Wondering what to do to get the most out of your revision? How you can revise effectively and focus on the task at hand, without getting distracted and sidelined in to other activities. The following tips will help you focus on what needs to be done before you start revising, to ensure your revision time is used effectively and preparation for your exam is thorough.
1. Get enough sleep
To have good retention, effective memorising skills and to have a sharp focus it is necessary to get eight hours sleep. Some teenagers need more sleep than this, but, on average eight hours is a good amount. You need between 6 to 8 hours to be able to learn effectively for your revision. During exam season, you need to rest sufficiently for peak performance, and to work effectively.
2. Eat well
It isn’t good for your brain to eat junk food and sweets, chelates and have sugary drinks to keep your energy levels up. Oily fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel contain lots of protein and omega 3 fatty acids. These are essential to keep the brain working effectively. Your brain uses omega 3 fatty acids to build nerve and brain cells, these fats are essential for learning and memory. They also ward off Alzheimer’s disease and depression. Try and pair up with wholemeal bread and you will have slow releasing energy.
Eat plenty of dark leafy greens, such as kale, spinach and broccoli. These are rich in Vitamin K which helps build pathways in the brain to help your neural networks. They also have B6 and B12, the B vitamins are very good for the brain, B6 and B12 are good for memory and alertness.
Broccoli is very high in vitamin K, essential for forming sphingolipids, a type of fat that’s packed into brain cells.
Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of magnesium iron, zinc and copper. Zinc is important for nerve signalling. Magnesium is excellent for learning and memory. Less magnesium is associated with migraines and depression. Copper is also good for nerve signalling and reduces the risk of degenerative disorders. Sufficient iron levels lead to increased alertness and better brain function. A good diet is key to healthy brain function, the ultimate brain foods for revision help your memory and retention.
3. Have all necessary equipment ready in a tidy place
Arrange your desk or work space so that you have everything you need close at hand. Be organised and prepare yourself well in advance. Think ahead and plan for everything you will need over the course of your studies. This will ensure you make the most of study time. Whether that is calculators, rulers, or other stationary, a dictionary or thesaurus. You can use devices to look up words, but only if you are certain no messages or chats will distract you. Put your phone in airplane mode so you retain laser sharp focus!
4. Eliminate distractions
If you can, try and put your smartphone and tablet away, if possible. Consistent distractions will reduce your focus. To maximize performance on a task you need to be working in undisturbed sessions of about 45 to 50 minutes. This is when you will experience that your work flows. You are more likely to achieve the stat of ‘flow’ if you allow yourself no distractions, your mind will become engaged and immersed in the task at hand thus achieving your maximum potential and peak performance in your revision.
5. Identify your strong and weak topics in each subject
Use a traffic light system to figure out which topics in the syllabus you know well and which ones you don’t know so well. Green for good knowledge, amber for topics you need some work on and red for topics which are a challenge. Test yourself on each topic to figure out how much you know. Then as you revise each topic test yourself again with different questions to consolidate your progress.
6. Create a realistic timetable
For GCSEs you should start revising as soon as Year 11 starts. Get hold of the syllabus or curriculum for each subject and your school planner and build your timetable around each topic. Make sure you cover all the topics and leave yourself a enough time to practice past papers during your revision sessions and for a few weeks before the exam, concentrate mainly in past papers. Some people work best without detailed timetables, in this case allot blocks of time for the revision of certain topics and ensure you have the discipline to cover all the topics you need to. It is always better to plan and make sure you don’t leave anything out.
7. Factor in time for breaks and activities in your timetable
You will not just be studying. Allow yourself time in the week to go out, have fun and do extra curricular activities. This will help invigorate for your study time. Give yourself a few hours off a week. Life goes on along with your exams and you will have other considerations.
8. Change is not always a bad thing
You can vary where you study, depending on the topic you want to study. It may be that you want to move to the dining table, for a change from your desk, or in a home office, if you have one. For some topics you may want to study in a group or go to the library.
Make sure the place where you study is quiet, comfortable, and well lit and you aren’t likely to be disturbed.
All these factors will assist you during your revision and before exams. Be sure to prepare well and stick to your plans as much as you can. Remember to factor in down time where you can relax and revitalize yourself for a fresh revision session.