The most effective revision techniques

For studying and revising, many of us have a few tried and tested techniques we swear by, from enlisting the help of friends and family, to making revision flashcards we have tips for studying that we go back to time and time again.

However, perhaps it has been years since you last had to study for a test, and you find you need a refresher on the most effective revision techniques. Maybe you need to cram for a test or exam that is fast approaching and so need a crash course on the best last-minute revision tips.

Everyone is different, so it’s important to familiarise yourself with the most effective revision techniques out there to make the most of your study time and get the results you want!

In this article, we will look at our top revision tips, including how to make the best revision timetable for you, when the best time to revise is, and some last-minute revision tips.

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Top revision tips

Find out your ideal revision style - Not everyone has the same learning style, so it can be very useful to identify your revision style prior to beginning your studies. Techniques for social learners include teaching your findings to a group of your peers. The best revision techniques for visual learners include using pictures or images to reinforce what you are learning.

Plan your studying in advance - Organisation is key for a successful study plan. It makes sense to use a calendar or diary to break down your study topics into manageable chunks. This will help you pace yourself, manage your time effectively, and eliminate the need for last-minute revision.

Ensure you have the right environment for revision - There’s nothing worse than constant interruptions when you are trying to study! A calm environment is vital, as you want to apply yourself to your revision without being disturbed. Some find that music or ambient background noise can aid concentration while studying.

Make sure you are covering relevant topics - It's difficult to know whether you are revising the correct topics, so make sure that you break down the topics and sub-topics of your course to ensure that you are covering all the bases as you revise.

Past papers are your friend - Past papers are a great study tool, as they will enable you to familiarise yourself with both the format of common exam questions and the content that comes up time and time again. Answering past papers is one of the most valuable things you can do when revising.

How to make the best revision timetable

Our next revision tip is to create a realistic and sustainable timetable for studying. There’s no point in scheduling in twelve hours of study a day when you know you can only concentrate for six hours! Make sure you factor in times for breaks and exercise so you can give your brain a rest and maximise your productivity.

Exercise self-awareness when scheduling a revision timetable. For example, if your favourite TV show is on at 5pm, try to schedule a break for then so that you won't have to take an unscheduled break to watch it. 

What is the best time to revise?

If you are wondering when the best time to revise is, remember that everyone is different, and what works for someone else may not work for you.

When figuring out the best time to revise, it’s worth considering your body clock and the times of day that you work best. Maybe you are a lark who functions best first thing in the morning. Perhaps you are a night owl who does your best work when the world is fast asleep.

There are no right answers for when the best time to revise is. However, having a routine is very helpful when you are revising, as it can prevent stress from taking a toll. Ensure that you get adequate sleep and rest breaks when studying to maintain peak performance.

Last minute revision tips

In an ideal world, we would all start our revision months in advance to avoid any late night of desperately cramming last-minute information into our brains! However, sometimes life takes over, and last-minute revision becomes a necessity.

When you start your last-minute revision, it’s important to focus on what you need to know rather than what is nice to know but is not necessarily essential. For this reason, it is useful to focus on past papers for an overview of the kinds of questions that usually crop up.

Read over your notes and create a crib sheet outlining key facts and figures. Once you have the content for your crib sheet, read over it a few times and test yourself on what you have learned.

If you struggle with procrastination or poor time-management, remember that you can improve your revision techniques and reap the rewards. Read our e-Careers guide on how to be a more effective learner now.