Revision Top Tips

1. Get everything ready before you start. Have a big table, enough pens, enough paper,
your books, and a dictionary (to use in checking spelling and making
sure you understand words).

2. Plan your work before you start- but this doesn’t mean spending
so long on a colour-coded revision chart that you never start revising.

3. Spread out your revision. Do it in short chunks, with short breaks. For example,
work for 45 minutes and then take 5-10 minutes off. Stand up, walk
around, go outside and get fresh air. Working all the time is inefficient.
Scientific studies show that as you get tired, your ability to judge
your performance fails, so that you may think you’re making
fewer mistakes than before, while in fact your work is dropping
in quality.

4. If music helps you, then revise listening to music. But make sure you switch
your music off when you’re reading poetry – the beat
of the music will hide the way the poetry sounds.

5. First of all, re-read the play or book that you’re studying. Make sure
you understand the plot, can spell the characters’ names.
understand the main themes.

6. Then, if there’s a film that you can watch, watch that – and if there’s
more than one film, watch them both. This will help you get an idea
of how the play works in performance. But remember that directors
usually leave out lines and scenes, so be aware of what the director
has decided to cut.

7. There’s no better way to find out what you don’t know than by trying
to explain a topic to someone else. (Studies have shown that this
can almost double the amount you remember!) If you have a friend
you can revise with, then sit down and explain to them. They’ll
learn by listening to your explanation, and you’ll learn because
you’re going over it again, and you’ll realise where
you’re confused or don’t understand it. If you don’t
have a friend to revise with, lure your pet into your bedroom and
explain to them instead. Think I’m joking? Believe me, it
works (and I now have a cat who knows more about Shakespeare than
most people).

8. Do your revision in two stages – as you work through your original
notes, create a new set of condensed notes (or mind maps if you
prefer) for yourself. The condensed notes should include the most
important things for each book or topic. You’ll learn more
because you’ll have to decide for yourself what the most important
things are (critical thinking) and then you’ll have to write
them down (getting them into your memory).

9. The day before the exam, read through your condensed notes again. This will
remind you of the most important points.

10. And finally, keep things in proportion – yes exams are important, but they’re
not the most important things in the world. Don’t worry about
what other people say they’re doing, but get plenty of sleep,
food and exercise.

Good luck!