As we come up to revision season ahead of May exams, I thought I’d share with you my step by step process to tackling revision.
1 – MAKE A CHECKLIST
For me, there’s always a process to revision, and if I don’t have everything that I need to cover written down – in the back of my head I will ALWAYS be worrying and thinking about what I haven’t done yet. Spend a couple of hours writing down all the topics that are coming up in the exam and how you want to revise them – here’s an example of the checklist I’ve made for my May examinations.
2 – CONDENSE YOUR NOTES
This is always my starting point. My modules are divided into 9 cycles, and as I handwrite my notes from various different sources, the best starting place for me is to type up all the relevant information from the whole cycle onto one document. I call them my ‘Cycle Cheat Sheets’ because the have all the necessary information on them that I’ll need for the exam. I break up the page using headings and write everything in bullet points with the cases italicised to make them stand out. Once these documents are done, they are the only sources of information I will use to revise. Goodbye beautiful hand-written notes!
3 – QUIZLET
Quizlet is an AMAZING tool to learn cases and academics. I can hand on heart say that it was the only way I learnt enough cases and academics to get a 1st in my first year. I put the case name or academic surname in the ‘Term’ box, and then the ratio or quote in the ‘Definition’ box. What I love about Quizlet is that there are little games and ways to test yourself on your laptop and your phone – so if you have a spare 10 minutes in a day it’s something productive you can quickly do. Coming up to the exam, I use the ‘Test’ feature everyday and only let myself move on to the next quiz / method when I’ve got 100% first time. This can be frustrating, but I think it’s the frustration that makes me even more determined to learn the content!
4 – BLURTING
This is my ALL TIME FAV method. I’ve actually done a whole blog post on it here – so read that to learn the step by step method with example pictures! Blurting is essentially a way of testing your memory using a mind-map style method – I honestly spend hours repeating this again and again – as well as being a great memory test, it’s also the most rewarding method when you can remember everything.
5 – PAST PAPERS
These are the closest things you’re going to get to the actual exam – so if you have access to them – USE them! Past papers are great because you can often spot a question pattern in them – so preparing answers for these is a very good way to prepare for similar questions that could come up in the paper. I use past papers in two ways:
1; Mindmap plans. Using the more older papers, I’ll put the question in the middle of the page, write 3/4 main points around it and then around each of those points, write all the content (inc cases and academics) around them. If you’ve read my post on planning exam essays , you’ll know that this technique feeds DIRECTLY into the exam room – so it’s a great one to start with. This can be done with notes to start off with, but I also love to do this in a ‘blurting’ style without them.
2; Timed questions. Exam rooms can be daunting, and timing can often be an issue when you only have an hour, or less, per essay. This is a skill that needs to be practiced, so get the most recent past papers, set yourself a timer and do the paper under exam conditions. You may not write the perfect 1st class essay first time, but practicing an exam will help you get to grips with the unseen questions and the time pressure that you’ll be under.