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Exam revision tips

Updated: Mar 18, 2020

It's easy to over analyze the masses of "best-exam-revision-tips" on the web, but it all boils down to a few basic principles that enhance your ability to focus and absorb information. There is no magic to it.

1. Eat breakfast

Far too many students skip meals, especially in stressful exam periods. Research shows how this could negatively impact your attention. If you don't have time, a simple bowl of cereal would do the work!

2. Put your phone on away (activate Hold first!)

Our beloved smartphones provide a great convenience in many contexts, however, when revising for exams, this little device could cause some serious trouble. At least to your grades. Some studies show that you could increase a full letter grade and a half higher by abandoning your smartphone. Furthermore, for each time you get interrupted by your phone, it could take up to 23 minutes before your brain could focus properly on the task again. Our pro tip here is to put your phone on silent mode, activate Hold and put your phone screen facing down.

3. Start early and spread it out

To commit something to memory takes time. Spreading out your revision sessions on a particular topic (eg one-hour sessions over 10 days) is more effective than spending the same amount of time in one go (ie 10 hours in one day). This effect, known as “spacing”, helps because it allows time in between revision sessions to forget and re-learn the material.

4. Test yourself

Testing yourself with old test papers could unveil gaps in your knowledge. As a supplement and to make it more fun, you and your study mates could create quizzes on the topic.

5. Teach someone

Teaching someone else could help you organize the knowledge better. This is often referred as the "The Protégé Effect".

6. Get some fresh air and exercise

There is this belief that could work all day, every day. While it is possible, the productive outcome will likely deter with time. Taking a break and getting some fresh air could "reset" your mind and enhance the ability to focus better. Furthermore, adding a small exercise session could reduce your stress levels, which is usually high during the exam period.

7. Sleep!

Students are encouraged to work hard and revise a lot in the exam period: however, there comes a time when they need to stop and go to sleep. Knowing when can be tricky. There is a link between being a perfectionist and struggling to sleep. If you are falling asleep within five minutes of your head hitting the pillow, you should probably be going to bed earlier.

Good luck with your exam period!

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