Are you looking at all your work and wishing there was an easy way to revise for your A Levels? Wish you could just plug a memory stick into your head and download your textbooks?
Well, we’re not miracle workers but we’ve compiled some of the best revision hacks to help you nail those exams this summer.
We’re not saying that this should be your life but it’s a surprisingly good rule to follow. When you are revising, short study sessions followed by short naps are considered one of the best ways to learn. You read that right – it’s actually beneficial to take naps. The brain processes information while sleeping so a well revised topic will be easier to recall if you sleep on it. Don’t fall asleep halfway through revising a topic though – this obviously won’t have the same effect!
2. Pomodoro your way to an A
Pomo what? This is a great technique if you're having trouble concentrating. The Pomodoro method follows a basic pattern of 25 minutes studying followed by a five minute break. If you do four of these in a row you can then have a longer break. It works because you learn better in short sessions and you don’t have to punish yourself with unbroken hours of revision.
3. Create mental associations
Want to know how you can improve your memory for studying? Learn how to make associations. It’s the best way to remember anything and it’s used by memory champions (yes, they exist).
A popular way of doing this is to visualise your revision into scenarios, for instance if you do chemistry and you need to remember the chemical name of oxygen you might think of mobile phone salesmen because the answer is O2. Another thing to do is to relate topics to things you enjoy, like game characters, movie titles, books or sports players. Having trouble remembering the story of your English text? Imagine it being read out by your favourite football commentator or fictional character.
4. Chew gum and buy a weird air freshener
Nothing like a condensed milk air freshener to keep you more alert. Unfamiliar scents tend to keep you more awake as you haven’t gone nose blind to them – perfect for those longer, harder revision sessions. Chewing gum is also proven to help concentration. This is, admittedly, a last resort.
5. Stick to the fonts you know for your notes, unless you’re dyslexic
If you’re dyslexic, download the dyslexie font as it’s designed to be more readable for you, or use Comic Sans as it’s also easier for some people to read (despite the fact that no one likes it). Certain fonts like Arial or Times New Roman are considered the fastest fonts to read as they are most familiar to the majority of people. When it comes to fonts, familiarity equals speed, which means the font you always read and type with will be fastest for you.
Worried? Don't be.
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Pro tip: Study Cards
If you’re still revising by reading your notes over and over, are you really learning? Try this instead:
- Look at your pages of notes and then circle, or highlight, every fact you need to know.
- Get some post-it notes and write one fact on each.
- On the other side of each one you need to write a short, clear question - the fact on the other side is the answer.
- Put the post-it notes on your desk so you can only see the questions.
- Pick one up at random, read the question, think of the answer and then turn it over to see if you got it right.
Keep track of your progress
- How many did you get right?
- Which ones do you always get right?
- Which ones need more practice?
Focus on the ones which are difficult to remember. When you are ready, try mixing them up again with the other post-it notes and see how many you can remember now.
Different approaches can work for different people - just find out which ones work best for you.