Like an expedition, revision is something that needs to be approached with a strategy. Charging blindly ahead with all your might won’t do at all, for you’ll be liable to find yourself lost, exhausted, and out of time. A planning session before beginning is recommended – here are some tips:
1. List your subjects in order of competence. At one end of the scale write the subject you are most confident with; at the other the subject you dread, the one struggle the most with! This will give you a quick indication of how much time you will have to spend on each subject. Those that are causing you the most trouble will obviously require the largest amount of your revision time.
2. The next step is to construct a timetable, detailing your study schedule. Within a week, each and every subject should be revised. This is a good rule, and a wise one. It will not do if, after two months of revision, you sit your first exam, only to realise that you revised for it during the first week of your revision schedule only, and have since forgotten much of what you learnt. Each subject can be coloured differently on the timetable, allowing at a glance identification of scheduled studyplans. You will have to decide how much extra time you wish to allot to those subjects you are weakest with.
Most people work best when they have a pre determined unit of studying time. Perhaps an hour will work best for you – maybe even two. This time structuring will help keep you serious and focused, making it less likely that you will be distracted, and make easy excuses to stop working. Regular breaks should be taken, allowing you relax, formulate what you have been reading, and mentally prepare for the next session. A ten or fifteen minute respite every hour and a half would be a typical strategy.
3. The use of past exam papers can help here, providing a simulated experience of the exam you will be sitting. In your room of study, complete a past paper: the cover will state clearly how long you have to sit it. Treat the experience as if you were actually taking the exam in a controlled environment. Once you have finished, try to get a teacher to grade it for you.
4. Encouragement. Create a conducive environment for study in your home. This can mean reducing background noise or allocating physical spaces within the house for study purposes. This would mean comfortable seating positions (not too comfortable!) to promote proper posture with good lighting provided. Emotionally, this can also be done through words of encouragement and distancing yourself away from being critical of your child. Students are often stressed out by exam pressure so don't burden them with more!