Whether its revising for GCSE’s, A-Levels, Degree, Masters, PHD, or even professional exams the vast majority of us will at some end up dedicating a large amount of time to revision. Revision and studying are inherently stressful processes and with some estimates suggesting 17 hours a week is normal for the average University student in America it is absolutely essential for students to know how to manage stress. So I’ve asked a bunch of graduates ranging from Medicine to Psychology to Economics to Sociology and everything in between to compile a list of the only 10 bits of advice you’ll need to help you revise and pass your exams.
1)Waking Up Early
Yes getting up early sucks but your body’s internal clock works on something called a Circadian Rhythm. Following this rhythm means you wake up when the sun rises and you go to sleep shortly after the sun is set. Science suggests that by following this natural Rhythm is helps regulate hormone release, eating habits whilst preventing depression and seasonal affective disorder.
2)Mixing it up
Everyone has a different method for studying you’ve just got to find what works for you. Some people write pages and pages of notes, others use flashcards or make quizzes. Do some research find a method or a tool that works for you, I made a list of 100 of these tools you can check out!
3)Have a proper break
There is a tonne of research on the benefits of having a break from work but the main point is making sure you have a high quality break by doing something that truly disengages your brain from studying to give you a consolidation period where the content you’ve tried to remember be properly stabilised in your brain. Also we very often display diminishing marginal returns to tasks that require a lot of focus this basically means that we are much more productive in hour 1 than we are in hour 4 when we revise.
4)Get some exercise
Its true regular exercise ha been linked to changes in the brain that improve memory and thinking skills. This is on top of the added benefits of lower blood pressure and risk of diabetes and strokes. Exercise can also be a good way to have a break and give you some time to think.
5) Its all about perspective
Meditation can help you improve your memory and productivity as well as reducing stress and information overload. It is a great way to help you manage stress and stop you getting overwhelmed by putting things into perspective.
6)Log off and get your head down
I know I was guilty of getting distracted by my phone but when I got serious about revision I would just put it on silent and put it out of sight to allow me to focus. There is some evidence to suggest that the use of computers in lectures and seminars has a substantial negative impact on performance which may be an argument for sticking to pen and paper in lectures if you are someone who is easily distracted.
7)Teach things to someone else
One of the best ways to really test your own knowledge is to try and teach a topic to someone else, this will really ensure that you know all the layers of knowledge required to teach it. Another thing you can look at is the sub reddit: explain like I’m five which works on the same principal.
8)Work with friends
There are many benefits to social learning the main one being that its just going to make the experience more enjoyable for you check out this link for more of the benefits.
Things like oily fish, blueberries, dark green veg, and nuts are all supposed to be “brain boosting foods” that will help you to remember what you study. But there is alway a new food fad going round with ridiculous health claims so the main thing is to have a healthy balanced diet that will give you enough energy to revise and not be ill for your exams or deadlines.
Check out this great article by BeHealthy for a more detailed list of 10 Brain-Boosting Foods For Students.
10)Don’t be too hard on yourself
Try and think positively about the things you are doing and look at your progress as much as you look at how much you have left to do.
Sometimes one just has to treat ones self to a day off.