We’ve all been there; trying to cram information for that exam that’s coming up, but nothing seems to be absorbed. It’s very easy to spend hours reading notes, but this doesn’t engage your brain. It might seem like a good idea but it isn’t a good tactic for memorising information.
So, what can you do instead? There are many forms of active revision techniques, making your brain work harder to help recall facts. It’s much more efficient and there are lots of options. Here are some techniques to try out:
Transforming your notes into flashcards forces your brain to remember information. This technique only works if your flashcards are effective.
- Don’t cram information into onto one card – try and condense the information
- Write one question per card
- Add drawings (according to mikegingerich.com, visuals are processed 60,000x faster than text)
- You can make flashcards by hand or use an online site (quizlet.com is a free one). Quizlet makes it easy to study on many devices and it even has game modes.
This technique allows you to link information together. Once again, you can make these by hand or with an online site (lucid charts).
The Most Underrated Technique: Past Papers
It can sound dull to do questions but past papers improve your exam technique. You can work out how to phrase answers and understand where you are losing marks. Attempting past papers can help you understand what you are struggling with and also what sort of questions come up in the exam. Here’s a good plan to try:
- Answer the questions without any notes to see how much you can remember
- When done, mark your answers and analyse where you went wrong
- Write the questions you got wrong on flashcards and learn the mark-scheme answers
- Attempt similar questions again
You can find many exam questions online for you to practice or you could use class notes too.
Creating The Perfect Study Space
These revision methods will only work if you are completely focused. Try and work in a quiet space away from distractions, keeping your phone away from you. It can be helpful to put it on airplane mode so you don’t get any notifications.
You could also try the Pomodoro technique:
This article was written by Yachna Dhir, a member of the Stemette Society.