1. Include extra-curricular events in revision timetables
When you prepare your revision timetable, include extra-curricular activities, family commitments and other important tasks alongside your external assessment schedule. This will help you to manage your time and juggle other commitments – be it a family birthday, a part-time job or a sporting activity. Breaking up long revision periods with other events will also help make the external assessment period seem less daunting overall.
2. Set achievable mini-goals
Set mini-goals and targets for each revision session so that you can absorb information in manageable chunks. That way, you can measure your achievement and be motivated by small successes.
3. Introduce a digital detox
Although technology is a major part of our lives, the external assessment process itself is still largely done on paper. While it’s tempting to make frequent use of online resources, completing some revision offline with pen and paper can be just as important as using computers, tablets and phones.
4. If you only remember one thing…
Highlighting one key point or fact for each topic area can effectively breakdown the volume of information you need to remember. It’s OK not to remember every fact and figure; simply knowing the key pieces of information on a particular subject point will enable you to score important marks.
5. Familiarise yourself with multiple revision strategies
Use tried and tested memory tricks such as mnemonics – using the first letters of a list of items to help memorise particular facts. Visual prompts, such as concept maps, flow charts and revision cards are also helpful. Sticking notes with key words around the house can be a handy way to help memorise important information, terms and vocabulary.
6. ‘Little and often’ beats cramming
Short, regular revision sessions are far more effective than spending hours trying to cram. By allocating 15-minute blocks to particular topic areas or subjects, you will be able to stay engaged and motivated.
7. Positive reflection
It really helps to think about how successful each revision session was. List five things you have learnt, three things you will confidently remember and three things that you’re still unsure about. This means that when you return to your notes for further revision, you can focus on filling in the knowledge gaps.
8. Keep things in perspective
Remember, that while external assessments and qualifications are possible stepping-stones to a bright and successful future they are not the be all and end all. They do not, and will never, completely define the sum total of what a good education ought to provide.