Best Revision Techniques for Students to Ace Exams
Exams have been haunting students forever, and although you’re willing to do whatever you can to retain essential information, sometimes you spend weeks studying using useless revision techniques.
We often use our own study techniques like sticky notes, highlighting, or drawing charts. However, recent research in the US has shown that many popular study methods don’t work well and aren’t a sure way to do well in exams.
But there still are some revision techniques that work. In this article, I have summarized some of the best revision techniques for students that can help them remember more and forget less.
Table of Contents
But before that, let’s see the revision techniques that don’t work.
Revision Techniques that You Should Avoid
While everyone’s experience is different, general consensus is that the following revision techniques either don’t work well or take too much time & focus from the students.
Students who highlight their notes will be surprised to know that highlighting individual phrases in colors such as pink, green or fluorescent yellow can affect the revision process in a bad way.
According to various educators, when students use a highlighter pen, they no longer integrate that information into larger wholes, meaning that the comprehension of that particular material is diminished.
I have the same experience. Once you start highlighting, you think you will read these later. But once you begin, there is no end. After a week into the book, all you will have are colored highlights that you cannot recall.
Personally, I suggest highlighting only the headlines/sections that are really important and not the text content. You should rather read the keywords and note them down in a notebook and revisit the pages later.
This is one of the most general mistakes students make. If you summarize a whole page into a paragraph, you are likely to miss a vital part of the study material. Summaries don’t help students at all.
Those who re-read their notes retain more than the ones who summarize them while reading.
Best Revision Techniques
Now that we have two techniques that you should avoid, let’s see the others that work.
Relieve yourself from exam stress
First thing first. Don’t take exam stress.
Set a target and start reading and revising. There is no alternative to reading and revision, and exam stress isn’t going to help you anyway.
You know it. Everyone knows it. You just need to set yourself in right mood and perception.
The best way to naturally reduce the amount of stress experienced before an exam is simply by preparing for it.
The formula is simple: You prepare well for an exam and you know you’re ready for it, and you worry less.
If your classes are still running or if you have a friend close by, you can discuss your preparations with someone who brings positive vibes.
Your fellow students can improve your stress levels when they share information they know and ask for your own interpretations of the lesson.
A peer and your own mutual feelings of stress could also reduce your anxiety by giving you the “I’m not the only one” feeling.
In addition to these, don’t forget to sleep well, drink more water and be positive.
One of the biggest mistakes students make is cramming for their exam in the last few hours and cutting back on sleep. This leads to added stress levels because of the “fuzzy-head” effect you get from lack of sleep.
It’s best to study for your exam a day or two before (or more) in advance and make sure you have had adequate sleep before the exam day. You can’t cram all subjects in 2 days, sleep for 4-5 hours and expect to pass exams with flying colors. If only it were that easy. The brain can’t work non-stop. It needs proper rest, so sleep at least 8 hours a night.
Drink (a lot of) water
Staying hydrated has many wonders. Above all other drinks, such as soda, juice, or tea, water is the best.
Soda, juice, and tea can disrupt energy levels, and tea or coffee can cause over-stimulation. Sticking with plenty of water before and during the exam is best.
This one should be a no-brainer. Yet, many students, although well-prepared, may experience stress simply because of negative thinking. Fear of failure can also be the cause of failure at times. To stay motivated, it is best to have positive thoughts, feelings, and behavior before the exam.
Start Revising Early
Early is better. The sooner you start more you will be able to cover the syllabus. Nobody says you have to revise for exams 6 months in advance. However, in the last 30 days before exams, you should get things started.
Organize your study material, make a timetable, and start slow. Begin with 1 hour every morning, and don’t stall.
Think about the importance of those exams and how proud you’ll feel with an A.
And one more thing, don’t over-plan. Keep it simple.
Revise using past exam papers.
The best way to understand a future exam is to do past papers. Ask a teacher to give you some papers or get help and support from Google. Nowadays, most exam boards focus on exam techniques, so it’s a good idea to get familiar with the layout before the final test.
Mindmaps are great, easy to use and practical. Mind mapping visualization generates ideas that are linked to a main topic, yet the technique might also be used to brainstorm ideas already targeted as probable solutions.
Mindmaps are really great for subjects like English Literature, History, and Geography because they help you gather your thoughts by connecting ideas. Make sure that your mindmap is well-structured, and try not to make a total mess of your ideas.
Using flashcards to deal with a last-minute revision for exams is an excellent way to remember details you have already revised. These notes should be extremely structural and often rely on a couple of “trigger” words to help you remember the whole idea.
Controlled highlighting & underlining can help you revise things quickly. Whether you’re learning from books, revision notes, or study guides, it’s paramount that you don’t highlight everything. Students have the bad habit of using lots of colors when trying to study, and thereby they end up coloring everything. At the end of their study session, they realize they learned nothing. Use one color and only highlight important dates, names, or short phrases, not whole paragraphs.
Mnemonics is the perfect tool for remembering details, but their effectiveness diminishes when used with other materials. For example, you will never manage to learn mathematics, physics or long passages using these memory aids.
But for many connecting things, you can use Mnemonics to remember things easily. The only thing required here is how your process your memory as too many mnemonics sometimes interfere with each other, leaving you confused during the exams.
I have already listed some mnemonics in this article for JEE and NEET students in India. There are several other articles online that offer some great mnemonic ideas.
So, this is it. These were my two cents on doing revisions and some of the best revision techniques for students. I hope this article helps you perform better in your upcoming tests.