your normal leisure/sport activities, as mentioned above
  • List all the areas you need to revise, and allocate very specific times to them
  • Allow more time for subjects you are less confident about or did a long time ago
  • Leave some slots open to allow extra time in case some things take longer
  • Be realistic about your concentration span, so timetable in a short break probably after each hour of study. (But don’t use it to do any activity which might easily turn into procrastination and keep you away from your work – your breaks are time to “switch-off”, but need to be as organised as your study)
  • Set clear times for starting and finishing for the day

One good structural tip is to revise something you are fairly comfortable with first (for the first couple of hours perhaps), so you don’t lose confidence or get too stressed. Then do revision of your hardest subject, then back for the last part of the day to a “middle-difficulty” one.

You don’t need to know absolutely everything – drop topics about which you know least.  As a rough rule, if you need to answer three questions in an examination you need to have a thorough understanding of six topics.

Make sure your revision isn’t just a passive exercise (reading notes) but it is active (making notes, practising answering past exam questions, reading material out aloud). Being “active” in engaging with the material will help you to remember it so much better.

One key revision-time tip is to know exactly when each of your examinations is taking place – double check! – so you won’t miss an exam. (This might seem obvious, but some people neglect to do so).

Some other long-term planning tips:

  • Make sure the College Office has your current mobile phone number (in case we need to contact you about the examination)
  • Have as many sub-fusc white shirts/blouses as possible clean, so you don’t need to worry about washing things too much in the hectic exam period itself.

But of course it is nice to have tips specifically related to your area. The following are links to suggestions made by St Hilda’s tutors in many subject areas. They cover both revision techniques and how to tackle the actual exam:

Even if your own subject isn’t specifically listed it’s worth having a look at them all, or at least the ones in the same broad area:

Then have a look at the practical tips in On Examination Day(s).