Study season is well and truly upon us – and we know how stressful this period of the academic year can be for our students. For many of you, there’s a lot riding on this moment.
You have completed almost a full year of studies, so you’re likely to have plenty of topics to revise. Sometimes it can be hard to know where to start – and you may still not know how best to revise. But there are many different revision methods that you can try, that have been scientifically proven to be effective.
We’ve looked into the studies and pulled together 4 key revision techniques that will help you to retain information, get the best out of your study sessions, and hopefully perform to the best of your ability during your exams. Each person is unique, so you may only find that one of these works for you. However, once you find your unique way of learning, it makes studying for your exams a hell of a lot easier.
Spaced repetition is a revision technique that involves spacing out your study sessions over time. Instead of cramming everything into one long session, you spread it out over a period of days or weeks. The idea behind spaced repetition is that by coming back to information after a short break, you’ll be able to remember it better in the long term.
There are a lot of scientific studies to support spaced repetition – one study found that it can improve long-term memory retention by up to 50%.
To use spaced repetition, you can create a schedule that spreads your revision out over a period of time. For example, you might decide to revise for an hour each day for two weeks before your exam, rather than doing one marathon session the night before.
This technique is all about recalling information from memory, rather than just reading it over and over. This can help strengthen your neural pathways and improve your exam performance. Lots of studies have shown that active recall is super effective. For example, one study found that students who used active recall techniques performed better on exams than those who simply reviewed their notes.
To use active recall, you can create flashcards or quiz yourself. Or, you could try teaching the material to someone else, this helps because you have to remember and recall the information in order to teach them.
Interleaving involves mixing up different topics or types of problems during your revision sessions. For example, if you’re studying for a maths exam, you might swap between practising algebra problems and geometry problems, rather than focusing on one type of problem at a time.
This helps improve your long-term retention of complex information by forcing your brain to work harder. Try switching between different topics and modules during your study sessions to use this method effectively.
This technique is all about asking yourself “why” questions about what you’re studying. For example, if you’re studying the structure of atoms, you might ask yourself “Why do atoms have protons and neutrons?” This can help deepen your understanding by forcing you to think critically about it. A study published in the Journal of Educational Psychology found that students who used elaborative interrogation techniques performed better on exams than those who just read and re-read their notes.
So, there you have it. These are just a few examples of revision methods that can help you feel more confident and prepared for your exams. Give them a try and see what works best for you. Good luck!