In the UK, it is currently the exam season and my students are finally thinking of doing some actual revision. These are some tips to make your revision more effective.
Learning is Active Not Passive.
if you just read a textbook from start to finish, you will struggle to learn much. Active revision means that you are constantly thinking and trying to understand the concepts involved. This is the key to successful revision. Every 15 minutes, ask yourself what have I actually learnt? Don’t measure your revision by time spent, but amount of things learnt.
Work Out The Questions That May Appear in Exam.
The most important step in revision is to know the kinds of questions that may appear in the exam. It is insufficient to just know the topics. You need to think about the kinds of questions that might appear. It is essential to get hold of past papers. Make a list of common questions and try to think of possible variations. For example, if last year you had a question. “Discuss impact of interest rates on Exchange Rates.” maybe this year will be “Discuss impact of interest rates on inflation and Balance of Payments.” See: A Level Past Papers
Make a list of things you need to learn and questions that might appear. Then close all your books. What can you remember? Make a list of what you know and then when you are stuck, check up on what you missed and make a point of trying to remember these.
Understand The Mark Scheme.
A level exams are not just about knowledge and memorising facts. There is a high weighting (up to 40%) for evaluation. This means the ability to critically examine the material you present – looking at issues from different aspects and angles.
- See tips for writing evaluative essays
- Using Data Responses: It is important that if you answering a data response, you actually make use of the date they give you. It may seem an obvious thing to say, but, many people forget about it. This shows that exam technique is just as important as learning
Some people spend hours creating complicated exam timetables, but, then don’t stick to it. It is important to plan your revision, but, keep it simple and realistic.
How Long To Revise for?
4 – 5 hours of revision a day is a lot. If you are revising properly and actively learning; you will make a lot of progress in 4 hours. Also, if you have a target for 4 hours a day, it doesn’t sound that intimidating. There should also be a point in the day, when you can cut off and do something completely different. Generally, it is good to get the revision sessions done early in the day; then it won’t be on the back of your mind all day.
Revise With Other People
It can be good to revise with other people; it can also be easy to get distracted and start talking of other things. Pick your revision partners carefully, if they are more interested in chatting and gossiping, don’t try to revise with them. However, if they are committed to learning, it can be a good way to test each other and not get so bored.