Exam revision techniques

It’s important to make the most of your study time before an exam, so here’s some advice and tips from Plagiarism Checker’s very own student advisor on how to do so. Don’t miss these must-do techniques to ensure you get the best marks in your next exam!

Students sitting an exam


It’s no good trying to study whilst you’re tired and hungry, so first things first, make sure you’ve had enough sleep and have eaten. If you’re planning on spending the day studying, try not to have a late night! Sometimes revision can turn into a competition – who revised the most, who stayed up the latest. But the more tired you are, the less efficiently you’ll work. So looking after yourself is essential, and don’t push yourself too far!

The right environment

  • Find a quiet and comfortable place to study
  • Make sure the room/your desk is well lit
  • Minimal background noise – try and find a place where there are no noisy distractions
  • Avoid being around distractions such as TV, the internet, your phone and other people
  • Have everything you need to start with you so you don’t have to keep getting up!

How to study

There is actually no “right way’ to revise. Everyone has their own study techniques, but getting tips and advice can be helpful if you’re not sure how to start your revision. As long as your method allows you to gain a firm grasp of the key facts and understand your topic, its working. And it’s certainly better than nothing at all!

Some students prefer to revise from big chunks of information and read their notes from start to finish, whilst others like to simplify the information into smaller chunks by turning it into key words, diagrams or mnemonics . Many students find it useful to mix these two techniques which provides essential variety when revising.

Mnemonics for exam revision
Above: Mnemonics are a really useful tool for remembering things for exams.

revision-recording1-150x150Revision tips:

  • Summarise ideas and write them onto cards to use as “prompts’. Only use your prompts when you really need them.
  • Write key facts and ideas onto post-it notes and stick them around the house. You’ll be reminded of things you need to remember on a daily basis. This seems to work for a lot of people!
  • Record yourself reading notes and then listen to the play back.  If you put them on your ipod, this can be a great use of time when you’re travelling around, on the bus, in the car etc and can’t do anything else.
  • Revise with a friend and then test each other’s knowledge. Try not to get distracted though!
  • Work through past papers – time yourself but remember not to rush. Work out how much time you should be spending on each question/essay depending on the marks
  • Use your course notes
  • Study and revision guides – remember to choose these sensibly though. Its not hard to find sources of revision, but its difficult to judge whether the source is best for your needs. Try and get recommendations from your teachers
  • Make the most study and revision classes – take advantage of any classes that tutors are running, get their advice on revision methods
Acronyms for exam revision
Acronyms are another good way to remember information.

Creating a revision plan

  • First list all your exam subjects and the amount of time you think you’ll need to revise them. Its very unlikely that you’ll need an unequal amount of time to revise each one. Allocate more time to the subjects you find most difficult.
  • Draw up a revision plan for the week. Make your plan realistic – take into account that you’ll probably want to spend some time out with friends.
  • Look at the revision check lists/syllabuses for each subject. Identify what you need to know and where there are gaps in your knowledge. Look at any past papers you have gone in the past and see where you went wrong.
  • Allocate an appropriate amount of time for revision each day. Revise often – a little each day is good.
  • Plan for time off – make sure you take breaks in your revision. Its no good sitting and revising for the entire day! Take 5-10 minute breaks to walk around, have a drink and stretch!
  • Write up your plan and pin it up on your wall

And remember, think positive! A positive attitude can affect your exam performance for the better! Good luck!

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