Exam Revision Advice

Draw up a revision timetable

Research shows that shorter 25-30 minute spells work best because your concentration is much higher. We, therefore, recommend taking short, frequent breaks. We also advise mixing up the order of the subjects you are studying.

To access study planner templates, please click on the green button below the examination timetables.

Find a quiet space

This is a pretty straightforward one: you desperately need a place where you can be uninterrupted for a few hours.

Get down to it in the morning

You have to make a start at some point and doing it sooner rather than later is a very good idea. 

Reward yourself and get some exercise

It is not all about the work; you need good breaks too. Try to find the right balance between study and leisure. Physical activity is very important, in particular during intense study time. Physical activity increases heart rate which makes the blood circulate faster. This, in turn, ensures that the brain gets more oxygen which increases productivity whilst reducing tiredness and stress. This is good. Even going for a walk is better than nothing.

Use your family and friends

Ask people around you to test you and give you feedback. You should already have made revision notes that they can use to test you. Choose responsible friends...

How to revise- Active Learning/Revision

Work out what you need to learn

Don’t spend time revising information you already know. Do you know what you will be assessed on? If not, ask your teacher for guidance.

Make summary notes

Making notes is one of the best ways to memorise a lot of information. Change the format of these notes to add variety and to force yourself to think.

Go over notes one day after learning them, then three days later, one week later, and one month later. Reviewing is not just repetition. Actively reviewing your notes can at least double your recall. Reading over your mindmaps, grabbing your notes and going through them or talking about and discussing your notes, your recall will stay at 90%.

If you do not review your notes for three days, your recall will drop to 30%. You will forget 70% of what you have learned in three days without active reviewing.

Ensure you make your mind think

Consider the following strategies for Active Learning / Revision

Active Learning/ Revision

Do plenty of past papers

Go to http://www.nzqa.govt.nz/qualifications-standards/qualifications/ncea/subjects/

Select your subjects and follow the links to examination papers and exemplars – look at the exemplars and consider why they have been selected.

When you have completed a past paper, take it to your teacher for marking and feedback. Use this feedback to guide your next revision steps. This may mean you need to go back over key concepts, ideas, or content or you should attempt a different past paper

Summarise, using keywords

Summarising reduces the amount of material you have to remember while helping you to learn

  • Once you've studied a section, reduce the main ideas to keywords that can be memorised.

  • Start by deciding on the main (most important) idea in each paragraph.Tip: ask yourself: 'What is this paragraph/section about?'

  • Rewrite the main idea in your own words; then reduce it so you're left with a short sentence.

  • Then write a few keywords (the supporting details) under each main idea.

Distillation and re-creation

First 'distil' the material by reducing it to manageable chunks

  • Identify the keywords.

  • Underline or highlight them.

Then re-create the information by

  • Re-telling it in a different way (paraphrasing it) and/or

  • Summarising it, using your own words.

Post-its

Use Post-its to help you review/remember important facts or keywords

  • Stick the Post-its up in places where you won’t miss them.

  • Each time you see a Post-it, briefly review the information.

  • Move the Post-its around so you don’t become so used to seeing them that you no longer notice them.

  • Use different coloured Post-its and coloured pens, symbols, etc. - this helps you to remember.  


Reciting aloud

Read key sections aloud – listen to yourself

  • Read each section three or four times and listen carefully. Pay attention to what you're saying.

  • Hide the page from view.

  • Recite the main points from memory.

  • Check to see if your recall was accurate.

  • Repeat these steps until you can recall the information easily and accurately.

  • Try recording what you say and play it back.

Test yourself

- The key here is using your own words

  • If you think you know something, but can't put it into your own words, you probably don't know it well enough.

  • Being able to explain something in your own words is the only way to be sure that you really understand it and know it well.

Flashcards

Studying with flashcards is a form of active learning.

Using flashcards to revise forces you to think about the material and do something with it rather than just reading it. And this definitely helps you remember what you are studying.

How to use flashcards for studying

  • As you're working through your learning material or reviewing your notes, identify any terms, concepts or formulas, etc., that you need to learn.

  • Write each question, term, concept and/or formula on a separate flashcard.

  • Write the answer or explanation on the other side of the card.

  • Use your own words whenever possible.

  • Shuffle the cards so you can't figure out any answers based on their location in the deck.

  • Look at the card on the top of the deck: Try to answer the question or explain the term.

  • If you know it, great! Put the card at the bottom of the deck.

  • If you don't know the answer, look at it, and put the card a few down in the deck (so it'll soon come up again).

  • Keep working through the deck of cards until you know all the answers.