Quick tips – revising for exams

  1. Create mind maps of the whole subject and each topic.  Memory works better if the information is in a context
  2. Draw diagrams.  Use colour and symbols.  Visual memory is the strongest for most people.
  3. Reduce whole topics down to key facts, definitions, forumulas on one A4 sheet.    It helps you work out what is important and what is detail.
  4. Use flash cards or post-it notes and revise often.  A key to memory is repetition.
  5. Don’t just read your notes.  Write them out and say them out loud.  It’s called multiple sensory input where your brain does not just get visual input but auditory and kinaesthetic input as well.
  6. Write your own exam questions and then answer them.  Information framed as a question means your brain immediately thinks about the answer.  Ask questions of the same type as the exam.
  7. For essay exams write an introductory paragraph for each topic that you can adapt in the exam.  Include key facts/ theories/ideas/arguments.
  8. Use memory aids – acronyms, acrostics, peg-words.  Information is remembered better if linked to something:
  • Acronyms – words created from first letters of a string of terms, e.g. ROYGBIV are the seven colours of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet
  • Acrostics – sentences where the first letter of each word in the sentence is the same as the words you are trying to remember, e.g. “My Very Educated Mother Just Sent Us Nachos” have the same first letters as the planets of the Solar System: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.
  • Peg Words – this technique combines a word that rhymes with a number and a word or picture related to the term to be remembered.  It’s useful if you have to remember terms in order or precise numbers, e.g. words related to numbers could be 1-gun, 2-shoe, 3-tree, 4-door, 5-hive, 6-bricks, 7-heaven, 8-plate, 9-wine, 10-hen

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