Saturday, 6 February 2016

Exam Revision Techniques

You may have noticed that my blog posts have been a bit sparse throughout January - this was because I had my head down revising for my A2 mocks and found myself with little time to do anything else, let alone create blog content of a quality I was proud of. I'd like to apologise for the lack of posts and I promise I will get back on track with my upload schedule as quickly as possible!
 
I thought I'd start back by writing a post full of my most helpful tips for revision. These may not be as effective for everyone as they are for me as we all learn in different ways, but it could be useful to add something new to your revision schedule to change things up a little! I did a similar post this time last year on general exam revision tips which I would highly recommend reading if you haven't already, so this post will focus more on specific techniques I use to better my understanding of topics and memorise important sections.

  1. Flashcards - When I have to memorise specific formulae for Maths or terminology definitions for Philosophy, I like to write them out on flashcards so I can break them down individually and also separate them in my mind. I usually carry them around in my bag for some on-the-go revision if I have a spare few minutes in my day rather than checking my phone. I use different colours for key terms or difficult parts I need to go over more than others.
  2. Mind-maps - When learning larger topics with smaller sections within them, I like to create mind-maps to link my different ideas together. I colour-code to distinguish between sections (such as a theory, objections to it and its responses). This especially helps when writing an essay on that topic, as I can see clearly which concepts lead on from one another and so therefore should be written about together. I usually create my mind-maps on A3 paper and then stick them up around the house in places I spend a lot of time, such as next to my bed or in the dining room.
  3. Summaries - When faced with a large body of text your natural reaction is to panic and fail to concentrate enough to take everything in from it. I like to tackle pages of text with a highlighter, and while reading I highlight anything I think is particularly important or clarifies something. I then use only the sentences I have highlighted to write out a summary of what I have just read, usually only a paragraph or two. This summary will be far easier to remember when you get to the exam, but you just have to remember to bulk it out again with more detail and explanation.
  4. Quizlet - This is an app and website which allows you to enter terms and definitions and it creates virtual flashcards and memory games which you can play on the go. I use Quizlet for learning my French vocabulary, as it is quick and easy to type in many terms without wasting lots of paper and creates games where you have to match terms to their definitions - perfect for learning what a word is in French! Another advantage of Quizlet for language learning is that it has the ability to read out the word to you if you have specified the language it is in, so you can get the pronunciation just right!
  5. Talking to someone - An easy way to squeeze in some extra revision is simply to talk to someone else about a topic. If you talk to a peer from the subject you are revising, they'll often have a different interpretation or understanding of things and can clarify anything you don't understand, and vice versa. I also find it useful to talk to somebody who doesn't take the same subject as me, especially for Philosophy, as I can test my understanding and ability to explain difficult theories by whether the person understands it once I am finished. They can also offer an outside opinion you may not have considered.

Good luck in all of your exams, whether you have mocks now or official exams in the Summer. Don't forget to read my older Exam Revision guide, which goes into more detail on your attitude towards revision in general. I also have a Sixth Form Survival Guide which is worth a read if you're just starting your A levels!
 
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