This page is a study guide intended to aid students with their revision. It aims to help them consolidate their existing subject knowledge and also assist them to effectively learn and understand new topics.
By being disciplined, organised and having a revision plan, students can improve their ability to absorb information, memorise facts and more effectively utilise study material.
Listed below are a number of revision techniques that will show you how to improve your performance and concentration. Remember there is no ‘right’ way to revise, meaning it is advisable to try out different techniques until you find the ones that work for you.
- Make a list of what subjects and information you need to know;
- Try to identify gaps in your knowledge;
- Find a quiet place to revise, where background noise and disruption is kept to a minimum;
- Avoid information overload and burn out by pacing your studies;
- When revising highlight key facts and information that you need to know;
- Make sure you get enough sleep as this can help you to stay alert and energetic rather than feel tired;
- Discipline yourself and get into the habit of revising regularly;
- Engage with the learning material by thinking about what you have read;
- Break subjects down into manageable chunks and plan study time for each one;
- Assign more time to topics you have difficulty with or where your knowledge is weak.
Memory learning technique
Read the information that you want to learn, then cover it up and try to summarise (in writing) what you have just read. Then re-read or look at the original article again and compare it to what you have just written. Keep doing this until you get it right. This is an excellent way to force yourself to memorise and absorb information.
Quickly go over text and sub headings looking for key information, then highlight or write summaries or short notes of what you need to know. This method will save you having to read through an entire page or article.
Read books rather than the internet
If you are in the habit of using the internet to revise, then there is a real risk of falling into bad habits and wasting time by checking your email / social media accounts or being side-tracked by interesting news stories etc. All of these activities can easily eat into your valuable study time. If you find that this is happening to you then drastic action is required. Consider unplugging your computer (literally disconnecting distractions) and conducting your revision and research with books rather than online.
Write a set of these, one for each subject you are studying. On them list all the key facts and information that you need to know. Carry these cards around with you in the day, taking them out regularly to study when you have a few spare minutes. This is a simple, easy and effective tool to increase your performance and effectively use any spare time you have.
Most people who lose motivation do so because of a lack of direction, confidence and focus. The good news is that these negative attitudes can be overcome by following a few simple techniques.
Firstly regularly remind yourself of your immediate and long term goals. For instance, tell yourself that you are revising hard because you want to obtain a degree that in turn will help you get a well-paid job in a career of your choice. Even consider putting pictures of your desired objects (i.e. your dream car, holiday destination etc) in front of you while your revising.
Secondly work on building up confidence in your abilities, do this by setting short term reachable goals that you can achieve. This is an excellent way of constructing belief in your capacity to attain set objectives and it can go a long way towards fostering a ‘can do’ attitude.
Another good way to keep motivated it to treat yourself every time you ‘reach’ a target or finish a revision session. By doing something you enjoy i.e. going to the cinema, or out for meal, it can give you a reward to look forward to.
Many undergraduates find that revising early in the morning works best for them. Give it a try by starting to revise at 9am or earlier.
Switch your mobile phone off
If you get into the ‘zone’ of revision mode the last thing you want is to be knocked out of it by a unimportant phone call. Keep distractions to a minimum by disconnecting your mobile phone and avoid being disturbed by unnecessary text messages or phone calls.
If you are revising every day then make sure you have some relaxation and fun time at the end of every day. Have set breaks at certain times, where you go for a short walk or make a drink for yourself etc. Taking your mind off studying for short periods of time can help you to stay fresh and stop you from burning yourself out.
Revise with a friend
Some people find that this works for them, it has the advantage of being able to ask each other questions and getting immediate answers as well as learning from one another.
For maximum performance your body and mind needs fuel to be able to concentrate and focus. By eating nutritious and healthy foods (i.e. fruit and vegetables), you can keep your energy levels high, which in turn can assist you to remain highly focused throughout your studies.