HOW EARLY DO I NEED TO START REVISING?

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If you’re reading this, you are probably feeling apprehensive about the upcoming revision that you have to do. Perhaps you’re feeling guilty for not keeping up with the readings you left incomplete? Maybe you’re lamenting where the time has gone as memories from freshers week, and Michaelmas Term blur into a few quick vodka shots courtesy of Sugar.

Now you are starting to panic. Am I right? Probably a little.

Exams feel like ages away, so, we start convincing ourselves that everything will turn out alright. However, simultaneously, you’re wondering where the study timetable you made at the start of the academic year has gone.

Generally speaking, we all have one day off a week to allow for study. However, rarely do we view this day as: ‘oh it’s my day off tomorrow, that means I can get up early do those two readings that need to get done and finish that essay off!’

No. We see the day as: ‘omg can’t wait for a lie in tomorrow, then I’ll binge watch Netflix and go and get some lunch. Hm. if I have time, I’ll get an hour or so in before we start pre-drinks!’ Let’s face it. We are all guilty of this at some point. Then there is that one morning you have a 9 am. You’ve perhaps gone to bed too late the night before, but you’ve made it to the lecture. Afterwards, you get home and think: ‘I’ll just have a thirty-minute nap’, which accidentally turns into two and a half hours.

So seriously, when is the right time to start revising? How early is too early?

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The truth is, you should be revising NOW! There is no such thing as revising too early. According to WhatUni, you should begin revising a minimum of a month before your exams (that’s right, months, not days!)

Starting too late is an easy trap to fall into, and then revision can suddenly seem like an impossible mountain to climb. So, to motivate you and get everyone on back on track for revision, I thought I’d come up with a list of advantages to make it seem at least the slightest bit more appealing.

Benefits of Starting Revision Early:

You Can Plan Ahead!

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The easiest way to do this is by creating a study timetable, separate to your general schedule. You’re more likely to have an increased workload around the time of your exams, so this schedule will help you keep up.

Your study timetable will depend on how many exams you have, how many modules you have, and how quickly you take in information as an individual. That means, if you take longer to process content, then make time for this in your schedule. Planning is key to your revision and will make you feel organised and in control before you even start!

You Can Take Your Time and Identify the Modules you Find Difficult

There is one key advantage of starting to revise early. You can reduce the pressure of the upcoming exam period. You need to make sure that your revision is EFFECTIVE, so, focus on the things you find most challenging. Doing this gives you more time to build on what you don’t know and strengthen your weaknesses.

List all of the modules that you have to revise and rank them numerically according to how hard you find them. Afterwards, this list will indicate how much time you need to spend on each one. Then, you can answer practice question after practice question – the best way to test your knowledge.

You Can Break Your Revision Down!

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It is easy to become significantly overwhelmed by the amount you have to do when you come to plan your revision. However, by starting to revise early, and planning effectively, you will be self-assured that you have more time to divide your revision into smaller, more manageable chunks, in whichever way suits you.

Going back to my main point, perhaps you are nervous about revision, not because you haven’t done enough work over the past five months, but you are a perfectionist, and cannot help but worry.

Learn From Your Mistakes!

When I took my first ever exams (GCSE’s), I did everything my teachers told me. I revised and understood the content, I repeatedly (and obsessively) answered exam question after exam question. So, what was there to worry about? In hindsight, nothing. However, that didn’t stop me.

My teachers told me that I would have got a full grade higher in some of my exams if I hadn’t worried and stressed to the extent I did. I remember, it was the night before my second history exam, and I cried myself to sleep, telling myself I wouldn’t be able to answer any of the questions. Repeating this to myself and entering the exam with this mindset, helped that belief become a reality. I got two grades lower than predicted.

For this reason alone, I want to emphasise that revising well in advance is crucial. Starting revision early will ease the fears, stresses and anxieties that the exam period will inevitably bring. I know that by doing this, it drastically reduced the pressure I put myself under, and when it came to A-Levels, I ended up doing so much better.

If revising is something concerns you, and you’ve still got a couple of months until your exams, why not start revision now? Begin by consolidating lecture notes, revisit PowerPoints and check out readings from relevant modules. To all you worriers out there that are beginning to stress about revision, take a step back; breathe and remind yourself that you’re doing the best you can. (It’s easier said than done, I know.)

Regardless of what type of student you are, starting revision in advance is the best way forward. Make sure that you keep revisiting the things that you have revised first, as you don’t want to forget them!

So, to summarise, START EARLY, plan your revision effectively, stay dedicated; and finally take a deep breath. I’m sure that you’ll ace all of your revision!

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