Exam Season: The Dos and Don’ts of Revision

The dreaded exam season is upon us, and the pressure is on for all our students. From Y7 end of year tests to our IB Examinations, the breadth and depth of revision can feel like a lot to deal with. 

So, to get through this time we have put together some simple dos and don’ts to help you get the most out of your study sessions and to get the success you deserve.

Do: Start Early

Procrastination is the enemy of effective revision. Start early and give yourself plenty of time to review the material for each subject. Break down your study sessions into manageable chunks, and create a timetable to ensure you cover a broad range of topics per subject. Just remember to be realistic and to schedule in enough breaks along the way. 

Don’t: Cram All Night

Pulling an all-nighter might seem like a good idea if you’re running short of time, but it’s not the most effective way to revise. Lack of sleep can impair cognitive function (i.e. stop you thinking properly) and make it harder to recall information. Instead of burning the midnight oil, aim for regular and consistent study sessions leading up to the exams – it is all about that timetable organisation.

Do: Use Active Learning Techniques

When it comes to revision, it is better to engage with the material actively. You can use techniques like summarising the information on flashcards, quizzing yourself (or getting someone else to quiz you), or teaching the material to others. By actively processing the information, you’ll improve your understanding and retention in the longer term.

Don’t: Rely Solely on Highlighting

While highlighting can be a helpful tool for drawing attention to key points, it is not enough on its own. Simply colour-coding your notes won’t deepen your understanding or help you connect concepts in a memorable way. Instead, use highlighting sparingly and focus on more active methods of revision.

Do: Mix Up Your Study Methods

Variety is the spice of life, and it’s also the key to effective revision. Mix up your study methods to keep things interesting and engage different parts of your brain. Try using flashcards, watching educational videos, or working through practice problems to reinforce your learning. Learning in a group can also help – although take care not not to get too distracted!

Don’t: Stick to One Subject for Too Long

Spending hours on end drilling into one subject might seem like a time efficient and effective approach, but it can actually be counterproductive. Your brain needs time to process information, so take regular breaks and switch between subjects to keep your mind fresh and focused.

Do: Practise Past Papers

One of the best ways to prepare for exams is by practising past papers. This will help you familiarise yourself with the format and style of questions, and give you a confidence boost on exam day. Plus, it is a good way to look at trends and identify any areas where you might need to brush up on your knowledge.

Don’t: Ignore Feedback

When you do practise papers or quizzes, pay attention to the feedback. Use it as an opportunity to identify your strengths and weaknesses, then adjust your study plan accordingly. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if there are areas where you’re struggling – your teachers are there to help you.

Do: Get some exercise 

Staying focused for extended periods can be mentally exhausting, so make sure you get regular exercise breaks. Talking scientifically, exercise stimulates the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), promoting the growth of brain cells and improving memory and focus. Exercise also breaks the monotony of study sessions, giving you a renewed focus and energy when you hit the books again.  

Same goes for your eating habits. Eating healthy and nutritious foods – like nuts, fish, berries, and even dark chocolate – will help boost your studying abilities. Filling up on sugary snacks and fast food might give you a temporary high, but once this wears off, you’ll feel even more fatigued and stressed than before.  

Don’t: Be tempted by your phone 

Research from King’s College London has revealed that we check our phones around 80 times a day! The effects of this constant distraction can be detrimental to your studies. For example, constantly checking your social media stops you from concentrating effectively. Moreover, social media can be linked to shorter attention spans and later bedtimes due to excessive screen times, making you tired and even compromising mental health. However, rather than locking your phone in a box, why not try these more manageable tips: 

 – Re-organise your apps to make them less visible

 – Use time-limiting apps or phone features, monitoring screen time

 – Don’t pick up your phone as soon as you wake up – start the day without the usual bombardment of notifications, emails and messages.

Finally, we know that the upcoming exams can be a stressful time for many, so please remember that you are not alone. If you have any queries or problems, make sure that you contact your tutor, subject teacher or Head of Year and we will do our best to help you.  

Your hard work over the past year or years will pay off – we wish you the best of luck and every success in your exams.



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