The first principle of my blog is Creating Ecosystems of Success and a key focus is General Education. Most high achieving students have a specific set of keys they follow to excel which low achieving students don’t. Understanding and incorporating these keys will generate better results for both high school and college students. The title of the following contributed post is thus entitled, The Relevance of Revision: Prepare Better For Your Next Exam.
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When you think about the student lifestyle, it’s probably a vision of fun and relaxation that comes to mind. You roll out of bed late, attend a couple of seminars and then hit the pubs and clubs with your friends- what could be stressful about that? However, the reality of being a student in any capacity is much different. Particularly towards the ends of terms and during exam season when coursework and exams are looming over your head. It’s incredibly stressful as there’s so much pressure involved. All of the time, money and effort you’ve spent learning a subject all comes down to how well you perform in these set tests. If you find that you’re just not good at exams, don’t stress as there are things that can be done. If you go about it in the right way, you can walk into your exams knowing that you’ve put the work in and all of the information and knowledge is in your head. Here’s how you can go about it.
Attend all of your lectures and seminars
If you want to to well in your exams, it makes sense that you’ll attend all of the lessons, lectures and seminars throughout the year. This allows you to learn each topic in depth and ensure you fully understand it. As a student, it’s easy to miss lectures- too much alcohol the night before, staying up too late or just being lazy can have you thinking ‘I’ll miss this one and catch up.’ The trouble is, when you come to revise, you end up having to teach yourself the entire topic. If the work is complex then you might struggle doing this, and it generally adds a lot of stress and extra time to your revision schedule. Make sure that you’re attending all of the set classes, if you do find that you’re stuck or not following, arrange a session with your tutor or at least send them an email asking them to answer the questions that you have. If you skim over it, it will only come back to bite you later on, everything you’re being taught in the course could be on the exam so you need to know it. One way to make sure you’re really getting the most out of your lect
Get as much one-to-one help as you can
If your tutor is offering one-to-one sessions to answer students questions or running smaller study groups then take advantage of this. In larger lectures there are so many other people in there that you don’t always get the chance to ask everything that you need to know. In smaller groups, you and others can ask questions and also learn from each other. Your tutor is likely to be very busy, but if you are able to squeeze in any time with them it can be highly beneficial, even if it’s just a few minutes to answer your questions after a lecture.
Set up student study sessions
Speaking of smaller student study groups, if these don’t already exist at your college or university then why not set something up? Thanks to social media it’s easy to connect with your classmates, you could always set up a group with a time and date and invite people to join. There will be places in the university you could go, or you could go to a coffee shop or even a cafe and set yourselves up in one corner. It’s a chance for you to test yourselves, talk through different topics and can even help you to settle your nerves if you know there are others in the same boat as you. Set up flash cards and challenge each other, compare notes and generally get as clued up as you can about the topics on the exam. Whether it’s a group of three or a group of twenty, these kinds of sessions could really help you all.
Create a revision timetable
One of the most important things about revising is spending enough time covering each topic. One of the best ways to do this is to draw up a revision timetable- and stick to it. Work out how many topics you have, and how long you have until the exam. Then you can split up the time, and then divide up each topic however you see fit. In some tests such as the IAS exam, it will be made up of a number of parts, so you’ll need to make sure you’re prepared for each section. You can read more about this online. It’s crucial that you’re realistic in your timetable, you still need time each day to relax, socialise and do other things outside of revision so that you don’t end up completely burned out. But on the other hand, everything needs to be covered properly or you’ll end up cramming and stressing at the last minute.
When you have something unpleasant that needs to be done (namely, revise for exams) it’s easy to find any way you can to avoid this. You might not even realise you’re doing it, but end up putting other tasks before your revision. Some people even end up doing tasks they’d normally avoid (such as cleaning or laundry!) as in their minds, it’s better than revising. Minimise distractions, go to your study area and make a note of the time. Turn off the tv and your phone, and use a browser that isn’t’ logged into any social media to avoid you mindlessly clicking on it. Study for the amount of time you’ve decided without anything else taking your mind off it.
Keep stress down
Finally, revising in a highly stressed state isn’t going to benefit you. Exams are stressful, but you need to find ways to cope and manage things. Take a hot bath each evening, meditate or exercise. With a clear head you’ll find things go in and stay there much more easily. Which is exactly what you want when you’re revising!