Run out of ideas on how to make your revision more fun, as well as getting it all into your brain along the way? Here are a few techniques, some of which you will already have heard about, but some of which will be new to you.
Remember to study for your learning style, so if you try a technique and find it doesn't work for you, then give up on it!
Recording your notes
Most modern phones come with built-in recording functions, and if not, there'll be an app for it! As an auditory learner or a physical learner, you could benefit from recording your notes once you've written them down. The act of recording them will force you to say out loud what you've just learnt in a way that makes sense to you, clarifying the topic. You can also use your recordings to revise from when you are out and about, walking home or at the gym.
Watching videos is a useful way to revise for auditory learners and if the videos offer lots of colours and diagrams visual learners might find them useful as well. They offer a different perspective from what you're taught in class, which may help your understanding of complex topics. There are plenty of videos available online, especially in the sciences, but remember to stick to topics that are in your syllabus and not to be swayed by the rest of the internet!
Word association devices such as mnemonics (an easy way of turning information into an easier to remember format) are great techniques for auditory learners, whilst physical learners might also want to give them a go as the act of creating them may invaluable. They are great for remembering facts and figures, in subjects such as the sciences, the humanities, and social sciences, however, don’t overdo it, as you’ll confuse yourself with which one goes with which.
You might want to try:
In an acronym, you can abbreviate information by creating words where each letter stands for something. For example, a classic science mnemonic is OIL RIG, which describes the difference between Oxidation and Reduction: Oxidation Is Loss, Reduction Is Gain.
They are easy to use for small amounts of information, which you can put on flashcards or post-its and stick around your room. Try and keep to short acronyms as they start getting hard to remember, especially when you use the same letter more than once.
Acrostics are where you take the first letter of each word in a list you need to remember and use it to make a word. When you string these words together in a memorable sentence, for example, to remember the order of the planets you tell yourself: My Very Easy Method Just Speeds Up Naming Planets. Again, you can use these on flashcards or post-it notes and pin them up around the house.
Link-words are especially good for learning vocabulary, where you can take a foreign word and remember it by creating your own image, however inventive, involving the word you need to learn. For example, the Spanish word for cat is GATO, so you might want to think about a cat eating a chocolate GATEAU. However, you can’t do this for all your vocab, just the words you find most difficult to remember, as all the images will get confusing in your head! Link-words might also be helpful to visual learners.
Rhymes and Songs
Rhymes and songs can easily be recollected in an exam, whispered under your breath, and are again useful for learning facts and figures, whilst you can be as imaginative and as playful as you like. Examples include the song I can sing a rainbow which helps you remember the colour and order of the spectrum, and Thirty days hath September, April, June and November etc when remembering the number of days in each month. You can make up your own tunes or set them to music you like.
Unfortunately, discussion groups at high school can be quite distracting, meaning they aren’t a normal part of classroom life. But you can talk to your child about what they’ve learnt today. If you don’t understand it – even better! Teaching is the best way to learn.
As a visual learner, you'll learn a lot through pictures, including graphs, mind maps and timelines, and the more colourful and vivid you make them the better. Drawing is also a better way of explaining constructs, as opposed to facts and figures. As a physical learner, you'll also find the act of creating these will act as a good revision technique, while to test yourself you may like to think about drawing the images and diagrams over and over again. Your drawing may include:
Use flowcharts if the information you have has an order or sequence, for example, the carbon cycle.
Diagrams can be used as pictures that are annotated, for example in showing how the heart works.
For information in a sequence, such as what happened in the lead up to the First World War in History.
For specific people, e.g. characters in a novel in English Literature.
For topics, or understanding how information fits together, a mind map is a single image drawn in the centre of a page, to which associated representations of ideas such as images and words are added, for example, reasons why the First World War started.
Visual Learners love using highlighters and they can make their notes or flashcards bright and colourful while making the important bits stand out. Develop your own highlighting and colour-coordinated system, whether it's certain types of facts in a particular colour or certain topics. This is also true of your flashcards and post-it notes. This colour coordination will help you understand how all the information fits together.
If you are a visual learner, you might want to invest in some textbooks that use a lot of diagrams and colours to work from, helping you aid your recall in an exam.
A flashcard is a card, similar to a playing card, which you can use to write information on both sides. On one side you’d have a question or topic heading, and on the other, you’d have the answer. They are useful for facts and figures and vocabulary, or any materials that can be learned in a question and answer format, and suit all types of learners. For auditory learners, try to read your questions and answers out loud, for visual learners think about colours and the layout of the information on the cards and use lots of diagrams and charts, and for physical learners use your time wisely when creating the flashcards and spend a lot of time playing games after creating your flashcards.
Before you start your flashcards, think about the way in which you are going to present the information. For example, the vocab will involve one word on each side in different languages, whilst in History, you might want to have dates and battles in different colours, or you might want to have one side with the name of the battle and the other with the key points of the battle. In Biology, you might want to have a picture of the human body and all the names of the organs you'll need to know.
You can then use your flashcards to memorise facts by testing yourself. You can use them again and again over a long period of time, and you’ll see the improvements as you remember more information on every viewing, which will be a good feeling and can even give them to your parents to test you. You can also use the cards to test yourself in both ways, for example, languages in putting a word on one side and the translation or explanation on the reverse you can make sure you’ve understood the meaning of a word and remembered the word itself.
For those who like to learn auditorily and physically, study groups can be a great way to revise, while it also means you get a bit of time to be social with others. Remember to work with those that find it useful to revise in the same way, stick to a small group of people (4-6 is ideal), and be disciplined in your time and topics. The ways in which you arrange your study groups may depend on which subject you are studying and you should be prepared in advance. For example, you may want to use flashcards and games to test each other on facts in History or the Sciences or language vocabulary. You may want to come prepared with a topic in the Sciences or Humanities and explain it to the group whilst the other members of the group come prepared with a different topic to explain. Or in English Literature or Language, you may want to all read the same passages and texts at home and then spend your time discussing how you would answer exam questions relating to the passage and text.