Saturday, May 16, 2015

Recently, with exam season upon us, my previous post with tips and tricks on how to get the best out of your revision has been seeing a little love- which is great! It's great knowing that your silly little tricks can help others in such a stressful time but, as the post was written as I was taking my GCSE's, I feel my techniques have become more refined and purposeful. With all that said, I thought it would be a good idea to do an updated 'revision tips' post. Though some things have stayed the same, there are a few new ideas thrown in here too to spice things up and, as a little disclaimer, all of these tips work for me but it entirely depends on what sort of learner/ organiser/ reviser you are- so take what you wish from this!


Unlike before, where I would have all my resources thrown in front of me which just heightened panic, I've found that I now need a quiet, clean space to work in in order to get the best results/ most done as possible. With exams getting harder, or even just life getting busier which affects you getting your work done, I need to have a de-cluttered area with a few familiar bits and bobs to take the edge off. 
At my desk I have...
  • A glass of water (or a cup of herbal tea) 
  • A pen pot of bright coloured pens and pencils
  • A stack of notecards for when I'm writing letters to people
  • A candle to light when I'm working in the evenings and trying to de-stress
  • A room spray to spritz every so often, keeping me alert and in the right mindset
  • My laptop
I've found working in bed just results in me mysteriously finding myself on youtube and relaxing under the covers- exactly what I don't want to happen! Personally, I find it best working at a designated work space, like the library or a desk, where I can get as much done as possible.

To make the area more homely and comfortable I usually throw a blanket over my chair or lean on a pillow- This disney pillow pet is perfect for exam period! 

Revising in natural light is ideal so I recommend working as close to a window as possible. Luckily, my desk is right next to my window so I can get fresh air direct to my seat which I find helps keeps me awake (especially if my revision gets really boring) !!


Having a planner is great all year round to write down homework and deadlines, as well as juggling appointments and (when you get to A levels) University open days. But when it gets to study leave, if you are lucky enough to get it, it's great to divide up your time and prioritise exams. Additionally, copying out your exam timetable to make it less offending and daunting in appearance really helps me feel on top of everything. Knowing exactly when my exams are, having them written in my planner, pinned to my radiator and marked onto my calendar allows me to memorise exactly how long I've got so I feel ahead of time and more prepared!

Planner from Sainsbury's

This pinboard is great to have in the corner of my room, facing my bed, so I can mentally prepare for the next exam. Quick facts, printed onto bright card, post-it notes and note cards, are great to constantly remind myself of what I need to know in the lead up to the exam.

Pinboard from Sainsbury's 


Websites, such as GETREVISING, are so helpful in creating online resources, which are extremely aesthetically pleasing may I just add, to share with people doing the same exam as you are! Teachers can recommend certain resources and you can rate each other's mind maps, notecards etc. It's great to use towards the end of your revision when you're collecting your thoughts together! It also makes a nice change from handwriting all your notes out as it is less time consuming yet equally neat in appearance.


Flashcards are ideal and timeless in organising all your information into bite-size pieces! I have one per unit per subject and find them so helpful to flick through the morning of your exam just to remind yourself of exactly what you need.

Notecards from Sainsbury's 

When going over your textbook, I recommend sticking post-it notes over each paragraph to summarise. This saves money on buying textbooks and highlighting them and also helps the information sink it as you are having to rewrite chunks. It's a good exercise to do when you have 5 minutes to spare or before bed as it works best in moderation!

Using bright colours to make posters to hang up in your room or simple, neon mind-maps is great to use as a break from hardcore revision. Sometimes it's nice to make your knowledge look pretty so, when you are falling asleep, it's great to do as something more chilled out.

I highly recommend getting an 'exam' folder to do all your revision in and put it in one place- saving you the panic of taking the right folder the morning of the exam and flicking through a year's worth of notes. 

Folder also from Sainsbury's

When condensing your notes, using the assessment objectives as guidelines is really helpful for that last minute panic. I've found it helpful to have all of my objectives in one place so on the morning of my exam I can quickly freshen up my knowledge. An organised folder/set of notes is a somewhat organised mind.


I know most people find it distracting to have music playing but, personally, I find the whole revision process less boring with a playlist. My playlist usually consists of relaxing, lighthearted songs which I play through a speaker instead of headphones. This is helpful as I can have it quiet in the background, so as to not distract me, but I know it's there.


Note taking is boring with just a notepad and a black ink pen. I usually have at hand:

  • A green ballpoint pen: To self-mark essays with what I have done well and where I have met the assessment criteria
  • A red ballpoint pen: To make corrections and improvements
  • Fineliners: To make my notes look so much nicer. When marking my work I can make comments in a matching pen to my highlighter, making feedback detectable. I can also dissect sources and novels with colours. e.g.) red for authorial purpose, green for context etc....
  • Highlighters: to highlight important information 
  • Sharpies (these are pastel): for mind-maps and making posters of information

As soon as I get home I throw on PJ bottoms to revise in- you might as well be as comfortable as possible. These are from T K Maxx and yes I am aware they are Christmas print!

As well as a room spray to keep my working area smelling fresh and light, I use aromatherapy oils to keep me as relaxed as possible during exams. This lavender roll-on is perfect to apply before you go into your exam and these Kalms tablets are a bit of a placebo but I always turn to them before an exam. 

Hope these were helpful & Good luck,
Abbi x

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