Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Building An Adult: How I revise

Revision, Revision, Revision!

A slightly different Building An Adult today but this is something that is probably very important to help you get on the path of become an adult. Revision. Its boring, tedious at the best of times but it is very rewarding in the long run and is so important if you want to achieve highly in exams!

Unless you are a genius and one of those students that seem to be gifted at everything, revision is crucial if you want to achieve anywhere near your best in your exams. I am not incredibly intelligent; however I work and revise hard - this lead me to achieve 5 A*s, 5 As and a Distinction at GCSE and, due to the ranking of the state school that I attended, this placed me well into the top 1% of students in the country. But it was far from easy! I was revising hard every day and night and started months before the exams started - don't wait for your course to have finished to start revising. You can always revise something! I am now going to go through some of my revision tips and strategies to try and help you achieve your best grades - if this post helps you and motivates you to work I might do another one with my other revision strategies.

  1. Forest - the brilliant app. Forest is a simple app, with no levels and not even fancy graphics but it is brilliant if you want to focus hard on something without the distractions of you phone (Instagram is killer for procrastination). All you need to do is set a time, you have a choice between 10 and 120 minutes and then you 'plant' a tree. If you then go on and use your phone in your plants 'growing' period then the tree dies and you're left with a horrible dead tree in your field. I can't bring myself to give up and kill my tree so I have completed every growing period. It tracks how well you've done and adds up your total number of minutes/hours growing per week so it is also motivating - you can do that 20 minutes more! It is available for free on every know app store (as far as I am aware!) and I can't imagine revising without it now!

2.  Highlight the key parts. This seems stupid and simple but just reading a piece of text is going to get you no where. Highlight the key parts and even annotate them if you need to simplify something for yourself and link it to another page. It may feel a bit odd to write in your textbook, especially as so many people will have paid an arm and a leg for them and want them in good condition so they can resell them but you shouldn't be thinking about that! Are you grades less important that getting that £30 back? If you have borrowed the textbook/book and are not allowed to write in then sticky notes and arrows are your best friend.

3. Another simple but so effective way of making sure that you are working to the best of your ability is to have a pencil case. For many people this is just obvious but I now so many people who just turn up to lessons with a chewed Bic pen and a few pieces of crumpled paper. How are you ever supposed to achieve grades if you aren't even organised enough to have a pencil case? My pencil case is just the most simple one - it is covered in the names of previously banned books but any one will do (even a plastic wallet if you really can't get one. Pen wise take great care with you stationery - think that they are the pens that will carry you to victory. Personally my favourite pens are the black V Ball roller balls or the papermate ones for all my colourful notes. Personally I find that writing in pencil doesn't improve your notes as it is not bold enough. The key points just point stand out. 

4. Write your notes down. It is all well and good reading a textbook and highlighting some important sentences but what if you aren't then using that information then you will have forgotten it within minutes. Make a poster or buy a pukka pad for each subject and write down all the notes you want to. Make sure that you aren't just copying entire pages from the textbook - try and take a paragraph (or some of your highlighted sections) and rewrite them in your own words, using highlights and different colours to emphasise the hardest bits and the most important bits. Then make sure that you have a pack of page markers to hand. I use these to point to entire sections or key parts that I still haven't quite got the hang of so that when I am going back through my notes I can focus on these harder areas. Once learnt and understood I simply remove the page tag. It is so satisfying to watch the numbers fall.

5. Questions! Consolidate your learning with textbook questions or ones that you have found online. My school has access to Exampro so all questions are online with markschemes and examiners reports. I find these especially helpfully but I know that a lot of schools don't have it so just use the questions provided for you or find some online. If you don't get the question try and find the answer in the textbook before giving up and looking at the answers - only when you can't find it then look and see if you understand where this has come from. 

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