Ah, the joys of Spring! Flowers will soon be poking their sleepy heads up through the soil, fresh leaves will fill every branch in green technicolour, the evenings will seem endless and the days will be warmer. Just in time for…exam season. Great.
It’s one of life’s cruel jokes that just as the first flush of fine weather hits, along with its associated social life – BBQs, days at the beach, chilling in the park with friends, festivals, general fun – those studying must remain chained to their books and screens, indoors and in misery.
Hey, listen – it’s not all doom and gloom. Yeah, exams are very important but so is balance and it is possible to get fantastic results without turning into a hermit/vampire/cave beetle/all of the above. In fact, a smart revision timetable with proper downtime built in to it means you’re even more likely to achieve your best marks.
We’re here to share some revision tips with you to help you feel more sunny and hopeful than a bright spring dawn (…well, almost).
Start revising early
The early bird catches the worm! For better marks, start revising months, not days, before your exams. Stop procrastinating, grab a big sheet of A3 paper and some colourful pens and make a timetable that allows you to revise at a gradual, steady pace.
Bite-size study sessions make it easier for your brain to digest information, so you’re more likely to remember what you’ve learnt. Decide how many hours’ revision you intend to do e.g. four hours a day for 10 days. Then then split those 40 hours across each subject (allow more time for the areas you find hardest).
Take short breaks
Here’s some good news, breaks are majorly important. They are a vital element of any revision timetable; as important as the revision itself. Think about it, you wouldn’t train for a marathon by running the whole 26 miles in one go without stopping. Your body would respond by just giving up. And your brain will too.
Stop revising for at least 10 minutes every hour for a drink, snack or breath of fresh air. And don’t do more than three hours’ revision at one time; you just won’t take it in. You can always go back over subject areas again later. Repetition is actually one of the most effective learning tools. Try writing down key facts from each revision session on post-it notes, then stick them up in places you’ll naturally frequent over the coming days e.g. the fridge, the bathroom.
Once you’ve put in the study hours during the day, treat yourself to something you’ll really enjoy. Why not escape to catch a new film at the cinema or get together with some friends for a drink or bite to eat? We know it hurts to have yet another thing to remember, but don’t forget your photo ID card when you head out. If you’re going to see an age-restricted film at the cinema, you may get asked for a photo ID card to prove your age.
At just £15, My ID Card costs hardly any more than your average cinema ticket, meal or round of drinks. This official, PASS-accredited photo ID Card is accepted by many cinemas, bars and restaurants across the UK and fully endorsed by the Home Office and The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).
And if your current ‘look’ feels like it’s 24/7 bed hair and tea-stained trackie bottoms, you can revamp and revitalise with a new Spring outfit or hairstyle because your My ID photo ID card also comes with My ID Rewards membership. You can get discounts on loads of hot brands such as Top Shop, River Island, New Look, Gap, and Toni & Guy – to name but a few. Ah, don’t you feel fresher already?
Does your brain feel like a bucket with a hole in it? Facts spilling out like sand, faster than you can put them back in? Have faith that your brain does have the capacity to remember things – that’s not the problem. The problem is that sneaky old devil, distraction.
Your bite-size study sessions will be much more effective – whatever their length – if you devote your FULL attention to the task in hand. Playing music, having your phone by your side, and putting the telly on while revising will only make your task harder, because they’ll automatically use up part of the brain’s attention capacity.
Try to get a good 8 to 9 hours sleep a night so that your memory is in tip-top condition for exam time. Sleep plays a critical role in helping the brain to back-up short-term patterns and create long-term memories.
Mind too active to sleep? Try to reduce anxiety because it uses up working memory, leaving a much smaller capacity available for revision. Get your worries out of your head and onto the page in the form of a journal. Take a warm bath before bed using essential oils like lavender. Replace tea & coffee with herbal infusions or milky drinks and turn off all electronic devices at least one hour before bedtime.
This exam season, a photo ID that fits in neatly in your wallet or purse for whenever you need it means one less thing to worry about. Apply for a My ID Card today and get yours in plenty of time for Spring.