Here is the science bit…ready? SIT DOWN, Be quiet and GET ON WITH IT! The reality of revision is that you can search for a method that will magically transplant the information into your head, but just knuckling down and cracking on with it maybe the best revision strategy rather wasting time searching for any study holy grail.
Start with the obvious and read over all your notes from lectures, textbooks and study guides. As you go along make revision notes and write them down as it will help you absorb the information much better. Unless you are good at filing, it is easier to write in notebooks or exercise books as this keeps all your revision in the same place and, though not in the most sensible order necessarily, it is usually quite easy to find. Use multi-coloured pens to highlight essential information or words. This will help you extract and remember the key information from the block of text and if you use a different colour for each topic, it will help you link the notes for each topic in your mind. Don’t go crazy with the colours though, stick to key elements and discipline yourself, otherwise it may be confusing when you return to your notes. This really is the first filter of information.
Once you get the basics, go through exercises and questions. This will reinforce you’re understanding of the topic and highlight where your weakness are. Try to replicate exam conditions and write out your answers on paper as it will force you to focus. There is nothing more sobering than struggling to write an answer for a past question to bring home the reality of how well your study is going. Also sitting at a computer all day telling yourself you’re revising, when you’re not really taking anything in, is counterproductive. Review how well you did and then go back to the notes, focusing on where the tests have highlighted you may need improve.
Once you have finished reading, recite all the key concepts off by heart without looking. If you are still struggling, create a separate bulleted cheat sheet, like notes you might use if you were presenting a slide on the topic to an audience. You might absorb the information better if you teach or present this information like this to someone else too.
Do your revision in small blocks of time as there is no point forcing yourself to study for long periods and trying to make information stick. The procrastination monster will only grow stronger and tempt you feel busy with other mindless tasks. If you get a sudden urge to pair your socks, you know he’s attacked. So study for as long as you can properly concentrate, then stop and sit outside for a bit, take a quick breather, don’t think about studying, then go back to it. I’d advise to keep off the internet though, as it will distract you and if your will power isn’t that strong try a programme that limits your use such as Cold Turkey …but if you fancy a little retail therapy here’s some stationery that may help:- Unitas R(L)ead Journal can help you map out your study, record your notes and help you pull out key information. £19.99
MiGoals Notes has numbered and titled pages which might help you structure and organsie your study notes. £11.99
MMMG Draw Your Mind Notebooks are a funky alternative to moleskine notebooks if you need to keep your notes all in one place and may need to refer to them in years to come. £8.99-£17.99