One shoe never fits all. Actually, the revision technique is a highly individualized process. Everybody revises and rehearses in their academic life, but if you will ask about the ways to revise, different students will tell about the different ways they follow to revise.
The difference in the revision ways comes due to:
1. different understanding level and knowledge of the students.
2. difference in the ability to handle the stress of the exam and revision.
3. difference in the psychological and life setups of the individuals.
4. difference in the preference of the revision technique.
Irrespective of whatever be the reason for the practice of different revision techniques, the students revise the content, especially before the exams. Some students get confused about the ways to be used to revise.
Effective revision strategies
I cannot advise any individual way to follow, but I can delineate some of the fine ways to revise your content.
Set your study Time-table:
Divide your revision task into different stages. Some revision tasks require more time than others due to their level of difficulty or understanding the ability of the student. So while preparing the revision plan, decide the revision sessions time and topic in advance. As you know, there are many ways of deciding the timetable, choose the one that meets your pace and needs best.
Included Memory techniques:
When revising, try to link the whole course content with some images or experiences. This is to say that you should use some mnemonic devices like associations, narratives, places, colors, mind maps, diagrams, etc. This makes the revision interesting and lets you feel that you are not going to forget the revised content for long. This helps build confidence.
Go for distributed practice:
Distributed practice is a technique of learning and revision, whereby a student distributes her/his study efforts over many study sessions of a short duration instead of a single long session. This is a tried and tested technique. Distributed practice promote meaningful learning, while massed practice promotes rote learning. This practice provides long-term benefits.
This is a way of revision that I used when I was a high school student. In this method, after learning and revising a topic, a student tries to explain the whole topic in his/her own words. This helps in the self-evaluation. If you feel that you need an audience for explaining, you are wrong. You have to explain the topic to yourself in writing or in understanding. This helps to discover which aspects you understood well and which aspects you need to work more on.
Group Learning and Revision:
Some people learn more quickly when they are in a study group. For such students, it is best to revise the topic in a group. If you feel uncomfortable when you are face-to-face, you can use an electronic medium for the same.
There are various ways to revise a topic in a group:
(a) Each member of the group gives a short talk about the topic.
(b) Talk about the topic after learning. Talk about what you didn’t understand.
(c ) Swap the mnemonics in the group.
(d) Help others with the topic. Helping others will help in your own revision of the topic.
The above-discussed ways are the best ways to start revision practice. As said above, though the revision work is a highly individualized process, the techniques of revision if used collectively can enhance the individual learning and revision experience to great heights. Try them in your academic life to get the best results.
We have already discussed in detail about what problems one face while revising, and what are the things to be kept in mind while revising. But do you know that there are some rules that govern the revision process? Does this sound awkward? Yes, there are rules.
Though the rules are not statutory but are helpful if you want to revise quickly for remembering most part of it at the much needed time i.e. during exams. There are 10 such rules that I find useful for everyone. Some rules are very obvious, but they need to be taken care of very seriously. Let us start with the direct discussion about these rules.
RULES OF REVISION
1. Something is better than nothing:
Some students do not start to revise out of the fear of not knowing how to learn it all. The amount of content to be revised demotivates them and made them susceptible about how they are going to remember that much.
It seems impossible, so they do not start the revision at all. See, this is a very wrong approach to look at the content that needs to be revised. While making an approach to revise some study material, do not think about how to learn it all, but focus on learning as much as possible.
Start with one thing, to begin with, a topic, a chapter, a paragraph, etc. Once you start the process of revision, I bet, you will feel like reading more. Even if you feel demotivated in the middle, keep telling yourself that every mark counts. Keep talking with yourself and motivate yourself at every new step of revision.
2. Slow but steady always wins the race:
Most of the student have a common habit of procrastination. In the classes, teachers, again and again, emphasize the point that procrastination is not going to help you in the long run or during the exams. But it seems that last hour studies have become the norm of the day.
I have seen students talking amongst themselves that Mr. ‘X' has got good marks, but what a big deal about it? He was busy studying throughout the year. It is Mr. ‘Y' who needs all the praise, he just studied for 3 days before the exams and got good marks.
Isn't it pathetic? One can get good marks by studying at the last moment, but this study is not going to help him/her throughout her life. The probability of forgetting what you have learned once is very high. The purpose of learning is to imbibe the new learning in the life process and not just clearing the exams with good marks.
The best way to revise is to distribute your revision process in various parts of days or months. Leaving the revision process to the night before the exam may ruin your exam.
Remember, all the students are gifted differently. One might revise the whole material in one night owing to some unknown reasons. But do not act like a fool and follow such examples. You might not be able to revise and it will have an effect on your grades throughout your life. Are you ready to take such a risk?
3. Do not fantasize, make a realistic plan:
When students get a sudden motivation from parent, teacher, seminar or anything, they try to make a plan of study. But their motivation sometimes leads them to fantasize more. This is to be avoided at all the cost. A failure of the plan leads to more demotivation than the bad study habits of a student.
Make some realistic plan.
- Devote only some part of the day to studies, instead of a whole day.
- Keep time for entertainment or spending time with the family. This leads to satisfaction, which leads to more motivation.
After making a plan which you yourself feel is not so hard and can be followed easily, stick to it for some time and keep checking your progress every week, month or session. You can even involve your near and dear ones to help you track your progress.
4. Remember, revision is faster if you know more:
See, every learning task is very tedious at the beginning. That's why learning takes much more time than the revision. The best advice to speed up the process of revision during the exams time is to revise the content many times more before the exam time.
The more you know, the faster you learn. You must be knowing this, but out of your laziness, you must be avoiding it. Do not indulge in such behavior. If you want to stand tall, start earlier and learn the same thing many times.
5. Concentration is more important for revision than the amount of time:
No amount of time dedicated for the revision is ever going to produce a result if you do not concentrate on what you are revising during the time allotted. Time is not a substitute for concentration. You have to concentrate anyhow.
If you feel distracted in the middle of the revision, change the topic to break the monotony. Take up another subject for some time and resume back to the same subject after some time. Take frequent small breaks while revising.
6. Testing – a way of effective revision:
How do you know that you have revised the content well? Testing is the only way to establish the fact that you have learned and revised the content well. Do not take reading, mind-mapping, highlighting as the indicators of how well you have revised.
These are just the revision patterns that you have drawn. You have to test it in various ways like solving various MCQ’s, asking questions to yourself, letting others to ask questions from the revised content.
7. Using Active Recall as the major test:
As discussed, it is necessary to test how well you have revised the content. In this chain, add the process of Active recall. Active recall means actively stimulating memory during the process of learning. Active recall helps to enrich the long-term memory. So, how to make an active recall?
Well, this can be explained with an e.g. Reading about some important historical figure is passive learning as it involves only the reading and learning. But while reading about that historical figure, if you recall in your mind that when was this person born? Where was he born? What important achievements does he make? This is called active recall. Make it a habit, while reading something, keep asking a question to yourself related to it. Also, make a note about the language used, shout out the points loud.
8. Take help of experts i.e. Teachers:
No one is perfect, and student life is full of imperfections which pave the way for perfection. Do not hesitate to ask your teachers about the little hints, tips, etc. to make the revision process easier for you. During the course of learning, your teacher must have identified some of your weakest areas where you need to work more. Discuss all of this with your teacher to get greater insights about how to make the revision process work for you.
9. Revise by giving your body what is needed by it:
Sitting on the chair for long times and concentrating all the time might help you to revise and learn the content in all the best possible ways. But what if you fall sick on the day of the exam? What if you faint in the midway of the school? Taking care of your health is as important as revising and learning. Stress is very common during exams time.
To overcome this stress and keep your body in the rhythm you need to exercise, inhale and exhale the fresh air, keep yourself fit. The concentration power of a person increases manifold if his/her body is it. As concentration is of utmost value while revising, keep your body in rhythm by exercising and eating healthy food at the proper interval of times.
10. Do not let stress to take over your mind:
All of the students at one time or the other must have felt their heart racing, their breathing getting out of control, excessive sweating, etc. These are just the common symptoms. Do not let these symptoms to take hold of your mind. There is no point in thinking too much about anything. Doing something about it is a better solution. Keep this in mind. This stress is helpful. This is the way to get your body ready to take the best thing out of your brain.
The rules discussed above are just the general rules that govern the revision process. If all of them are followed by heart and mind, they are sure to help tender students to get over all the harsh situations that may experience while revising.
Different students adopt different approaches for revision, but these rules are the guidelines which make the process of revision a fun-filled and easy exercise, rather than a cumbersome and boring process. Success definitely comes to those who practice and revise more and more. We wish you the best for the exams. If these tips help you anyhow, do share your experience with us.