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My Tutor Tips 2: Revision Techniques (Part 1)

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

So it was actually my brother who suggested writing a revision technique post for students.  Personally I was never very good in exams.  I remember having a panic attack in my Spanish GCSE for the speaking part and the teacher recording it.  Anyway, my brother words hit home that a good revision tips guide may be super helpful for students.

Be Prepared

The number one tip I have is being prepared.  The more prepared you feel the less anxious you are likely to be in your exam.  It is normal to feel a certain amount of nerves but it is managing and controlling them that is actually half the battle.

Some studies have found that actually revising in the type of situation or place where you are going to sit your exam can actually boost your results.  This is why you may sometimes see someone revising in a hall where an exam is going to be.  However, this can actually be a little too far for some people.  Whatever you decide I would suggest making sure you know the location of the exam before you sit it and familiarise yourself with the root there.  Also making sure you have all the exam equipment you need before the exam is important as well as knowing how to use things like calculators etc.  For more on this see my previous post on exam technique (click here).

How to Revise

It is also suggested by many that you should work in silence when revising.  After reading a few books on learning and from personal experience I actually think this is not true for everyone.  For example, when I am learning I like to have classical music playing whilst I know some people prefer complete silence and others can even revise with Rage Against the Machine booming.  However, I will say that there have been studies done that suggest music can aid concentration but hinder learning when trying to memorise ordered information.  Music has also been proven to aid depression.  For more information click here.

It is really up to you to find out what study and revision methods work best for you.  I used to revise in a comfy relaxed spot because this worked for me.  Other people may prefer revising formally at a desk for a set amount of time.  Other people may revise best in a library setting.

Just as there are many different sorts of people there are many different ways to learn and this is why I tutor creatively because every person is different.  People can be visual learners, social learners, solitary learners, aural learners, verbal learners, kinaesthetic learners and logical learners (to name but a few).  A social learner may prefer group based learning and thrive around other people.  If this is you, you may find it easier studying with other people.  A solitary learner on the other hand may prefer learning on their own.  They may find it easier to work things out for themselves and be more self-driven.  A visual learner may learn best through what they see and prefer highly visual notes.  They may find picture books or video learning easier to digest.  An aural learner may learn best through what they hear so audiobooks and teacher talk could be best.  Verbal learners may prefer written words and learn by reading books.  A kinaesthetic learner may be the fidgety child in the class who can't sit still and although it may look like they are not learning anything they are learning whilst moving.  Kinaesthetic learners are often mislabelled as ADHD students.  This is why movement through learning is sometimes important for students in classroom settings.  Other learners may be logical and are extremely methodical in their learning.  Logical thinkers like to know every detail to see the whole picture.  For more information on this S. J. Scott has written a great e-book called Novice to Expert.

As you can see learning is not a simple thing and people learn in different ways.  To top this off not everyone just falls into one of the above categories.  People can have multiple ways of learning best.  For this reason revision is deeply personal.  Creating revision notes in the same way for every student is probably not going to work.  Similarly just because your best friend learns best by list doesn't mean you will.  Maybe you’re a video person.

So this is something to keep in mind when you're taking an exam and you have revision time beforehand.  How are you going to prepare your revision material and how are you going to learn it?  Taking your preferred methods for learning into account can help you form great revision notes and make the most out of what you are learning. 

If you are uncertain about how you learn best you can take some quizzes on learning styles (click here).  Please be aware though only you can decide what works best for you and relying on quiz results may not be accurate.


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