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How I Study by Lucy

I’m Lucy, a final year Politics student at Newcastle University. This short blog post will focus on how current higher education students, including myself, revise for their assessments as well as staying mentally and physically well during stressful periods. There are many things I wish I had known for my GCSE’s and A-Level exams so hopefully this blog will help you!

Managing your workload

Manging your workload properly is important. I always ensure I breakdown larger tasks into smaller more manageable objectives which ensures I dedicate the right amount of time to a piece of work.  It is also important when planning your schedule that you are realistic – there is little point in setting yourself a goal you won’t be able to achieve; you will be left feeling disappointed and that you are running out of time.

Adapting your revision for YOU

There is a wide variety of revision techniques, but they don’t all work for everyone.  Some people will learn by repeating information over and over again with things like flashcards or recording themselves and listening back to it. Whereas some of us are more visual learners – personally I benefit from visual techniques like mind-maps and diagrams as it makes information more memorable. I find it useful to colour-code topics using different coloured card and highlighters. Essentially, it is about finding what works for you and not comparing yourself to others.

GCSE to Higher Education

I have become more efficient in my revision techniques. During my GCSE’s and A-Level exams I would always write lots of notes (far too many!) from a textbook, whereas now I have learnt that more condensed notes which cover basic information are more useful as realistically you cannot memorise an entire textbook.

I have also learnt the importance of applying and practicing your revision within the exam’s style and format. It is useful to look at past-papers planning out answers to previous questions, as well as planning out potential exam questions that could come up in your exam. When memorising these answers try to do this in a condensed format as you are more likely to remember them on the day of the exam!  Also make sure you actually practice writing out your exam answers in exam style conditions, so you get used to the time pressured element of these assessments.

Your wellbeing

Managing your wellbeing during revision and exam periods is just as important as the revision itself.  I always make sure I am getting enough sleep, so I am fully recharged for each day, as well as drinking lots of water and eating properly. Although takeaways may seem appealing – fruit and vegetables will help you to concentrate!

It is also very important to have regular breaks and set time aside to do something other than revision such as seeing your friends and family or watching your favourite show on Netflix! Exercise is a great way to relieve stress, even just going for a short walk can leave you feeling refreshed. This will give you something to look forward to and make sure you properly switch off for the afternoon/evening!

My biggest piece of advice … try to not think about the big end goals of achieving your predicted grades, think about what you will do to get there. Break things down so you can achieve smaller goals along the way. This will help you to stay motivated and remain focused.