How to revise for exams

Are you a planner or a crammer? Do you learn better in the morning or the evening? Whatever your personal study habits, make sure you’re prepared. To help you out, we asked Jon May, Professor of Psychology at University of Plymouth, to give us his top five tips for effective exam revision. 

Know thine enemy

Different forms of assessment test different sorts of knowledge, so require different ways of learning. Essays need argument and evidence; short answers require facts; multiple choice tests snippets of knowledge. Get to know them all.

Join the dots

Don’t just read through your notebooks, you should have done that already. Instead, skim through your notes, looking for links between material that you haven’t noticed before.

Errorless learning

Make a list of three-word phrases or jargon that you know will be important, and read it over and over to yourself until the phrases trip off your tongue.

Output, not input

After you’ve skimmed through a topic, close your books and write about it, sketch out a diagram or make notes. Putting information into your memory is only half the task – you have to learn to get it out too.

Don’t count on it

Revision is not the time to learn new material – it’s no substitute for learning the topic as you go along. Use revision to consolidate and refresh what you already know.