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5 top tips for last-minute revision

Published on: 26/04/2017 (4:36PM)

Exam season is well and truly upon us and in an ideal world you’d be well into your carefully planned revision schedule. If that’s you, well done! You probably won’t need this blog (although there might still be some good tips for you). 

If, however, you’ve left it to the last minute or feel you haven’t covered everything you wanted to, don’t panic.

First let’s get one thing out of the way -it’s never too late to get a bit of revision under your belt and boost your confidence. If you’ve left it to the last minute or feel like you’re running out of time, however, you do need to be ruthless and be realistic about what you can do in the time.

Here are five top tips to make it count


1.   Get organised

Whether you’ve got three months or three days to revise, it’s always worth spending time planning your attack. Get all your revision materials to hand, and if you’ve got room to spread out - you should have found a quiet space to work - arrange them into logical piles. Work out what your priorities are and write them down.

However a quick side note here - unless you’re in the ‘3-month’ camp, which we guess you aren’t as you’re reading this blog post,  then spending a whole day making a pretty revision timetable isn’t necessarily the most effective use of your time! But it’s still a good idea to scribble down what you want to cover and when.

Remember - you probably know more than you think, and, if you have areas you know aren’t your strong points  it would be a good idea to focus on these, then refresh your memory about bits you do feel confident on afterwards.


2.   Be realistic

You won’t have time to cover everything at the last minute, but you can have a sort through your notes and break it down into manageable chunks. Then only cover one subject/topic at a time.


3.   Take regular breaks but don’t get distracted

Breaks are good. Taking ten minutes out from study to make a cup of tea, move about a bit and refocus your mind is a great idea and will help you resist the urge to give up. Going online and realising you’ve inadvertently spent 3 hours on YouTube, on the other hand, is not going to help one bit!

If you can manage it, put your phone out of reach and turn off social updates…. or let yourself check once an hour if you really can’t live without it. Remember exams will be over soon and you’ll have all summer to keep up to date on the gossip!


4.   Google is only your friend in moderation

A related tip here - If you come across points you need to check it’s ok to look online. But make sure you consult a reliable source - not just the first result that appears on Google! Also, it’s best to make a note of questions as they come up and then look them at the end of a revision session.  


5.   Be active!

No we don’t mean burpees in-between sessions, but whatever you can ‘do’ actively will stick in your brain a lot better than halfheartedly reading notes, we promise!


Examples include:

Make notes on notes!

If you’ve already got notes from lessons/lectures/revision sessions, condense them down into bullet points or try writing down in a different order to make your brain work a little.

Get family or friends to quiz you.

Make good old-fashioned flash cards with questions and answers on. These are especially good for dates you can’t quite remember, or specific rules or laws such as in science. Speed = distance /time or the difference between convection and conduction anyone?!

Answer pre-prepared questions out loud, in front of a mirror if needed.

If you find you’re a visual learner, draw pictures/diagrams, flow charts, anything that will help you take it in. This doesn’t mean doodling in the margin though! You could also get a pack of sticky notes and post them up on the fridge, around the house, anywhere you’ll come across them!

Useful links:

If your house is full of distractions, you can usually use the library at school or college. Alternatively one of the county’s public libraries might be just what you need.

As well as computers with internet access they usually have quiet areas for revising. To state the obvious they all have great reference books if you want to stay away from the internet and go a bit ‘old school’!

Nottingham City libraries:

Nottinghamshire County libraries: