Classic FM’s Revision Hour: 7 tips for last-minute cramming
17 May 2019, 17:03
Last-minute revision doesn’t need to be scary – these seven tips will have you absorbing information right up until exam day.
Every student gets to that point where the exam is approaching, and revision time running out.
The perfect point to panic? No, there are simple things you can do at the last minute to make information stick in your mind and prepare yourself for that imminent exam.
Break down notes into bite-size chunks
Try creating sets of flashcards with a key term on one side and its explanation on the reverse. Creating cards means you have to make decisions about the most important information to include, so you’re learning while you’re making them.
Once finished, you can use the cards to test yourself. Different cramming techniques work for different students. Some prefer to create mind maps, building out layers from a central bubble. These are great if you are a visual learner. And there’s nothing wrong with straightforward revision notes on a trusty sheet of A4 paper.
Go over material again and again until it sticks
You might read it, speak it or write it – just keep going. Have a break and go back to it; look at it again the next day – and the day after. You’ll need to keep checking to stop it slipping out of your head.
Test yourself regularly
The tests don’t need to be complicated. Just cover up part of your notes and see how much you remember or turn over flashcards and try to remember what’s on the back.
Then focus, on what you can’t remember. Keep rereading or rewriting until all the information is stored – at least until the exam’s over!
Practise some questions from recent papers, giving yourself the same amount of time you’ll have in the exam
Memorising material is important but the higher marks are given for linking information together to answer the exact question. You’ll need to apply what you’ve learned to the actual questions you get asked. Once you’ve completed a question you can find the mark scheme on the exam board website and find out how you did.
Make sure your exam technique is spot on
Look at past papers and get acquainted with their layout and instructions so you know exactly what will be put in front of you. Work out the exact timings of your answers: when should you be starting and finishing each question? You really don’t want to run out of time.
The night before the exam, pack your bag and make sure you have all the equipment you need, including some water (which you are allowed to take into the exam)
If you want to do some last-minute cramming do, but don’t feel you have to – it may be better to take some time just to relax. If you are revising, avoid working too late – it will just make you feel more stressed in the morning.
On the morning of the exam, never rush
Get up early, take your time over a healthy breakfast and leave early so you have masses of time to get to the exam.
Once you arrive, take a little time to breathe deeply, calm your nerves and focus on the task ahead. You don’t have to talk to anyone else if you don’t want to. Smile – it will soon be over.