November 9, 2021
Charlotte Parsons is a dedicated King’s InterHigh sixth form student, who has mastered the art of revision and excelled in her A-levels. Simultaneously, she has pursued her dreams of studying an Equine Degree at university and running her own equine breeding facility with her family. Juggling the two certainly hasn’t been easy, but in doing so she has learnt a lot.
Here, Charlotte shares her top revision tips which she hopes can be particularly helpful to King’s InterHigh’s current year 11s undergoing their mock exams.
Tip one: Create a timetable
It’s so important to break down the subject you need to revise into manageable chunks. Then, you can prioritise these bitesize topics based on your level of knowledge and create a timetable to learn each one, so that you feel completely prepared ahead of the exams.
This should help to combat anxiety. Having a timetable not only motivates you and helps you focus, but doing this will make you feel in control of your studies as you have a clear and organised roadmap to exam success!
Tip two: Consider your environment
Your environment makes a big difference to your ability to focus and revise. Everyone will benefit from different surroundings depending on their needs. For example, some might revise best when they’re alone and in complete silence, while others may enjoy the studious nature of a library, and some will thrive when surrounded by the energy found in a coffee shop or with their peers. Alternatively, you may even find a combination of the above suits your learning style best! It will require trial and error to find how you revise at your optimum, but once you do, you will be able to focus and set yourself up for success.
Tip three: Be concise
When making revision notes, be as concise as possible. If your notes end up being huge paragraphs, you may feel overwhelmed, discouraged and end up drowning in information that you can’t memorise. Instead, break your notes up into short, manageable sentences, and key information will automatically be easier to remember, helping you feel more energised and able to succeed as a result.
Tip four: Embrace colours
While not for everyone, colours can be a brilliant revision tool for many reasons. Firstly, they enable some learners to organise, consolidate and remember information. I enjoy using colours and highlighters in my revision notes, because they help me visually separate notes and paragraphs which increases my confidence. Colour coding also helps me understand how different topics interconnect and recall information in exams as I just think of the colour to remember concepts.
Tip five: The power of past exam papers
This is something I couldn’t stress more. Past papers offer invaluable insight into exams! Spending time going through past papers will familiarise you with the overall format, the marking criteria, as well as the types of questions that have been asked previously, helping to make you feel less anxious in the lead up to the exam. The more you can predict, the better prepared you will feel.
Tip six: Reach out to friends
A lot of people feel stressed, anxious, and even isolated when they’re revising, especially during the pandemic. To help overcome this, I would recommend reaching out to your friends, who may feel a similar way. Connecting with others may help you overcome anxiety together as you will feel less alone. It will also enable you to share ideas, thoughts and perspectives so you gain a better understanding of the exam material. Speaking out loud and relaying content you have learned to others is also a powerful way of memorising information as you explain it in your own words, which in turn makes it more understandable, and more likely to stick with you!
Tip seven: Sleep is golden
Sleep is so important! It can be tempting to stay up all night to revise, as you don’t want to waste any time, but this can often be counterproductive. You need to feel alert and energetic when you’re revising. Sleeping an average of six to eight hours a night can boost your energy and ability to focus, which will in turn, enable you to retain information more successfully.
Tip eight: Break time
I’ve learnt the hard way that long revision sessions and late nights living off coffee doesn’t help you prepare for exams. When you exhaust yourself, you become less able to process and retain information which can increase anxiety. Instead, take breaks! It might sound simple, but breaks throughout the day can help you feel refreshed and revitalised before you delve into revising new topics or concepts.
Tip nine: Reward yourself
I recommend rewarding and treating yourself. Revising is hard and gruelling, after which you deserve something which makes you happy. For example, you could practice a hobby, do some reading, play a game, talk to your friends or family, watch some TV or anything else which helps you relax and recharge. This will also help connect revision with positive experiences, which will increase your motivation to continue and succeed!
Tip ten: Make it fun
Everyone enjoys different activities. Your passion might be painting, acting, dancing, writing, music or something completely different. My final tip would be to try merging your passion with the topic or subject you’re trying to revise.
For example, if you’re a painting pro you might want to depict the concept you’re revising in the form of an art piece, or maybe you could add illustrations to your revision notes. That way, you will learn exam content through a language you not only understand and thrive in, but that you find enjoyable and fun! When you’re in the exam room, you’ll just need to think of your amazing artwork to remember the points you need to succeed.
I hope these tips have been helpful. To any student feeling overwhelmed about exams, you should know you’re not alone. So many others have felt this way, but this feeling is temporary and there are many coping methods you can practice like the ones listed above to help you feel in control, happy and ready to succeed. I wish you all the best for your exams – study hard and you will succeed!
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