Top 7 Effective Revision Methods for Students

Discovering the most effective revision methods is important for any student, as no one escapes the tension and stress of exam season. Even if you don’t end up with big exams at the end of the year, it is likely that you’ll have smaller in-class tests or other assessments to prepare for.

Learning how to manage your exam stress and figuring out the best way to revise effectively gives you the strongest possible foundation to approach exams with confidence. It is easy to get distracted and end up with bad revision habits that are difficult to shake off. This is why it is always important to have a plan and to think about different revision techniques that you can put into practice as early in the year as possible.

Girl with shirt looking at a laptop and revising

1. Start your revision early

The worst thing you can ever do with revision is to cram it all in over the last few hours and days before a big exam. Starting your revision early is the best way to be as effective as possible with your exam preparation.

The earlier you begin with your revision, the more accurate you can be with the planning stage, and the better your revision will end up being. Last-minute cramming can only add to your stress levels and uncertainty, so get in as early as you can with your revision planning.

Girl with blue shirt holding a book and revising on a laptop

2. Plan what you’re going to revise

Look over your syllabus and make a list of how you’re best going to approach the revision. This is where you can ensure you don’t revise too much in any one section of your schedule, as this can also be a problem in terms of looking after your mental health and stress levels.

At this stage, you can try to find out what format your exam will take, as this can help you formulate the best way to revise for each exam. For example, shorter answers in an exam will require a broader knowledge of the entire course, whilst an essay-based exam will require a narrower focus on one specific topic.

A persons hand holding a pen over a book , planning study routines -"most effective revision methods "

3. Block out revision time.

Once you know what you need to revise, you can focus on the when. Draw up a detailed timetable that includes all your revision but that also includes time blocked out to spend time with your friends to socialise, as well as other breaks to ensure that you always get enough sleep and restful time for just you.

Whatever you do, try to stick to the plan you draw up at this stage as close as you can. This helps you to build and maintain a positive habit of revision, work, rest, and a balanced life that will stand you in good stead for anything that you do.

A persons hand typing on a laptop with the screen showing a calendar

4. Find the revision method that works best for you

Every person works differently, and the same can be said when choosing the right type of revision method.

There are different revision methods that you can use, including looking at past exam papers and poring over them, using mind maps, recording yourself talking through topics and listening to them back, or just re-writing your notes and committing them to memory.

It might take some trial and error before you find what works best for you, so this plays into the benefits of starting your revision plan early.

Girl wearing headphones , looking at a laptop and revising

5. Revise little and often

One technique that works well for students is to think about revising little and often. What this means is that you are never over-working and tiring yourself out, and there is a better chance to sustain a prolonged period of revision that genuinely sticks in your mind, as you have not been stressed during revision.

An hour block of a topic every day, is much better than working for four hours on one topic in a single sitting, as this is more likely to cause fatigue and stress.

Man wearing purple shirt looking stressed

6. Remove distractions

As well as the positive and proactive things that you can do, it is important to understand the things that you should avoid when revising. When you sit down at your desk, whether this is your own space in your student accommodation or at the uni library, shut out the rest of the world and focus on the revision in front of you.

If you’re at home, do not have the television on, put your phone out of reach so you’re not checking your socials every five minutes, and if you do like to listen to music, make sure it’s instrumental music with no words (as this can often be very distracting and confuse matters as you’re trying to learn).

Phone showing slide to power off

7. Rest, eat well, and sleep

Although this isn’t a direct revision technique, it is vital to your long-term physical and mental health that you live a balanced life. By resting well and ensuring that breaks are included in your revision timetable, you are lowering the stress levels that you feel at any given time.

Always getting a good night’s sleep with a regular sleep routine and a healthy, balanced diet, your body and mind will be more receptive to the revision you are doing and gives you a much greater chance of success in your exams, and your long-term ambitions.

Girl sleeping on bed happily -most effective revision methods

Learning the most effective revision methods is just one of the tools you should look to acquire as a student. Managing your university workload effectively puts the pieces in place for you to be successful academically and provides you with the in-built time to revise. We hope that these tips can help you smash your exams and get the grades you’ve worked so hard for.

Have you got any revision techniques that always work for you? Is there anything on our list of revision tips that you’ve tried to great success? We’re always happy to hear from you.

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