Revising for exams whether they are ‘mission critical’ for entry to University or 6th form, or whether they are internal school exams, can seem like a long and drawn out process. So, how can you make revision relevant, valuable, and time efficient? We talked to our expert tutors and asked for their top tips on the best ways to revise!
1. Start Early:
Our Sciences tutor Lewis believes that starting early is by far the best way to tackle revision.
“If you can get a head start on revision, it will prepare you for your exams and leave you feeling more confident. The best way to retain information is to learn it, test it, and then revisit the information later to ensure it embeds in your head. This reinforcement can only be done if you start early and ensure enough time is left to cover all the content and more. Remember, this is a marathon not a sprint!”
2. It’s all about Environment:
Our Director of Studies, Clare, feels that the a good environment is key for a successful revision.
“It is so easy when you are trying to revise to get sidetracked by small things, so make sure you eliminate as many distractions as possible. Create a revision zone where they keep all their books and equipment and ask people to respect this space as a working zone. Keep phones for break times if possible. If the student insists on having the phone nearby, make sure all notification are turned off.”
3. Music – does it help or hinder?
Fiona, our Director of Education, remembers the battle she had with her children over whether music helps with revision! Studies have shown that music with lyrics is not helpful but classical music with no words can be a great aid. However, she would advise that it is not worth making this an area of contention, the most important thing is they settle quickly to the tasks and do not use choosing the music as a delaying tactic.
4. Timetabling is the Key:
Deputy Head of Operations, James, recalls how his revision timetable was his saving grace during his Cambridge exam period, he advises the first step is to draw up a revision timetable.
“Revision timetables are the key to ensuring your child’s time is used wisely and that there is a set focus each day. Having this structure in place also allows your child to fit in all the necessary topics within the allocated revision time. This way you can also schedule revision breaks too!”
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5. Revise in Bursts:
Our Maths tutor, Jonathan, says it is all about timing.
“You should encourage timing slots of 45 minutes. With time to set up, this will allow a good 30 minutes of effective revision and then 10 minutes to review. You should set up regular, timed breaks of 15 minutes. Research has shown that these timing slots are the most effective way to revise and boost concentration.”
6. Work from the inside out:
Adeeba, our Sciences tutor, argues that revision should work from the inside out.
“It is key to look after your child during revision periods! A healthy body and mind will increase a child’s revision and create improved results. Physical activity is very important during intense revision periods. Even a quick 30-minute jog or walk after a day of studying will increase your child’s heart rate and get vital oxygen to the brain helping to reduce tiredness and stress. Make sure your child’s diet is healthy too. Plenty of vegetables and fish are definitely good for brain power but fast food or processed foods are definitely not! Keep those revision snacks healthy!”
7. Don’t forget about exam technique:
Our English tutor, Dylan, says is all about exam technique.
“Just knowing the facts is not enough, your child needs to know how to answer the questions and give the examiner what they are looking for in order to get the top grades. Timed practice papers are vital for refining exam technique so students are familiar with the timing and the types of questions that can come up. Exam technique can be tricky to master, so using past papers and looking through mark schemes can really help your child when it comes to the exam period.”
8. Listen to the Research:
Mohini, our Business tutor, relies on research done into effective techniques when she is advising her students. Her tip is:
"Make summary notes as this has been proven to be one of the most successful ways of memorising information, especially if you then summarise the summary notes! Do not be tempted to do this on a computer, the act of writing things out is proven to aid memory, and as an added bonus, it prepares your child for the long stints holding a pen in the exam room.” Using colour has also been proven to support memory retention So, use of lots of colour on things like mindmaps!
9 . Build a Memory Palace!
Alex, an English and Classics specialist swears by “memory palaces”. This technique uses spatial memory to learn sequences of information. By turning individual chunks of information into mental images and then connecting the images to different rooms in the “palace” and creating a story, you can then recall information much more easily on the day of the exam.
10. Don’t Stress, Just Revise:
Oliver, our Maths and Sciences tutor, feels that the best tactic is not to panic:
“It may be sound easier than it is, but try to ensure your child is not spending valuable revision time panicking and worrying about exams. Some worries can be helpful and give your child the adrenaline needed to perform in exams, however, too much stress is unhealthy. Create a positive and supportive environment at home and ensure your child does not miss out on sleep. Panic around exams is avoidable, but it can be minimised and controlled, to create a productive revision environment.”
We hope that these proven tips and tricks from our experts will help your child to make sure their revision is as productive as possible. Good luck and happy revising!
Still struggling with one particular topic? Is a specific subject causing your child a lot of stress? Carfax Tutors can help alleviate some of that stress with bespoke one to one tuition! Call us now to book a lesson +971 4 438 5276.