How to Revise Most Effectively - Sofya's Revision Tips

16 May 2019

Exam season is a crucial time in any student’s university life and preparation is key! In this blog, BSc Accounting & Finance student Sofya Khokhlova will share her top five tips for effective revision.

I call exam season my ‘stress season’ as it is an extremely important time when you need to be on top with everything. By everything, I mean not only your workload but also your health and wellbeing. The tips I always stick to and would like to share are the most applicable before and during every exam season:

Tip #1 - Sort out your notes from the start, do not leave until the last minute

I would say that my preparation begins in advance, as soon as the academic year begins. I am studying BSc Accounting & Finance and that degree requires a lot of organisation around exam time (I cannot speak for other courses but I guess it is the same). What do I do as term starts? I follow my simple equation:

Lecture ? = Notes ? + Textbook Chapter ?

I always make sure that I am on top with my work: attending all the lectures and seminars as well as taking notes. I then make sure that I sort my lecture/seminar notes every week for each module. That is essential because it saves time later on when I start my exam revision. I will not lie to you; sometimes I find it challenging to be on top of everything when there are deadlines coming up and when that happens, Sometimes I am not as efficient as I was at the start in staying organised – but that’s okay. That is when my prioritisation skills come in to play. Definitely prioritise deadlines slightly over the rest of your work but still attempt to keep up to date with the rest of the workload or at least, as soon as the deadline ends, and work is submitted – go back and catch up.

Tip #2 - Lecturers are your best friend

I always try to make it to every single lecture I have. The most beneficial part of most of my lectures is that they are led by module leaders and those are the people who prepare the exam papers. Those are the people who give you advice on how to succeed. Therefore, lectures are key, that is when I was given most of the guidance on revision and exam preparation. Especially in Week 9 and 10, you are given a clear outline of what to revise for the exam. You are also provided with the foundation of how to plan and structure your revision and what to focus on – if you do not turn up to those lectures, you will never get that information! However, it is still absolutely essential to make sure to stay on top of the whole module content – not just during exam time, otherwise it will probably end up being an overwhelming amount of information.

UG Study SpaceTip #3 - Find a method that works for you – study space and work environment

Moving to the most practical part of the revision process: Study Space and Work Environment. You should choose what time and place makes you the most effective revision wise. Since starting at WBS, I have had time to identify what works best for me:

  • Study space: For most of the time, I prefer studying on my own, in a quiet space, the top floor of the library is great for this. It prevents me from getting distracted by talking to my friends and as I’m in the library I’m surrounded by other people studying. Ask yourself: “Do I like working on my own or in a small group? Quiet space or slightly noisy? Surrounded by other students working or alone in my room?”
  • Work environment: I love a clean and organised space because it keeps me productive. I am able to concentrate most effectively when I am not distracted by the mess around me. I also like the saying: ‘A cluttered desk means a cluttered mind’. However, the working environment is a quite individual topic so definitely stick to what works best for you!

Tip #4 - Different module – different revision approach

Firstly, you need to know what learning style works for you the best: visual (mind maps) vs verbal (writing), flashcards, highlighters, just notes – paper or computer? Secondly, I find that every module demands different kinds of revision. For instance, for Accounting and for Finance modules I mostly use past papers to practice, for Law modules – flashcards, for International Environment modules – a small group revision session. A variety of revision methods is essential so that you do not feel exhausted too quickly and it makes the process more engaging! For each type of module try to find out what revision approach works best for you.

Sofya's revision notesTip #5 - Make a schedule

Last but not least, planning... Know your exam timetable and have a clear timeline for your revision. It will help you to track your performance. Are you on time? Are you on top with everything? Have you had a break? Are you taking enough time out to look after yourself?

Sometimes I feel that a schedule is tiring to prepare, however, it pays off later. It significantly reduces my stress levels since I always know where to refer to ensuring I do not forget what I should be doing. What is more important is that the schedule includes “every move you make, every breath you take”.  I always make sure to incorporate in my day-to-day plan: early morning start, meal plans, exercise session, breaks etc. That is the best way to stay on track, to plan your revision days and include your non-revision focused activities. Planning really does help your stress levels, especially during exam time!

Everyone revises differently, but I hope that my tips will inspire you to be as productive as possible no matter what you are revising for.

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