Eat, Sleep, Revise, Repeat

It's the eternal and unfortunate student routine at this time of year. Here are some tips to help you get through revision and make life a little more bearable.

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It’s the eternal, woeful student routine at this time of the year. Here are some tips to help you get through revision whilst being able to make life a bit more bearable.

If you’re anything like me, I always have extremely ambitious plans for the revision period, but never end up as focused as I’d hoped to be. With a few sets of major exams done now, I’m (finally) starting to get into a habit of a revision schedule that gets the job done, while managing to unwind too. Hopefully some of these ideas will help you if you’ve been struggling with the same problems.

  1. Revision timetable – It’s commonly said, but I do find making a revision timetable extremely comforting, as you know that you’ve already allocated enough time to cover everything, before you even get down to revise. I quite like spending a whole afternoon doing this to make sure I’ve covered this properly, and this ends up saving me a lot of time later.
  2. List all days you’re able to revise, taking into account a couple of days completely off
  3. Split these up into several hour slots, including time for breaks
  4. List and add in all the whole subjects and major activities to do within them (e.g. ‘revision’ of notes, essay practice/practice papers available) depending on how much time you want to spend on each per day
  5. List all the topics for each subject and fill them into the available ‘revision’ of notes slots
  6. Making it active – I often find just reading through class notes doesn’t help things to sink in. Instead, try to do this actively, for example, making shorter notes or cue cards. However, if there are too many topics to do this for, I’ve found that underlining key words or making short comments in the margin after reading a paragraph of notes works well.
  7. Past papers and mark schemes –It’s really important to get into the ‘style’ of the exam format, whether that be mentioning particular ideas in essays or making sure you address key words or steps in the sciences and maths. Review your answers critically using the mark schemes. Have a look for what the examiners want, and add these into your notes.
  8. Taking breaks – it’s really important to take breaks, both during revision days, and as days off seeing friends! As well as taking an hour lunch break, a short afternoon break and the late evening off, I find revising for 50 minutes, then taking a 10 minute break a good strategy. In the mini-breaks, some things you can do are: food, exercise, piano, radio, watching a TED talk or reading. I tend to leave TV/ Facebook/YouTube for the bigger breaks, as they’re hard to stop!
  9. Motivation – Keep going, you can do it! I picture the feeling of absolute excitement and relief that I get after every set of exams, whenever I feel demotivated. Stay happy and positive!

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