You will need to study your subjects in the weeks leading up to your exams. The earlier you start your revision and the more organised you are the better prepared you will be for sitting your exams.
Here are our tips:
Start by making a study plan for the weeks before your exam. You will need to estimate how much time to spend on each subject per day and per week. Your plan should include “time out” – time when you are not studying but actively doing something else, for example; family commitments, time spent socialising with friends, playing sport and exercising and time spent relaxing and doing things you enjoy, so your plan should include weekends. Work backwards from the day of your exam, you will probably find you need quite a few weeks to study all your exam material, so plan early.
Don’t do too much study at one time. It is better to divide your time into small chunks such as half an hour or an hour for each study period and give yourself regular breaks. Giving your brain a rest is much more effective than ploughing through hours and hours of study.
Try to revise at the same time each day. This way you will develop regular habits and find it easier to be mentally prepared for your next study period.
Set yourself specific goals for your study periods. If you don’t you are more likely to get distracted, lose concentration and not get so much done.
Distractions. It is very easy to get distracted when you’re revising, it requires quite a lot of self discipline to stick to your study plan. Minimise your usual distractions during your study periods: switch off your mobile and tv and tell your family and friends you don’t want to be disturbed. If you’re using a computer to study turn off MSN, email chat clients, facebook, bebo, ebay and anything else that might tempt you away from your studies.
Listening to music. Some people find listening to their favourite music or the radio helps them study. Other people find silence is better. Think about what works best for you.
You will need to work out the best study methods for you. Good revision should be active, just re-reading your notes is not enough. Talk to your class mates and teachers to pick up tips. You will find lots of information about study techniques on the internet and here are our tips:
Summarise your notes. It will make the key points clearer and help you to remember them.
Use colours and graphics. Highlight key areas in different colours and use drawings, symbols and photos as memory joggers. Visual aids help you to remember facts.
Try recording your notes onto your mp3 player. You can play them back at times when you cannot have your books and notes with you, when you’re on the bus or tube for example. You could try reading your notes out loud, this works well if you are studying languages or need to memorise chunks of text.
Test yourself. Build regular tests into your study plan so that you know if your study is working or if you need to plan more time. You could get together with a friend and test each other.
Exam practise. If you can, get hold of some past papers and try doing them at home under exam conditions. This is a good test run for the real exam and will help you work out if you are giving too much or too little time to each question.