How to pass exams – with revision tips based on your learning style
How to pass exams and do your best even if you feel a bit panicked and glass-half-empty. These preparation and exam revision tips will help you find your own study flow.
It’s getting to that time again. How to pass exams? It’s a question I’ve been asking myself a lot lately, and from copious research on the topic (as in, from not having failed any exams yet), I am here to offer you all a few words of wisdom. You can trust my words of wisdom, for I suffer from a horrible affliction called Headteacher’s Daughter Syndrome…
Where to begin?
It sounds obvious, but make sure you know your courses and exam timetables (I’ve added a link to the AQA exam timetables for you). In general they make these sites confusing on purpose, I think, to test whether you’re awake enough to revise. If you can’t work out which exams you’re taking, you should go back to bed. Fact.
Alternatively, try asking someone who’ll know. Like a teacher. Or the gremlin under your desk. Yes, the same gremlin you’ve been ignoring for weeks, because they say you should have started revising for exams a while back…
You should also probably check exam specifications. Checking exam specs in advance will make you feel like the exams are real and you’re really doing something towards them. Seeing those exam specs in front of you will also help you realise that the exam structure isn’t as awful as you think.
Exam specifications can mostly be found online, by searching by exam board and qualification on Google – but exam board websites can bamboozle even those most likely to pass exams. Soon, they’ll start running degree programmes in “how to navigate the AQA website”.
Good luck with that lot.
Okay, so you’ve nailed what your exam is about, and when it is. Now what?
Which revision technique is best for you?
Find a study technique that matches your personality and learning style. Sight, voice or touch? Which one works best for you?
Revision techniques based on *SIGHT*
- Watch the teacher carefully in class
- Browse never-ending reviews when deciding what to watch or buy online
- Use bright, colourful sharpies to highlight your revision notes, marking key words, phrases and ideas
- Create a MindMap
- Explore varying layouts for your revision notes, like diagrams or flow charts
- Try these three mnemonic mind tricks on Mookychick.
Revision techniques based on *SOUND*
- Find class tasks easier to understand if the teacher talks you through them. Ugh, notes.
- Talk choices through with friends rather than reading up what the rest of the world says
- Some revisionistas might prefer silence during study, but you can try playing music as you revise.A fast beat or powerful lyrics can distract you, but science experiments show that soothing music, around 6BPM, can create relaxed brainwaves.
- Record key revision points and play them back to yourself, maybe when you’re just about to go to sleep.
- Try making a rhyme or song out of key revision points. It may help you remember them better. It’s like a mnemonic mind trick, but a vocal one to suit your study style.
- Tell parents or friends what you’ve learned whenever you can. Saying the words out loud helps you remember, and form your thoughts even more clearly to help you understand what you’re saying.
Revision techniques based on *PHYSICAL ACTIVITY*
- Love to spend time being physically active, or making things with your own sweet hands
- Prefer to test a product before you buy it – you can’t fully online reviews and word-of-mouth
- Take walks where you can think and talk as you walk, repeating your revision notes to yourself or a friend. This is what the ancient Greeks used to do. They would go for long walks with their students to teach them, because they thought a person learned more if they were using their muscles at the same time.
- Try absorbing key revision notes with the “body pegs” technique to help you remember.
- Try learning key points with the “sticky notes” technique. Write short key points or words on a post-it note and stick them around your room (you can add drawings, if you like). Walk around, pause before each sticky note and read the keyword out loud. After doing this a few times you’ll find it easier to remember key points without having to walk round your room.
Exam revision tip – make a list
Get some big paper, some blu-tac and some really colourful, thick pens. You’re going to make a list. This list will help you know how much you’ve revised (be proud and happy when you tick something off the list). It will also make it clear what you still need to do.
You sometimes need to guilt trip yourself into working. Writing that list can help your mind feel more tidy and less messy. It really helps. Do it as soon as possible.
So, use your big paper and big pens to make a big list of everything you need to do – then stick it up somewhere prominent, so you can’t miss it.
Using your list to revise for exams
- Start at the beginning.
- Cross everything off when you’ve done it.
- Work out how you revise best. Diagrams and posters work well for some people. For me, it’s flashcards and practice papers all the way. You might find a different way altogether.
- Reward yourself. Chocolate, cups of tea, and braincandy film evenings work well.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself. Everyone deserves a break once in a while.
- Equally, don’t be too soft on yourself. If you’re breaking more than you are working, put the emphasis back onto exam revision, because your will is mighty.
- Ask for help. No, not from the gremlin. From people who can support you and help you find balance and motivation.
- Create a revision playlist of happy, calming music, for when your nerves become too frazzled.
- Don’t work in your room all the time – you’ll get sick of the sight of your four walls. Go to the library instead. It’s quiet in the library, and it’s somewhere where you’ll feel like you have to work. Sometimes it’s nice to have a third place with no distractions. Then you can show the world you mean business.
- DON’T WORK IN THE SAME ROOM AS ANY GIZMO WHICH CONNECTS TO SOCIAL MEDIA.
Two nights before the exam
- Create a list of stuff you absolutely have to know
- Sleep, and don’t panic. These sleeping tips on Mookychick might help you during your revision period.
The night before the exam
- Test yourself very quickly, using the list you made last night
- Check your equipment
- Check your equipment again
- Have a bath, a cup of tea, and a BIG PIECE OF CAKE OR REWARD FOOD OF YOUR CHOICE.
- Sleep, and don’t panic.
And… you’re done. Now go party until results day arrives. Then you’re allowed to panic.
Tagged in: school and college