Oh no. That thing you promised would not happen all those weeks ago has: you’ve left that one subject (or a few!) you thought you wouldn’t need much time for, to the last minute.
It can happen to the best of us. Whatever your reasons may be, exams are daunting and even the most diligent of students can find it difficult to give sufficient time to all the subjects they are preparing for. If you have found yourself with less time than you hoped to get ready for some of your exams, we’ve got some last minute revision tips to help you make the most of the time left:
Get to grips with your syllabus
The first step is to know exactly what you need to know for your exams. Your teachers will have an overall list of aims and objectives that they need you to achieve. So ask them, get your hands on the syllabus and go through it with a detailed eye. Highlight all the terms, formulae, topics etc. (you get the drift) that you need to be familiar with and start putting together a plan. This will stop you from wasting crucial time entering panic mode from getting overwhelmed with everything you need to do.
Organise your revision timetable
Revision plans like most are hard to stick to. Find out exactly how much time you have and amend your timetable as necessary. Now that you know your syllabus and what topics you are going to be focusing on, you can add more hours to the ones you find most difficult without putting too much pressure on yourself. And, if you didn’t start with a revision timetable, make one now regardless of how much time you have until your exam, be it a week, a few days or even tomorrow! A revision timetable is a great tool to use that will help focus your learning and utilise the time you have left effectively. Don’t forget to input small breaks which are equally important.
Get your environment right
Finding a place where you can concentrate on your revision can be difficult as there are so many variables outside of your control. If your bedroom is your primary space of study, try to get rid of anything that may distract you such as phones, music, video games, or even that beloved cuddly toy (I’m looking at you Scooby) until after you’ve finished. If you’re working in your living room, turn off the television and perhaps put on some classical music instead. Implement your do-not-disturb card to family and friends and if you find it hard to focus with them around, take yourself off to the library where being silent is a requirement or head to a revision friendly location.
Condense, condense, condense
How you revise depends on your subject, but it is a good idea to trim down each topic to a few pages of notes using your class notes and textbooks. That way you’ll have a clear idea of key concepts, examples and contrasting arguments that you can use to help jog your memory on the day of your exam. Flashcards are great for this and using one colour per subject can help you to remember it better in the exam hall.
Break it up and eat proper food
Taking regular breaks is very important to ensure you get the best out of your revision. With breaks, you give your brain greater chance of remembering what you have just learned as research shows you can mix things up when your brain is forced to store large amounts of new and similar information in a short space of time. Breaking up your revision into 45-minute chunks with a 15-minute break can help minimise interference. And yes, although it may be hard, try and stay away from vending machine food (crisps, chocolate, sweets) and nourish yourself with foods that are going to help keep you in peak condition and improve your overall wellbeing.
Finally, the most important of all revision tips: stay positive.
With the little time you have left, by taking charge, being prepared and disciplined, you’ll put yourself in a strong position for exam success. Good luck and if you’re still feeling stuck and overwhelmed, our experienced and friendly tutors can help you get organised and give you that valuable boost of support as always so don’t hesitate to get in touch!