How to get the most out of your study time.

reviseFor anyone with prelims coming up in the New Year – here’s a guide to making the most of your revision time.

  • Plan your study time

Draw up a calendar plan of what you are going to revise, when. Tie it into your exam timetable so that you are focusing on the right subject at the right time. Make sure you build in plenty of down-time too – take whole days off to enjoy Christmas and Hogmanay, and then you’ll feel fresher when it’s time to get back to the books again.

  • No cramming

Spreading your revision throughout the holiday means that there is time to do enough and do things repeatedly. This means that the information will transfer into your long-term memory where it stays committed, until you are ready to retrieve it. Cramming doesn’t work – information only gets into the short-term memory which I read is like “the party space in your head – information is there for a good time but not a long time”!

  • Test yourself

Test yourself regularly because this will let you know whether the information you’ve been learning has been remembered and you can retrieve it. There are past papers free on-line on the SQA website for Scotland and on the exam board websites for England.

  • Get some sleep

Sleep allows your brain to process the day, and therefore process the information you’ve been learning. It’s important to get enough sleep to embed this information and also to feel fresh when you start revising all over again the next day. If you are finding it hard to sleep, some tips are here.

  • …… and don’t pull an all-nighter

All-nighters don’t work! Your ability to remember and process information is very limited as you get tired. And research has shown that it can take up to 4 days for your brain to recover back to normal after being deprived of sleep.

  • Take regular breaks

Research shows that taking regular breaks rather than working continuously for hours is more effective for learning. You don’t succumb to distractions so easily and can therefore concentrate more. For a great time management tip, try working for 25 minutes and then taking a 5 minute break to check your phone, listen to music, grab a drink, take a walk around the house, watch Youtube. More information is here.

  • Take some time off

It’s important to do something else. Even better is taking some exercise. Exercise releases a whole bunch of hormones which can impact on learning, mood and concentration. Try anything that gets your heart pumping to feel the benefits.

  • Finally, don’t suffer alone

Get together with friends if you are struggling to understand or learn an important concept. Talk to friends, share what knowledge you have and teach each other.

Good luck!.

For anyone needing individual support with stress, revision technique or exam anxiety, contact westend counselling for one-to-one sessions.

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