So I’m sure I’m not the only one who still finds it bewildering that I can somehow remember the entire 10 seasons script to F.R.I.E.N.D.S, yet can I remember anything to do with Lysosomal Storage Disorders? – Absolutely not!
Yes it’s that time of year again when exams are coming and we’re all dreading the next couple of weeks. Lucky for me, I’m already half way through – creds to early uni exams (compared to GCSE and A-level anyway) and these just so happen to be MY LAST EXAMS EVER! Yes the time has actually come where I can say Good bye and Farewell to that dreaded walk into the exam hall.
But for now I’ve still got a couple of weeks until that moment of joy so I thought I’d pop up a bit of a post on revision techniques, as I’ve gone through a few in my 7 years of exams – yup 7! And so surely there’s some wisdom in there – maybe… maybe not, I don’t blame you for completely ignoring my advice!
1. Mind Maps – now I’m definitely a visual learner mainly so mind maps and posters are my go to. It definitely helps me to understand my thoughts if I have to get them down on paper in my own words.
2. Posters – All the colours! Colours and pictures are just great to stimulate your memory and help things stick in your brain just that little bit more.
3. Revision Cards – Now I find just writing and re-writing my notes a good way of revising but this does tend to to get a bit repetitive and can therefore stop being stimulating. So revision cards are great – some people write on post-it notes and stick them around the house, for others getting other people to test you on your cards are a really good way of learning!
1. Podcasts – I’ve recently got really into podcasts and find them a really good way of revising when I don’t really want to be revising. I’m not quite sure if any of the information actually stays in – but I feel like I’m not wasting time on the hour commute to and from uni/work when I can just chill and listen to a podcast. I’ve downloaded free ones of iTunes that sound like they might be semi-relevant to my module, but other ideas could be if you’ve recorded them yourself or listen to a lecture that’s directly tailored to your exam – unfortunately I discovered this gem a tad too late!
2. Songs – Now I have a pretty brilliant old Maths teacher, to thank for this (as well as my mother and her quirky memory techniques – the sillier/ruder the better she says!). Absolutely brilliant if you’re creative enough to come up with some good ones, songs are brilliant for memory – how do you think we can remember all the lyrics to those 90s tunes we haven’t heard in about a decade? It’s catchy! My all time fave was learning the quadratic equation to the tune of London Bridge Is Falling Down – pointless as it may be for actual adult life, I’ll never forget it – Thanks Mrs Curtis!
1. Teaching others – Probably the best revision/learning technique I can advise for anyone is to teach other people or just converse with other people doing the same course/module (this probably fits into the auditory section too). Firstly, they might have picked up on understandings/ways to remember or just things you completely missed when you were busy trying to stay awake during the lecture! Secondly, just talking through concepts, I find, really helps reinforce it in your memory and sometimes if you’re just chatting with friends it’s so much more fun and personal jokes can sometimes really add an element of memory to really random or confusing topics!
2. Making models
3. Action Association – The stupid-er/ruder the better! I remember being caught running up and down the atrium at uni to help Becky remember Sonic the Hedgehog (FYI it’s the name of a protein involved in early embryonic development – I know, I know Biology’s a joke *rolls eyes*)
Other top tips for learning:
- Mnemonics – These are basically easy to remember words or sentences that each letter/starting letter starts the word of something you need to remember (Ok terrible description but here’s an example):
For us Biologists learning the Classification System in GCSE we used;
King Prawn Curry Or Fat Greasy Sausages:
K – Kingdom
P – Phylum
C – Class
O – Order
F – Family
G – Genus
S – Species
- Making families – An odd one here, but hear me out it really works! This saved me and my good old buddy Becky during our Cell exam last year. With a big topic with lots of things to remember/associate that’s too big for a simple mnemonic, we found that creating a makeshift family and picturing things to do with that topic really good in helping us remember.
- Place association – Similar concept to above, but instead of a family, picture a place you’re familiar with, your house for example and in each room formulate a picture of something related to the information you need to remember.
Now I for one am a combination of all 3 learning styles I think so I like to combine many of the above techniques. I must say personally – teaching others/discussing with a like-minded person doing the same exam is probably the best way – you come up with so many ideas as more than one person and often you might have a right laugh with it, helping you to remember!
Anyone using these techniques already? Have you got any other great techniques that help you? Have you started exams yet?