Revision can strike fear in the hearts of many students, but it doesn’t have to. Hayley Parrott gives a few pointers on how best to tackle your revision during the upcoming exam period.

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  1. Start early. Don’t leave it until the last minute. Whatever you do, allow yourself enough time. All-nighters in the library are not fun, and 
if you’re tired and stressed, the information won’t sink in.
  2. Balance your time. Split your time between subjects, modules and topics. Create a revision plan and do your best to stick to it. Allocate your time however you prefer, but try not to get distracted. Most importantly, don’t focus on the easiest bits, leaving the difficult topics until last. A colourful revision table stuck on your wall or desk might help you to stay on track.
  3. Sort and condense. Sort out all your notes. Tidy and organise all the tea-stained scraps and get them in order. Reduce the volume and condense your notes into flash cards and mind maps. “It is impossible to revise from a random pile of papers that are scattered round your room or under your bed,” says Val Scarlett, academic guidance and development tutor at Harper Adams University.
  4. Read up. Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? You have to read your notes, of course. But read outside of those, too. Any additional knowledge you can demonstrate around your subject could impress the examiner and may even earn you extra marks.
  5. Pen and paper. We’re all used to typing in this digital age, but most schools, colleges and universities still use pen and paper for exams. And in the timeframe set, you need to be able to get all that info in your head down on paper, so your writing speeds will be a factor. One way to exercise your writing skills is to do practice essays.
  6. Practice. Doing practice papers, questions and essays will help you realise what you do and don’t know. Then you can go back over the areas where you’re struggling. Checking your practice essay against the mark scheme will reveal all the factors the examiners were looking for.
  7. Colour. Paper, pens, highlighters, Post-its. The brain loves colour. And some colour-coding might help 
you distinguish between subjects.
  8. Reward yourself. You can’t revise 24/7 – you must take a break. Reward yourself at the end of a revision session or day, whether that be with your favourite meal, TV show or time with friends. Also make sure to stay healthy. You could help out on the farm, take a walk around the fields or play sport. Exercise will help you switch off and stay positive.
  9. Minimise procrastination. Facebook, texting, tweeting, selfies – all very interesting and entertaining, but not really useful for revising. So refrain from procrastination using whatever means necessary. You could let one of your (more trustworthy) friends change your passwords, so that you can’t access social media during your revision slots.
  10. Spice it up. A great tip from Mrs Scarlett at Harper Adams is to get a topic mug printed. “Get a mug for your favourite cup of tea printed with 10 important facts for a module topic; it’s amazing how many you will remember without thinking.” Revision doesn’t have to be lonely, either. You can get friends and family involved for group revision sessions, and even make it fun.