Revision Tips and Techniques

shutterstock_246444889The key to effective revision really does lie in the preparation.  Topic revision sheets are a great resource to have; they require a bit of time and effort to create, but the good news is that all the time you are creating you are actually revising as well!  The creative process is enormously valuable, as you have to revisit information and reconfigure it into another format; much more effective than just surface reading page after page of notes you made months ago.

The idea behind a topic revision sheet is to condense information for each topic or unit you have to revise onto a single A4 page (if you really can’t fit it on A4, go to A3, but keep it to one sheet).  What you want to end up with is a simple layout of key information, organised into categories, which you have distilled from your original notes.  The subject you are revising for will of course dictate the categories you require, but some good ideas to start with are:


  • Key dates/events
  • Key figures
  • Key formulae/rules
  • Key processes
  • Changes/developments
  • Key terms/vocabulary
  • Quotations/phrases
  • Common exam questions


I like to use a computer to create mine, as text tends to be smaller than handwriting, and you can create a template to reuse for each unit/topic.  It also allows for easy editing and alteration.  I tend to divide the page up using textboxes, so if for instance I were to use all eight categories above, I would have eight textboxes (you can vary the size depending on how much you need to fit in each one.)  This way of dividing up what you need to learn is great as it compartmentalises your knowledge, and allows you to focus on a manageable amount of information at a time.


I also really recommend the use of functions such as bold text, highlighting, colour, italics, bullet points, underlining etc. in order to create something that is really readable and accessible.  View the process of selecting information to be included and then coloured/highlighted/italicised as revision in the first place; you are engaged because you are making decisions about what to include, and what to promote as more or less important/relevant than the rest.  Deciding on a format that you use for each topic also makes for a memorable visual layout, as you are placing the same type of information in the same place each time.  After creating the first few you will find yourself saying ‘Ah yes, key formulae are in the top right-hand text box, outlined in green, and I know that they are…’!

Lastly, make sure that you have all the information you need as you start creating; if you need to double check something in the textbook or online, do!  There is nothing worse than trying to revise from something you are not sure is actually complete or sufficient, it makes for a stressful and anxious experience.  If you have a suspicious looking fact, an incomplete equation, or a grammatically questionable sentence, correct it before revising it; what’s the point in learning something incorrectly?

Once your topic revision sheets are finished, you will not only have a surprisingly good grasp of what you are revising, but you will be able to put the mountain of books to one side, and use these instead – they have everything you need on them.



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