With both GCSEs and A-Levels well under way, millions of young people across the UK are hitting the books to brush up on their knowledge before they head into the exam hall. But for many, who after months of home learning will be facing their first formal exams since lockdown, exam season already seems like a daunting prospect.
But, revision doesn’t have to be scary, and to prove it virtual learning experts Minerva’s Virtual Academy have shared some of their top tips for staying focused and getting the most out of your revision. Tidy space, tidy mind We’re big believers in the clear desk, clear mind philosophy here at Minerva. Revision can feel like a big task and trying to work amongst lots of clutter can make things feel overwhelming. After all, you don’t want to be rummaging through stacks of science notes when you're trying to revise Shakespeare! A quick tidy of your workspace and gathering all of the relevant notes can be a nice way to get yourself into the revision mindset and make sure you’re focused on the task at hand. Priorities
We’ve all got subjects that we feel more comfortable tackling and often, those are the ones we enjoy the most. To use your revision time effectively, you should think about the subjects you’re less up to speed on and make those your priority. Giving yourself the time to get to grips with the things you find tricky will pay dividends in the exam hall and make you feel much more confident from the offset.
Divide and conquer
It’s easy to panic and try and revise everything all at once but that’s not the best way to get your mind working at its best. Breaking your revision down into smaller chunks, whether that’s by subject or individual topic will make things much easier to navigate and also will make it easier to identify the topics that you could do with a little more help on. You’ll likely find that you’re able to take in more information this way too as you won’t be bombarding your brain with lots of information in one go.
Timing is everything
Much like breaking your revision into chunks, the same goes for your time. Long stints of revision might seem to be the best way to cram in all that information, but it’s really not the most effective way to learn, plus it can also be boring! Dividing your revision time into smaller 10 or 15 minute bursts will keep you engaged, stop your mind wandering and will make things feel much more manageable.
Switch off the social We’re all guilty of getting distracted with a quick scroll through our social feeds but before you know it you can waste a huge amount of time that could have been spent getting some revision in.Try using your ‘Do Not Disturb’ or ‘Focus’ function while you’re revising to make sure you aren’t being distracted by constant notifications or even, just switch your phone off during your revision to make sure you can really focus.
Take a break
Revision can be mentally tiring, so it’s important to give yourself regular breaks to recharge. Step away from your workspace and try taking a walk to get some fresh air, doing some exercise or watching an episode of your favourite TV show. Revision can feel monotonous so breaking it up to do things you enjoy will make it much easier to manage. Remember, exams are important but you still need to have a life so don’t be afraid to have a day off if you need it!
Use your teachers Your teachers want you to do well and they’re there to help so if there’s anything you’re not sure of, don’t be afraid to ask. Sometimes if you’re struggling with a topic, it can be as simple as someone explaining it in a slightly different way - a new perspective can really help you to get your head around things and after all, that’s what teachers are there for.
Don’t leave it to the last minute Sticking your head in the sand and avoiding your revision until the very last minute is a surefire way to amp up your anxiety on the way into the exam hall. Make a plan and spread your revision out in the days or weeks leading up to your exam. You’ll learn far more this way than trying to pull an all-nighter the night before and you’ll go into it feeling a lot more prepared.
Write it down
We’re used to doing everything through a screen (after all, we’re virtual learning experts!) but going back to basics and writing your notes with a pen and paper can be a great way to help things stick in your mind. Also try to keep your notes as short and snappy as possible - think flash cards, minimal information, maximum impact.
Get creative Sometimes it’s the weird things that are most likely to stay front of mind so thinking of quirky ways to remember things can be a great way to jog your memory. Think funny acronyms, songs, even raps - it sounds silly but you’re more likely to remember a rap about Henry VIII’s wives than a whole page from a textbook! For more tips and tricks or to find out more about Minerva’s Virtual Academy, visit www.minervavirtual.com