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Sunday, 3 May 2015

Study tips and how I revise

So todays post is something I didn’t really think I would ever right. This year, as a year 10 student, is my first year of ‘proper’ exams and I did a lot of research into revision tips and advice. So now its mid exam-season and I think I’ve found my swing, so I thought I’d share my tips and I would love to hear yours in the comments.

So as pre-mentioned, this year I is my first year of GCSEs and luckily I only have a handful to balance. In May, I will be doing a short-course Ethics & Philosophy exam (RE), a long- course Ethics & Philosophy exam and ICT. Then the big-y this year is my Maths exams that I will be doing in June, as I am taking the GCSE a year early. So as you can see I’ve only got a few subjects to deal with and I know that will make a difference to how I balance study time etc. Another little thing is that I know I’m a visual learner, so I respond best to colour, images and poster-type revision.

Top Tip 1- Scheduling

So coping with scheduling and sorting revision time is a pain and something I struggled with. How much time are you meant to revise? How do you have a life around study time? Well, the way I worked it all out was giving myself a basic week-long study calendar that, if needed, I come skip certain study hours and switch when necessary. I made a paper copy, using word and the table function, but I know lots of people like online ones too. I split my exams into importance, including homework for extra tasks that I’ll have every week, for example- maths was 0.4, homework 0.3, ethics 0.2 and ICT 0.1. Then I took a given day/ set of days and multiplied my amount of time by these decimals so I knew how many sets of a certain subject was needed. I.e.. Maths on a Saturday with 6 study blocks= 6 times o.4 and so on. However I never stick to it, but I know what roughly works for me. I like harder subjects in the morning and then easier towards the end. I make sure I have a few hours of free time on a day and that I stop for breaks every 45 minutes for 15 minutes.

Top Tip 2- Get organised 

The first thing that I did when it got to the Easter holiday, and time for revision to begin, was to get organised. This means folders, dividers, paperclips and no system-less piles. I went to Tesco for most my bits, picking up a huge pack of folder dividers, a lovely floral leverach ringbinder for Maths and these amazing pink HEDGEHOG paperclips (because why not!) and then picked up a basic black ringbinder folder from Sainsburys for just 50p- a complete bargain. I had notebooks from the beginning of the year, I’m still using the ones I DIYed in this post.
Dividers in my folders are a complete essential and they make my piles of paper look neat and clear. I find sectioning everything makes it seem less daunting! I would really recommend buying a big pack of dividers because although it’s a bit more more pricey, you get loads so you’ll never run out.

Top Tip 3- Music

Music is a revision saviour, and the thing is everyone’s playlists vary depending on what's best for them. Personally, I don’t like to play too much calm/ classical music because I find it shuts my brain down and makes me drowsy- which will lead to me procrastinating, so instead I wither listen to my music or radio. I would say don’t just listen to your favourite tunes because a) you’ll get distracted and will find yourself singing lyrics and dancing about and b) you’ll give your favourite songs and artists negative connotations of work, revision and bordem. Radio 1 is my channel of choice, as I like the music, presenters and general layout of the radio. There’s no adverts to irritate me and the songs vary depending on presenter and time of day!

Top Tip 4- Take care of yourself

This is so important. In revision season, you’re asking for your brain to learn, remember and recall- so spending the early hours of the morning awake watching Netflix and eating pizza, chips and chocolate makes this impossible. Sleep is so important and even if you’re a night-time owl, you need to find a sleep pattern that’s regular and works for you. I’m no food angel but in these few months I do try to think more about eating healthier and more balanced. You need to eat all your meals, especially breakfast, and snacks should be a mixture of treats and healthy fruit. My top ‘healthy’ snacks are a bowl of raspberries, blueberries and banana all mixed up or some Special K pumpkin seed granola with some natural yogurt. Both are so tasty and leave me refreshed and not bloated.

Top Tip 5- Breaks

Breaking in study time is very important and I think is something we all know, but something we may not all remember. I generally like to study for 45 minutes and take a 15 minute, but as long as you’re getting at least 5 minutes break per hour, do what works for you. In my breaks, I vary what I do but mostly I make sure I’ve had a drink (and possibly something to eat) and a little relax. Sometimes I have a bit off a stress- releasing dance in the mirror, other times I allow myself a bit of phone time and a Youtube video. I also find taking a quick walk around the block or even a run is a useful way to spend my breaks as it lets you take your mind away from revision and you get some fresh air outside. I have also occasionally been doing a tad spot of yoga and I follow along to Yoga with Adriene’s Youtube channel. She does a fab 5-minute yoga session which is great for revision breaks.

How I revise-

So the way I choose to revise is by doing very visual tasks and memory tricks. If I am revising content, I like to create posters or copy out my notes in bright colours. I love to use the Papermate Inkjoy pens to do think as the pack comes with lots of different colours. For maths, I like to complete past papers- a lot of them too- as they teach you to answer exam-style questions and learn from your mistakes. You get used to sitting to write an exam and time management too! Specialised worksheets for a specific topic are also helpful. You can download PDFs online for your syllabus or use sights like Mymaths (which my school use).

If I have to learn key words or facts then I like to use post it notes and key cards. For Ethics & Philosophy I have to learn about 100 key words and I am getting through them with key cards. I test myself, get my family to test me and I can also take them out and about with my for subtle out-the-house revision.

This year is also the first year I’ve become addicted to post it notes. I know that putting revision resources around the house is meant to be really good so I have done this with post it notes. I have colour coded them into my subjects (I got a pack of different coloured ones) and stick them in places around my bedroom and bathroom- generally areas I look and go every day.

So that’s currently how I’m managing it all. However I’m still learning and willing to try out new things so please share your advice!
As you can also see from today's post, I have re-designed my page. I hope you like it and it took a bit of time and work to do, so feedback would be gladly appreciated. I thought the old blog page was getting a bit too pink and girly, so I've gone with a much cleaner monochrome feel with mint accents! I really like it and I'm excited to see how you feel about it too!
I wish everyone doing any type of tests, exams or work good luck this exam season and also a lovely day,

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