If your worrying about the ever-creeping-closer exam dates and are getting stressed about the days which you spent in front of a screen, there is still time to turn things around. So, relax, read these helpful revision tips and be on your way to a happy results day celebrations
Don’t Just Highlight!
When going back through your notes, it’s easy to think you’re revising like a pro by getting the neon colours out and highlighting the key information. If you’re not careful, you might end up with a full yellow page and no clue what was important in the first place. Instead of doing this classic error, highlight a maximum of 20 words per topic and write down on a separate piece of paper the highlighted phrases. Then after you’ve read through your notes, get those phrases out and write down all the other information which wasn’t highlighted. This way, you go through the vital facts more often while trying to build upon the other information.
The Cornell method
This is a habit you need use immediately, preferably in every lesson, lecture or seminar- it’s that good. You write down your notes in class and then you rewrite them in your own words within 24 hours of the class. This is important as it consolidates your learning earlier, plus it makes revision so much easier as the notes you use will be tailored to your understanding and preference.
Contextual learning is a great method for the sciences. The idea behind it is that you make links between concepts when revising, whether that be because they have similar functions, mechanisms or even sound similar. This technique allows you to memorise more information as one fact will be the trigger for another.
By hand VS by typing?
There’s some debate to whether writing notes by hand or typing, produces the best outcome for memory- and everyone has a natural preference. However, to get the positives of both, write down the notes in your lectures. Then type them up, making sure you understand the content completely, defining the keywords and other concepts. Moreover, don’t just leave your notes there! After a while, go back through your notes and add more detail using diverse sources of information, e.g. a textbook or YouTube video. This allows you to go through your notes several times without even starting your revision process.
Use the Leitner system of flashcards
Don’t just use flashcards for the feel-good feeling! Instead, place your flashcards in three dividers. Those which are completely correct go in the back, middle is for unsure and front is completely wrong. Then each time you go through your flashcards, go through the front first, making you revise the trickier stuff more often than the easier topics.
Add a little Active in your Passive
I’m sure you’ve heard of the benefits of actively revising (recall and testing) compared to passive revision (reading and listening) and it’s true, but everyone still caves into the comforts of passive revision. So how do we get the best of both worlds? Well, each time you revise passively, add an active task at the end- e.g. after reading through notes make a summary without the notes in front of you.
The Feynman Technique
When you think you’ve done everything you can for a topic, that you comprehend every concept, try explaining to a 5-year-old. Put your material in very simple step by steps. If you find this difficult or are unable to do so, then the Feynman technique states that you don’t fully comprehend the topic yet.
About the Authour
I am a sixth form student in South Wilts Grammar School, taking English Literature, History, Chemistry and an EPQ in ancient history. I enjoy my subjects tremendously, and as an aspiring journalist, I write articles for our schools’ History Journal and regularly post on my blog. Outside of my studies, I am involved in Duke of Edinburgh, where I currently partake in Gold. This has been one of my favorite activities, giving me the motivation to do weekly runs (even in the drizzliest of days) and of course, volunteering in my community since the age of 13. As for work experience, I have worked in retail as well as a week having a go at graphic design during my summer holidays, both of which, I enjoyed communicating with different audiences and having a go at something completely new- a working environment. Lastly, I enjoy travelling to Spain to visit some of my family and experience a different culture.
Want to know more about the UKMLA – check out our blog! Struggling to revise check out our productivity series we have top tips and curated content on how to ace anatomy. What about motivation – struggling to cross that final hurdle read our piece on motivation for medical students! Don’t forget you are not alone read our article on the tip 5 thoughts medical students have through exams here.