We’ve all done it – studied for exams. Not many people would class revision as something they looked forward to or enjoyed. Although we would all probably say it was necessary. But would you say it was effective? Was it the best way to revise? Did you pass the exam? Get the grade you wanted? Or, the million dollar question, do you remember any of what you learned?
If you were asked how you would study for a test, what would you say? Read your notes? Write out summary cards? Try online tests? Although there is a lot of research on the best ways to revise, many people seem unaware of it or refuse to change their own preferred method. Cramming for exams still remains a popular strategy, even with the associated lack of sleep and caffeine jitters.
So, what is effective?
Believe it or not, it’s really quite simple.
- Short bursts of revision time
- Spaced out revision
- Specific practice in needed areas
- Mixing up topics, not just one at a time
See, not rocket science! But it means superior revision for shorter periods of time. Along with these, things like enough sleep, exercise, relaxation and the right kind of food are also crucial in ensuring the best outcome.
How about in school?
Unfortunately, school-run revision classes don’t fit this model very well.
This works against how most schools operate. The after-school revision sessions are particularly problematic. After a hard-thinking five hours, the teenage brain simply isn’t ready for peak performance.Alex Quigley, TES
Teenagers tend to go to bed late (or very early in the morning) and suffer tiredness throughout the school day. Trying to then revise straight after the final bell just adds another obstacle to successful learning.
How I can help
Over the next few months I’ll be looking at the above areas in more detail. I’ll also share some tips on how to get the maximum results from your effort. Hopefully you’ll see that you can actually learn more by studying less!