Revision Techniques

 

5 Memory Techniques to Help you Revise

 

Imagine you could remember every word from your revision.

 

If every fact and figure were to stick, you’d walk into that exam with confidence and

get the grade of your dreams. You’d remember the important names and dates from

history. You’d know the names of important authors. You’d be able to recall a specific

sum.

 

But right now that probably seems impossible, doesn’t it? This is why it is important to

try multiple revision techniques before you find the one that works for you. There is no

such thing as ‘one size fits all’ revision method - whether you’re a kinesthetic learner,

auditory, visual or read-write, there will be a revision and memory method out there to

suit you - you just have to find it.

 

First things first, it is important for you to highlight exactly what you need to revise.

Studying for an exam means learning a million and one facts, but it is important to

make sure you aren’t overdoing it. Download the specification for free from the exam

board for the subjects you are revising for. They will state the topics you need to know

and what you need to know about them. This makes your life a lot simpler as you will

know exactly what you need to learn.

 

Before you start revising, use the traffic light system to “RAG” the specification:

 

● Write G (green) next to the topics you are already familiar with,

 

● “R” (red) next to the ones that you have the most trouble with,

 

● “A” (amber) next to ones in between.

 

Now, revise the Red and Amber topics first! If you can’t find your spec, ask your

teacher and they’ll be happy to help.

 

Once you’ve done this, it is time to find a revision method that suits you. By trying out

these five memory techniques, you’ll be able to find the perfect revision method that

will make everything stick.

 

1. Use Mind Maps

 

Drawing a mind map is a quick and easy way to quickly sum up and link topics, facts

or figures for any subject. They are the mainstay of science and geography teachers,

as they create a visual overview.

 

Here’s how it works:

 

● In the centre of the page, draw a bubble with the topic you are studying, e.g “oil”

for GCSE chemistry.

 

● Draw a line from this bubble to another bubble with the name of a linked topic.

 

● Fill the new bubble with the facts you need to remember. Short bullet points

work best in this instance.

 

● Colour bubbles to group similar ideas.

 

Nearer the exam time you can remake these mind maps with just the information you

keep forgetting to store it in your short term memory.

 

2. Mind Palaces

 

Mind Palaces is a mnemonic that helps a person improve their ability to remember

things. Mind Palaces (or memory journey) was made famous by the author of Sherlock

Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. But it was formerly known as the “method of loci” and

was developed by the ancient Greeks. It’s popular for memory artists at the circus to

remember any facts or figures.

 

Here’s how it works:

 

● Picture a building you know inside and out. You know the placement of the

rooms and cupboards.

 

● Now, you walk through the front door in your imagination and commit an item

you want to remember to each room by forming an image between the item

and any feature of that room.

 

● To remember the “fact”” simply walk through the room. When you get better at

it, start using the cupboard too!

 

If you’re revising in a group, you can make this fun by turning it into a competition with

your friends. Challenge each other to see how many facts you can remember in a

short time.

 

3. Mnemonics

 

Mnemonics are a system that utilises a pattern of letters, ideas, or associations to

assist remembering something. They are a catchy way to remember things you feel

are quite boring.

 

Take your pick from:

 

(source: 1-3 “ https://www.firsttutors.com/uk/blog/2009/08/the-5- best-mnemonics/”)

 

Physics My Very Easy Method Just Speeds Up Naming Planets:

 

Take the first letter of each word, to get the first letter of the planets, in order. Of

course now Pluto is no longer a planet this one is slightly outdated - but hard to beat!

 

Biology - Kids Playing Carelessly On Freeways Get Squashed: Otherwise known as the

scientific classification of the species: Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus,

Species.

 

Geography - Never Eat Shredded Wheat - Simple, but effective, this first letter

mnemonic helps students to remember the cardinal points of the compass, in order.

 

Chemistry – please (K) send (Na) Charlie’s (Ca) monkeys (Mg) and zebras (Zn) in

copper (Cu) cages lined (Pb) with gold (Au) – an easy way to remember the order of

the most reactive metals of the reactivity series (metal symbols show in brackets).

 

4. Card Games

 

Revision and fun are not two words that will go together, but making a game of

studying with friends or family is a good way to make those facts and figures stick.

Here’s how it works:

 

● Make revision cards together (sticky post it notes work well) summarising the

most important features of a topic on each card.

 

● Screw them up, put them in a hat and pull them out at random – make a

question up based on the card you have pulled out and get the other person to

guess what was on the card.

 

● Troublesome cards can be used as “toilet post cards”. Stick them to the wall and

glance at them until they become familiar.

 

PO’s MS and COWs

 

If you don’t know where to start, pull out a past paper or mark scheme (MS) (PP) that

is free to download from all exam boards and try it. Don’t worry about getting a low

score at the start. The more you do, the better you will get.

 

Once you’ve done this, correct your own work (COW) using the examiners mark

scheme in a colour that stands out. Try to make new mistakes each time by creating a

mind map of your previous mistakes.

 

Try something different

 

If you are looking for something else, try down loading the free examiners report

attached to mark schemes on the exam board’s website. These have interesting

comments stating what most students missed out on whilst answering key Questions.

 

Start early and use whatever technique works best for you. Don’t be afraid of being

different. Have fun with it, the more you do the better your grades will be!

 

 

Put together by Dr. David Crouch at Justin Craig Education. - Thank  you

 

 

 

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