Five Tips For A More Productive Revision Session

Thursday, 7 May 2015

As I mentioned in this post, for me May marks the beginning of an intense revision sessions before exams roll around with the month of June, and I'm doing my my best to keep my revision at optimum levels. Some days are better than others, but what's important is to not stress and beat myself up about all the things I didn't do or could have done and didn't do, but rather stay focused and determined to get to the end of this exam period having done the best that I can. 

Today I thought I'd share with you five ways I've found to have a more productive revision session. 

I. Break your time up into chunks || I've noticed that I work much better when I break down a three hour revision session into smaller chunks of anything from 30-50mins, rather than attempting to sit down in front of my books for three hours straight. Chances are my mind is going to start wandering after an hour, and instead of taking in new information, I'll be desperately hoping for the time to be over. Keep your breaks to 5-10mins between each study chunks (but no more or you risk never coming back!), and get up to to stretch your legs, maybe dance to your favourite song to get your mood back up, or reach for a nice cup of green tea to help with an energy slump. To help set your times, I recommend using the 30/30 App, which has to be one of the best productivity apps I've used to date. 

II. Start your revision in the morning || You may not be a morning person but for the sake of your revision, you are now! When you get your revision over and done with earlier in the day, it leaves you with the late afternoon and the evening to chill out rather than having to push yourself to revise when you've more than likely already used up all your reserves of motivation. Plus chances are your exams won't be at one in the morning, so being a night owl doesn't actually do you any favours! Which brings me to my next tip:

III. Make sure you get enough sleep || This is a no-brainer, so obviously it's one of the hardest things to do. I often catch myself procrastinating on going to sleep, finding a whole host of different things I just have to do before I go to bed, only to wake up the next morning still tired, groggy and in absolutely no mood to get stuck into my textbooks. If you can't get the sleep during the night, then don't be afraid to take small naps during the day and incorporate them into your revision schedule so that you're actually alert enough to take in what you're studying. If you're sat in front of your textbook falling asleep, taking a small nap is much more productive than telling yourself you've studied just because you stared at the text for the amount of time you'd set yourself.

IV. Learn the structure of your course || I have this one lecturer who since I first had him in first year when pressed for advice on how to pass his exams, had only this to give by way of advice: "Learn the table of contents". Naturally, I thought he was a little...eccentric until recently it finally clicked in my mind as to what he meant by that. When you know the structure of your course, it allows you to place information within that structure. This makes it just that bit easier to recall the information, especially when you're in the exam, sat in front of your exam paper and your mind is going blank on you. Even if you aren't able to recall the little details, you'll at least have the general framework, and usually, the more you relax, the more information your brain will give you as it remembers the connections you made between the details and the overall structure.

V. Don't give up on your hobbies || This might sound like strange revision advice but experience has taught me that nothing causes revision burnout faster than having nothing to look forward during each day other than...more revision. If, however, you schedule a coupe of hours where you take the time to do something that you enjoy or renews you, revision will feel more like something that you just happen to have to do in preparation for your exams as opposed to something that is slowly but surely taking over your life and sucking the joy and energy out of you. Remember, revision is important, but revision isn't life, and doing your best isn't about pushing yourself until you're miserable.

What are your tips for a more productive revision session?


  1. I find that the last tip is really useful. When I was at uni I made sure I had time to catch up on my fav tv shows and still get good grades.

    Nice post, and whoever is still in school, good luck with your studies :)

    Pam Scalfi♥

    1. Thanks! The last tip took me the longest to learn unfortunately but I'm glad I did :) x