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Revision & Exams: Revision strategies and tips


The main purpose of exams is to show our understanding of the topic for which we are sitting an exam. The main purpose of revising for exams is to practice planning and writing answers to questions. 

Before exams we need to revise actively by making meaningful notes and organising and reading through these notes – making links to questions / topics.

Revision helps to recall and recognise information:

  • We may recognise information when we see it, but can we recall it when we need it?
  • Understanding the difference between recognition and recall helps to understand the demands of different exam types and how best to approach revision.

Revising for exams

1. Revising often
  • Keep coming back to content – next day, next week, etc.
  • Revise little and often - Most people can concentrate on one thing for about 20 minutes.
  • Revise one topic then move onto another one
2. Making it multisensory
  • Visual: use pictures, diagrams and mind maps
  • Auditory: record notes
  • Kinaesthetic: flash cards
3. Practice teaching others
  • One of the best ways to learn is to teach someone else.
  • Give a talk on the subject to a friend, or imaginary audience.
4. Monitoring our own learning
  • Work out what we know and what we don’t.
  • Get into a cycle of monitoring our knowledge


Here are some revision strategies;:

  • Start early. The earlier we start revising, the more time we will have to cover all of the material. This also helps to avoid last-minute panic.
  • Create a revision timetable. Once we know what we need to revise, we can create a timetable that breaks down our revision into manageable chunks.
  • Find a revision method that works for us. There are many different revision methods that can be effective. We can experiment with different methods until we find one that helps us learn and remember the material best.
  • Test ourselves. One of the best ways to test our knowledge is to create practice questions and answer them. This helps us identify any areas that we need to focus on further.
  • Get help when needed. If we are struggling with a particular topic, we should not be afraid to ask for help from our tutor, a classmate, or a friend.
  • Take breaks and get enough sleep. It is important to take breaks and get enough sleep to help us to concentrate and learn more effectively.
  • Stay positive. Revision can be challenging, but it is important to stay positive. Remember that you are capable of learning the material and doing well on your exams.

Here are some additional tips that can help you revise effectively:

  • Find a quiet place to study.
  • Get organized. Have all of the materials needed to revise, such as books, notes, and practice questions.
  • Take notes. While revising, take notes on the key points.
  • Summarise the material. Summarising the material helps to understand it better and to identify any areas that we need to focus on further.
  • Practice answering questions. Practicing answering questions helps to develop our exam technique and to identify any areas that we need to focus on further.

Further Reading