With exams fast approaching, if you’ve never had to revise for anything more serious than a class test, there’s a good chance you’re bricking it right now. But never fear – Source is here, with some handy hints to help make you’re in the best place possible come exam day.
Let’s get ready to rumble
You know that exams are coming – so don’t leave it all to the last minute. Get ready now. Get onto the SQA site and take a note of when each exam is, or download the SQA My Study Plan app. You just need to tell it what subjects you’re doing and at what level, and it’ll put together your exam timetable – and even help you formulate a plan for studying. If that’s not genius, we don’t know what is.
Organise your time
You know when your exams are – so what are you going to do with the precious days leading up to them? You’re going to get organised, that’s what. A study planner is a great way to make sure you’re spending enough time revising the right things. For each subject you’re studying, make up a list of all the things you need to learn, split them into units, and then slot them into a timetable. To make this, divide your day into slots – morning, afternoon, evening, or hourly – and make time for breaks too. You can schedule in commitments like school, dance class, football with your pals or visiting your nan, and slot in revision sessions round that. Decide what you’re hoping to do for each ahead of time too to save getting in a flap. If you head to www.sourcemagazine.org.uk/studytimetable, you can download a couple of different formats to print out and fill in yourself. We do spoil you!
Find what works for you
Maybe your walls are plastered with diagrams explaining biology concepts. You could be a flash-card demon. Or, you might work best reading pages and pages of notes. Figure out your learning style well in advance so that when the pressure’s on, you can get stuck in. Start practising different techniques now.
Clear desk, clear mind
First of all – it really helps to sit at a desk and study rather than lounging in your bed. So if you have access to such a thing – use it. If not? Take over the dining or kitchen table, or head to your local library. Secondly – make sure your study space is tidy. If you’re battling with bits of paper and stick notes and empty crisp packets, you’re going to get distracted. So organise your notes neatly, get yourself a pencil case and use a bin for the remains of your study snacks!
Team work makes the dream work
Shake up your study routine by having the occasional group study session. This does take some willpower – it’s easy to get caught up in gossip sessions or to start discussing the football, but make a pact to stick to studying and rewards yourselves with a trip to McDonalds later. Group study sessions are good, because you can get your pals to explain things you’re not sure of, you can test each other, you can work together to research, and you might learn a thing or two from your mates.
Pile on the past papers
Past papers are the holy grail of revision. Once you’ve learned all the facts and figures you can, dig out the past papers and give it a go in the time limit. It’ll prepare you for the pressure of the big day, let you see how long that time really is, and make sure you’ve learned all the right bits and bobs. Your teacher will probably be able to offer you some papers to practise with, or you can download old papers from www.sqa.org.uk.
It’s so tempting to get stuck into a bag of Malteasers, demolish some Digestives and drink energy drinks to get you through revision. But sugary, fatty snacks and drinks do nothing for your brain function. Instead, drink plenty of water, and go for healthy snacks, like fruit and veg, nuts, yoghurt and seeds to get your brain in gear. Speak words of love to your parents, or get busy in the kitchen yourself to ensure you’re eating healthy, nutrient-packed meals too.
On exam day, do yourself a favour – make sure your bag is packed with a million spare pens, set your alarm early, take the bus before the one you need to, and go hover around school nervously before the exam starts. You want to avoid missed alarms, sleeping in and delays with public transport – the earlier the better! Once you’re outside the exam hall – the rest is down to you. Get in there and give it your best shot. You’ve got this!
What type of learner are you?
Different brains work in different ways, and apparently there are four different types of learners. If you’re not sure which category you fall into, give all of these a go to find out how you learn best!
These guys prefer to learn by seeing. You’ll learn best by looking at charts and graphics, so incorporate diagrams into your study notes.
Auditory learners prefer to soak up information through their ear-holes. Recite information out loud, record it and listen back to be in with a better chance of remember those crucial facts and figures.
Scribbling down notes and reading them back is the most effective method of revision for this group. Doing quizzes, reading textbooks and jotting down what you know will jog your memory.
The least obvious one, kinaesthetic learners learn best by doing, in a hands-on way. Maybe make up a dance routine that’ll jog your memory for formulas, imagine doing that chemistry experiment again, and even indulge in role-play with a pal to embed all of that exam data.