For most students, revising materials they’ve been taught in class is a chore, but has to be done to keep up with essential concepts and pass the upcoming test. But revision doesn’t have to feel like a tiresome bother if you plan it correctly and prepare well in advance. We all know about “late-night cramming” and even pulling an all-nighter replete with caffeine overuse, but that’s hardly a good method of retaining information and truly understanding your material.
That said, different people prefer to revise in different ways, and using different methods. As such, figuring out what works best for you can be a matter of trial and error. For that reason, any worthwhile advice about revision should be applicable no matter the finer measures you enjoy working on, or the particular subject you’re hoping to qualify in.
It’s that worthwhile advice we intend to give you, below. We hope these five following secrets can help you perfect your revision schedule and process going forward:
Break Your Learning Into Constituent Segments
You have an entire course to revise for, and you can never tell exactly which topics will come up on your examination. That’s why it’s good to avoid trying to predict exactly what will be asked and focus on having a good understanding of everything. This means breaking down each study session into a specific approach. You must have clear goals and intent for each learning outcome.
Even if you focus on a very specific element of your recent tuition or look over class notes to make sure you understand everything, this is good enough. It’s important to be focused and stick to one goal per revision session, and never let yourself get distracted or try to do everything at once.
Set Appropriate Time Blocks
Time blocking is most often a tool used by entrepreneurs, but it can work wonders for students too. Put simply – time blocking is about planning out hours you work on specific tasks as opposed to simply “revising” in general. So for example, perhaps today you have five hours to revise outside of a short morning lecture.
So, you might block two hours of that for revising a particular subject. Then, you block out an hour for lunch and a discussion with your peers. Then you can block another two hours for a different focus. This means you won’t have a generalized five-hour block with scattered breaks in which you attempt a number of distinct revision efforts – instead, you have two very focused topics that you stick to, and more than enough time to refresh your perspective between both of those efforts.
Not only does this prevent burnout, but it helps focus and also grants satisfaction knowing you’ve dedicated time to a topic without necessarily throwing it away when it feels done. This way, you can also quite easily keep track of how many hours you’ve invested into each topic and when it’s time to move on, so you can equally spread yourself among all your revision efforts, and also see what topics you’ve been neglecting.
Arrange & Utilise Knowledge-Building Resources
The resources you use to revise will make a profound difference in how effective your learning approach will be. It’s good to keep digitized notes on your laptop and to type up scrawled notes into constituent categories that can be referred to later. Apps like Notion and Evernote are great for individuals to gather that knowledge. It’s also good to rely on confident, well-respected academic learning resources to empower your understanding as opposed to giving you the answers.
For example, it may be that today you use the best integral calculator to solve definite and indefinite integers. This will give you a headstart on your chosen topic, but also hook you into focusing on specific learning outcomes, be that practicing a few mock questions from previous exams or even relearning the basic concepts to provide you a golden foundation for any other more complex works.
Be Patient & Avoid Shortcuts
It’s important to be patient when it comes to revision. Ultimately, you can try and cram knowledge as frequently as possible, but this isn’t conducive to good memory-building or learning.
For this reason, you should always take your time. Give your brain the space and time to properly cement and connect concepts. Go over the same issue five times if it feels necessary, and pause to ask your professor for clarification if you can.
Avoid the temptation to look up the answers to problems you’re working on, unless your answer has been revealed to be incorrect and you need to go back and check the logical process you missed. Avoid AI tools like ChatGPT and other resources to give you a quick, easy answer, even those who use it admit that technical questions are often wrong or lacking detail, and it won’t help you in an exam.
Use Memory-Fortifying Revision Tools
Flashcards, mixed media content, and one-segment-at-a-time thinking will help you keep up with your revision and avoid feeling rushed by it. It’s also important to remember that sleep is when most of our memory is fortified and restored, and so without a healthy sleep schedule, or pulling all-nighters to get it all done a week before the exam, you will only leak out the subject you’ve worked on like a sieve.
Moreover, it’s good to revisit the same topic on multiple days, this way your approach to repetition will help it stick around in your mind more, especially in an exam environment where none of those learning materials will be available. This is why taking a staggered and step-by-step approach to revision can be so much more effective when conducted weeks, rather than days, in advance.
With this advice, you’ll be sure to perfect your revision schedule and progress going forward. It may take a little time to achieve, but in the long run, you’ll thank yourself for the effort. You’ll also start to see revision as a fun activity when the pressure of constant deadlines are no longer upon you, and it will help you thrive in classes too.