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Fresh Ideas For Keeping Revision Interesting: A-level Study Tips From An A*aa Student.

Revision motivation/tips

Date : 07/04/2021

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Uploaded by : Bethany
Uploaded on : 07/04/2021
Subject : Basic Skills

It s often accepted that we excel in subjects we most enjoy. Studying may be a laborious process at times, with long hours required to cover a breadth of intricate detail. Yet keeping revision topics interesting by employing a range of study techniques can benefit understanding. Here are a few ideas if you re looking to keep your revision sessions appealing:

Drawing. You don t need to spend hours creating a masterpiece (unless your subject requires it!) but a simple cartoon or sketch can aid memory. We experience the world via a variety of senses, so always writing words on a page isn t necessarily the best way to memorize things. For instance, when studying for a Psychology exam regarding human eating behaviour, I drew a pair of fangs to remind myself that humans evolved canine teeth to aid digestion of meat. Whilst a quirky illustration of Dracula s gnashers may seem trivial, it s something I remembered during the exam and gained extra marks for using the canine teeth example. Drawing with annotations can help visualise complex ideas, and drawing with a written paragraph can help contextualise your words.

Race the clock. At the start of every revision session during my A-levels, I d be very strict with timing because I wanted to cover a lot of different things. But for the first 10 minutes of an hour s revision session, I would set a timer and race the clock. The idea was to write down as many things I could remember either from the previous revision session, or about the session I was about to revise. This way, I searched every corner of my memory to highlight items I needed to work on plus it s surprising how much can be recalled when you re racing the clock. Just 10 minutes keeps things interesting and making something more fun can be a light-hearted refresher before a longer study session.

Cue cards. Your revision time is precious and you don t want to spend hours making intricate study-aids. Sometimes it s helpful to grab a study card to revise definitions if you have 5 minutes spare or want to read something on the bus home. Textbooks usually have a Glossary at the end to provide definitions of key terms make sure those you review are relevant to your syllabus (there s nothing worse than putting in loads of effort to find out you ve revised the wrong thing speaking from experience!) and will be covered by your exam. Putting things into your own words is best, as this gets you into the habit of avoiding plagiarism (a serious academic offence at University and other higher education institutions) and, arguably most important, helps you remember content more. Keeping cue cards alphabetised is a good way to keep track of the keys words/phrases you ve already covered, and you can make a memory game of writing the word on one side of the card with key points written overleaf. Keep the text brief as the purpose is not to overwhelm, but to provide a summary of key words/phrases.

Spider diagrams. These are a good way to plan revision sessions put your main study focus in the centre (e.g. Biology) and branch out in further detail (e.g. sub-topics: plant cell structure, heart anatomy, statistics, biological population sampling). You can add to the spider diagram as you go along and revisit topics, ensuring you haven t overlooked anything which might appear on your exam.

Coding. Rather than computer coding (something I will never understand!) coding may be a personalised key that you use to remind yourself of certain topics. It could be colour-coding for example, I always used green folders for Biology, red for Chemistry and blue for Psychology, with corresponding highlight pens and sticky notes to keep information in-theme. Other examples of coding include grouping topics into categories something as broad as Plants vs. Animals and writing a list of all topics studies, or something more specific like minute differences between types of reaction mechanisms in Chemistry. The more you are able to easily link lessons together and synthesize a topic, the more confident you are likely to be during the exam.

Review. This may sound obvious, given the reviewing nature of revision. But sometimes it s best to take a step back to review what you ve achieved so far. A good timeline to review is every two weeks, giving yourself enough time to accumulate substantial revision, but not too much time that it s too late to make adjustments. Reviewing can identify areas of study you re confident in (thereby don t need to cover in much more detail) or areas you don t feel confident in (so could allocate more time to). It s also a nice confidence boost to see how much progress you ve made, or if you haven t revised much, to serve as motivation to make more effort in a particular study area. Reviewing is also a good opportunity to pay attention to what works for you it s easy to get caught up with how things should be done, because other students seem to be excelling at a certain study method. But it s futile spending 10 hours over the weekend trying to learn something via a method that doesn t suit you running the risk of becoming disheartened and not revising in a way which could be more efficient. It s important to know what works best for you and how you feel when entering the exam room.

Multimedia. This isn t an excuse to spend hours watching videos online under the guise of studying. If you re going to incorporate non-traditional methods of study into your routine, it s important to stay focused and not be distracted by non-study videos. The internet is a fantastic educational resource when used appropriately there are tonnes of free media from experts across the globe right at your fingertips. The benefit of being able to stop and pause videos, rather than always listening to Live lectures, is that you can go at your own pace and take notes without rushing, search for unfamiliar jargon and revisit something you may have missed. Here are a few hints to look out for though:

o Keep relevant. It s easy to get lost in a maze of videos because you want to keep learning about a specific topic. Whilst this enthusiasm is encouraged, you want to keep your study focused and not prioritise topics that aren t necessarily going to be examined. For instance, for a Biology test, you re researching the hormone cycle of the female reproductive system, but then start to learn about about endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome. Whilst these medical conditions are interesting to study, they may not be covered by your syllabus and it s probably best to focus on your core topics whilst you re revising.

o Be aware of different language used. For example, different versions of the female sex hormone oestrogen (British English) may be spelt or pronounced estrogen (North American English)1 whilst the video audience usually appreciates these are the same hormone, you don t want to be penalised in an exam for writing the incorrect form. This may not be an issue with the examiner, but it s always best to fall on the side of caution and not take risks during exams nobody wants to lose marks for a simple oversight.

o Anyone can publish content on the internet, so always check the source of information. The amazing thing about the worldwide web is how quickly information can be written and shared (although this too can be misused) ground-breaking discoveries can be disseminated quicker than ever before during human history. Yet textbooks and academic journals, whilst perhaps criticised for not keeping up with their online counterparts, must endure rigorous fact-checking and peer review before they are released into circulation. You want your source of information to be robust and reliable so make sure that if you use online resources, they are obtained from a reputable source and the information is correct.

Your choice. The final idea to keep revision interesting is to make sure it s your choice. Last month you may have drawn a revision plan that instructed you to write one essay every day for two weeks. By Day 5, you may not want to write another essay and that is okay. Revision isn t about boring yourself it s about developing your knowledge and understanding and showing the examiner how well you can retain and convey this comprehension. If you were supposed to practice a past-paper, but would rather do a quick-fire round of cue-cards, that is okay. Just as long as you re not neglecting more difficult sessions always in favour of easy revision, it is okay to be flexible with your programme. And remember to take study breaks and have things to look forward to spend time with your friends and family, walk the dog, play football as this will help keep your motivation.

This resource was uploaded by: Bethany

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