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Good Revision Techniques

Like an expedition, revision is something that needs to be approached with a strategy. Charging blindly ahead with all your might won't do at all, for you'll be liable to find yourself lost, exhausted, and out of time. A planning session before beginning is recommended - here are some tips: list your subjects in order of competence. At one end of the scale write the subject you are most confident with; at the other the subject you dread, the one struggle the most with! This will give you a quick indication of how much time you will have to spend on each subject. Those that are causing you the most trouble will obviously require the largest amount of your revision time.

The next step is to construct a timetable, detailing your study schedule. It will be propitious to draw this on squared paper: using a ruler mark out the forthcoming weeks and months; the design should be spacious enough to accommodate divisions and markings for each day. Within a week, each and every subject should be revised. This is a good rule, and a wise one. It will not do if, after two months of revision, you sit your first exam, only to realise that you revised for it during the first week of your revision schedule only, and have since forgotten much of what you learnt. Each subject can be coloured differently on the timetable, allowing at a glance identification of scheduled studyplans. You will have to decide how much extra time you wish to allot to those subjects you are weakest with. The squared paper will easily allow you to map out units of revision.

Most people work best when they have a pre determined unit of studying time. Perhaps an hour will work best for you - maybe even two. This time structuring will help keep you serious and focused, making it less likely that you will be distracted, and make easy excuses to stop working. Be careful not to go too far though - a five hour no stop revision session of one subject, followed immediately by four hours of another may be easy to mark down on the planner, but this kind of studying will be deleterious to your learning. Regular breaks should be taken, allowing you relax, formulate what you have been reading, and mentally prepare for the next session. A ten or fifteen minute respite every hour and a half would be a typical strategy.

To punctuate what may seem like a monotony of solo study, you could arrange to meet with friends who will be sitting the same exams, and engage in quizzes. Not only will this add a fun element to your studies, it will also let you know how you rank amongst others, and may kindle a competitive flame in you, fuelling ambition for further revision.

Most exam boards will be only too willing to supply past exam papers to pupils. These are an excellent study aid for a number of reasons. Firstly, they will list the broad range of questions for each subject that you will be expected to answer, and should reveal any deficiencies in your learning. Secondly, and perhaps most usefully for the student, they provide opportunity to replicate as closely as possible the exam experience. It is a fact that the grades attained by many students in exams are not commensurate with their ability. This is simply because, though they may have studied well, and are competent in the subject, they are not comfortable in the exam environment. The use of past exam papers can help here, providing a simulated experience of the exam you will be sitting. In your room of study, complete a past paper: the cover will state clearly how long you have to sit it. Treat the experience as if you were actually taking the exam in a controlled environment. Once you have finished, try to get a teacher to grade it for you.

Finally, don't be intimidated by the exam process. Be confident in your abilities: tend to your talents and they will flourish, revealing themselves to you, and others, with their dazzling full potential.

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