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How to revise effectively

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There are two fundamentals to revision: good organisation and finding out how you work best. Combined, and with an extra sprinkling of commitment, this duo is guaranteed to provide solid results and turn tedious, boring revision into a more fulfilling and dynamic exercise.
What you'll need: 
A clear, quiet space with a desk and comfortable chair
Good lighting
A good supply of dividers with tabs- allows for sub-catergories
Paper of all sorts- writing pads, plain paper, post-its, revision cards etc.
Sturdy folders- enough for each topic of revision
Pens, pencils, highlighters, coloured felt tips
Firstly, it is essential to acquire a space so that you have a functional and peaceful environment which in no way hinders you from successful revision. It is key that you can remain undisturbed by others living in the house. This ensures that your concentration is not broken, meaning you are more likely to remember everything you revise. Plus, more revision will be achieved without breaks. An environment which ticks all these boxes could be your local library; many libraries have silent working areas.
Once you have found your space you need to equip it with all your revision tools, and remove all distractions - TV, radio and computer, they can and should be replaced with folders, dividers, a variety of papers, pens and other writing implements as well as a suitable light. This will prove important in the later stages of revision when, with a poorer quality lamp, your eyes would begin to feel sore and strained.
After becoming comfortable with your work area, you need to organise your notes, i.e. those which you are going to revise from - if you haven't already done so. This is a simple exercise, although many do not bother. It is more than likely that you will have a textbook for many of your subjects, therefore, you can organise the topics of your subject by following the textbook's example. If no textbook is available, list the topics which you learnt throughout your course, looking through your notes if necessary, and simply arrange. It is a good idea to cast a judging eye over your notes before filing, discarding any duplicates. What you should end up with is a folder, say, for Sociology, neatly divided into bite-size topics. Don't be afraid to re-organise or re-arrange at any time; this usually happens throughout the organisation of many good files, and only means you are becoming better acquanited with what you have to revise from. With book based subjects such as English Literature, it is advisable to have one folder per book and organise the folder into categories such as 'characterisation', 'themes' etc. However, it is of paramount importance that you organise your folders in a way which you feel comfortable with.
You should feel much more clear-headed and confident about your subjects now which makes a good starting point. Before you start, however, you may find it useful to compile lists of what you already know well, reasonably well, not very well, and not at all; this will ensure you manage your time accordingly.
When you begin to revise, select an easier topic first; one you are more comfortable with and know the most about. This not only allows you to experiment with different ways of revising, but will boost your confidence and place a positive slant on revision. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to find out how you work best, it is a matter of trial and error. But what I can impart to you is different methods you may find suit you: - The age-old method of copying out and then turning over your paper and scribbling down what you remember. This has to be repeated until you remember everything on the original page. Tedious, obviously, but a tried and tested practice. - Summing up your notes into brief, factual sentences and short paragraphs which you copy out onto revision cards, which you can then be tested on by a friend or famiy member. (I find that summarising and re-summarising and editing, and then revising just the key words and sentences that you end up with works a dream - as long as you can elaborate on the words and sentences). - Placing copies of your notes around the home i.e. around the TV (you can revise whilst watching), on your bedroom ceiling (you can read through before you fall asleep) etc. - Creating colourful diagrams or graphs makes a change from writing lines and there is even evidence to suggest that colours boosts your ability to remember. If you think about it, you are more likely to be able to picture what was written on a colourful spider diagram you created a week ago rather than a plain page of black writing.
Once you have found your preferred revision style all that remains is to keep up your commitment and motivation - just think of the benefits when revision is no more. Good luck!
Take regular, short breaks which act as 'rewards' i.e. set a time to have a 20 minute break to watch your favourite episode of 'Friends' after 20 minutes of solid revision.
Eat a healthy, varied diet- this will enable you to concentrate, absorb more information more easily and keep on target.
Caffeine based drinks can provide a quick-fix for frustrating moments when concentration lapses- although drink in moderation.
There are a number of exercises to jump start your brain into action or to help you relax if it all gets too much, including rubix cube, sudoku, crossword puzzles etc.
Compiling a 'to-do' list works for some people: ticking off topics after revising them fully can be extremely rewarding.


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