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By 18:30 ,

Exams are soon approaching and so I thought I'd create a post with my revision tips. I finished my A Levels last year (I did ICT, Law and Psychology) and now I'm a first year at university studying Psychology. I'm not an expert by any means but I think it's always worth putting it out there incase anybody else has any different ideas! Sharing is caring... right? 

There's a difference between learning and revising, if you don't understand something then don't try to revise it as you won't be able to explain it in much detail when it comes to the exam. Instead, sit and read around the topic. You'll probably end up having a Eureka moment where you realise how simple it actually is, and then you'll be able to explain it much better. The earlier you start and the more you work, the more it will pay off. You may not feel it when you leave the exam hall, but I always seem to have done better on exams when I have put more effort in.  

This applies to A Level exams mostly I think, although there's sort of a set of things that exam boards can and can't ask you about. If it's not on the syllabus, they can't ask you about it. Take these two sentences:

1) Theories of blahblah, for example 1, 2 & 3 
2) Theories of blahblah, including 1, 2 & 3 

1 is a broad question and you are able to learn any theories that you want, as long as they explain the given theory. On the other hand, 2 is a specific question and they may ask you about theories in general, or they may say specifically 'Outline 1/2/3', so it's important to understand them all and be prepared for a particular question. Please check with your teachers though to make sure that this applies to your particular exam!

The Student Room is a good place to look for predicted answers but like I say, don't rely on them. What I do is make a long list of the predicted topics and revise those first although still cover all of the material in the exam just in case. Remember also that even if lots of people are predicting a topic, it doesn't mean it's more likely to be on the exam - it's just that it hasn't appeared for the longest time. Exam boards know full well that people try to predict the questions (and they usually remind people not to do this in the examiners reports), and you never know when they will try to trick you out.

Nobody knows what an examiner wants to see more than an examiner. You can improve on past students' mistakes and really give them what they want in the exam. I also like to read the examiners reports for the exams that I sat just so that I can get a brief idea of how I performed - if an examiner says 'The higher level candidates were able to...' and you did that, you know to continue doing it in future exams. 

Mnemonics: Useful for remembering lists of words which are related but otherwise difficult to remember. 
For example: ROYGBIV = Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo & Violet. Also I use 'FPOT' to remember the four main lobes in the brain (I also use a weird hand movement as I say it to remember the order that they go in). 

Spider Diagrams: Organising work into sections and using colour is sometimes more effective than writing paragraphs! 

Stories: Useful for remembering unrelated words - put them all into a sentence, as remembering the sentence is probably easier than remembering all of the words. (To be honest I don't personally use this one as I find it a bit of a faff, but it might be useful for someone else!)

I spent a lot of my free periods at sixth form revising with friends and it was a lot more enjoyable than doing it alone. We used to go into an empty classroom (as the library was silent working) and revise using the whiteboard. Then when we'd finished we would all photograph the whiteboard on our phones and use the notes as we wish. It worked a dream as everybody wants to do well (especially once we had conditional offers and we had to get the grades!) but you can have so much more fun in your breaks. Revising in school during free periods is also ideal as you have teachers right on hand to answer questions.

Simple. Or else you will hit a brick wall - I've experienced it too many times. Take breaks between revision, and also give yourself some me time to pamper, watch a film or whatever you wish. I spend mine playing The Sims 4, then forget I'm supposed to be doing revision in the first place. 

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  1. Brilliant tips! I think it's so important to do past papers and other questions. You may think you know something but when it comes to questions, they may take an entirely different approach. Breaks are super important too. I try and take one every 45 minutes of complete focus just to keep my sanity and grab another cup of coffee!

    Rachael at broomfie.blogspot.com

  2. Not relying on predictions is a huge one. So many people make that mistake! X

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  3. That's a great idea! I've tried that before but found that it stopped me getting to sleep as it made me feel awake/alert. :-( I guess it varies between person! xx