How To: Revise


Hello Internet!

It's that time of year which every teenager dreads: exam time. Actually, I'm pretty sure that most of the exams are over now but, anyway, I'm sure that there'll still be some people who haven't done theirs.

There are many different ways that people respond to exams. Some people regard them as irrelevant and "accidentally" forget to revise; some people do small bits of revision but never really make effort to absorb the information; whilst others hear the word "exam" and go into automatic revision mode. I hate to say that I'm one of those people. I don't like it, but I am.

Over the last few weeks I've been studying almost constantly, trying to find the right revision techniques for me. It took a long time but, eventually, I've discovered a few key points about the best ways to revise.


The time it takes to prepare and revise for a test depends purely on its scale and importance. Of course, every exam's important but a two-page end-of-unit paper isn't going to take as much time to revise for as your GCSEs (or whatever they're called in other countries). However, no matter how big your exam is, if you want to do it right, it still needs time and preparation.
For example, this week I've had two maths papers which determine which class I'm in next year. I started revising for these 1 week beforehand. Ideally, I wanted to revise a lot longer than that, but I had other exams which I also needed to work for.

Preparation isn't just the time you set aside to study, but it's also the resources you gather for it. I've found that it's a good idea to gather everything you need (worksheets, textbooks, stationary etc.) about a day before you begin so that you're ready to start when you need to. This way, you are more organised and can just get on with the work easily, without having to mess around for ages.

Gather Your Supplies

Before you start your revision, you need to gather everything that you need.

Here are a few things which might help you:

- Textbooks
- Coloured Pens/ Markers
- Highlighters
- Sticky-Notes
- Paper/Card (if you're planning on making flashcards).
- Practice Exam Papers
- Notebooks
- Computer
- Notes

Revision Techniques

There are many different techniques which we can use to revise. Some people prefer to stick to some techniques and use them constantly, whilst others prefer to vary their revision. Personally, I like to use a variety as I feel like it gets too boring if I constantly do the same thing - that's just me, though.
Here are some of my personal favourites;


At the moment, this technique is probably progressing my revision skills the most. All you have to do is to make a poster (as small or big as you want) on the topic you're being tested on. You can give the poster whichever layout you want, whether it be a mind-map or just divided pieces of information. (There are also websites which you can use to make mind-maps on your computer/laptop, if you want yours to look neat and professional. If you search "mind-map maker", many results will appear and you can find the best website for you. Personally, though, I prefer to hand-make mine as I absorb more information as I write it down.)

Once completed, you can use your sheet in various ways. You could pin it to your bedroom wall so that you can keep looking up and referring to it, or you can just carry it around with you so that, if you get a free minute, you can take it out and refresh yourself on the topic. What I like to do is to put the poster on my wall until the day of the exam, when I then take it down and take it to school with me so that I can revise at break.

After you've had the exam, do not throw the poster away. That's just a waste. Put it away (preferably in an organised folder) so that you can find it again for your next test. You never know, it could have something on which you need in the future.


This is a technique which only works for people who are organised and think about their exams a long time before they actually happen. The best way to do this is to take brief notes throughout lessons and then put them into a folder so that you can read them when you're about to have a test. This way, you won't have as much to do as you've already written everything down.
Of course, if you haven't been taking enough notes, you can grab a textbook and jot some down.

I've found this to be a good way of studying however, whenever I've used it, I've realised that I need to use other forms of revision alongside it. 

Text-Books & Work-Books

There are so many different textbooks which can help you with exams. I order to benefit as much as possible from revision guides, you must find the one which is more suitable for you, in particular.

A really good one is the Letts GCSE Revision Success range. Letts have both text-books and work-books which have helped me in some of my previous exams. They have books for ages varying from 5 to 16+, meaning that it can help anyone.

Another range that I recommend is the "Succeed In...(Maths/English/Science)". These are text-books but they have a few questions on each page so that you can test your knowledge. Again, I've found these very useful with my revision. I haven't got a link as they don't have their own website, but if you search for them on amazon, they'll be easy to find.

I like using books because I know that I can trust the information they give me and, also, they're easy to carry to school so that I can have a flick through whenever I get the chance.


Now, being honest, I don't particularly like flashcards. I just don't find myself absorbing any information when I'm using them. However, I do know a lot of people who rely on flashcards and get good grades. Even though I don't really like them, I appreciate that - for some people - they're helpful.

All you have to do is get some card and cut it up into even squares/rectangles. On one side of the card, you can write the question and on the reverse, you can write the answer. This way, you can test yourself easily wherever you are.

Revision Groups

Again, this revision technique isn't one of my favourites but, nevertheless, I know that it works for many people. As weird as it sounds, I prefer to work alone rather than in large groups because I'm less likely to get distracted. This is definitely something that I need to work on as I'm not likely to get anywhere in life if I can't work in a group. Anyway...

When you have an exam, there are also a ton of other people who do too. So, why not get together with some friends and share your knowledge between you (unless you're like me and you're just not a people-person)? If you're with other people, you might find that you enjoy the work more and could even become encouraged to do it more regularly than otherwise.

Flooding Your Home With Sticky-Notes

This technique is something that can be done easily but, ideally, it shouldn't be your main way of revising (meaning that another technique should be done alongside it).

All you have to do is grab a block of sticky-pads and write short, brief notes regarding the subject that you're revising. For example, you could write things like equations and definitions. Then, just stick them around your home, in places where you look quite regularly (such as the staircase, fridge etc.). A good place where I put some of my notes is on my mirror so I could see them easily when I was doing my hair and makeup each morning.

Also, this is a great way to annoy your family members by covering the walls with multi-coloured stick-pads!

Practice Exam Papers

This is a great way to get used to doing exams as it will show you the kind of questions that you should expect.
There are many different website which will provide you with printable exam papers with the mark-schemes so that you can use this technique. Click here to go to one of these websites.

Whilst this isn't very fun, it will give you practice in reading the question properly and avoiding silly mistakes.

Apps and Websites

So often, adults complain that young people spend too much time on the internet. Only, what they don't realise that the internet can be used for a lot more good than bad. Online revision resources, for example, can be very useful.

There are many apps and sites which can help to boost your studying, whether it tests your knowledge or provides you with the information you need.

BBC Bitesize has information for every subject. Basically, it's an online textbook. There are also mini tests and activities to test what you've learnt. There's also a Bitesize app which, as far as I'm aware, can be found on the Google Playstore and the Apple Playstore.

GetRevising is another website where you can search for any topic which you want revise as well as complete practice exam papers and practice questions.

S-Cool is similar to the other sites, allowing you to search for your topic, read articles and attempt practice questions. There is also an app for Apple devices.

There are so many other websites which do similar things to the three that I have listed. Just have a browse around until you discover the one for you.

-My Study Life is an app (available on Android, Amazon, Apple and Windows devices) which helps organise your homework and revision, providing you with a timetable. I've found it very helpful in laying out my tasks and deadlines.

-Quizlet is an app (available on Android, Amazon and Amazon devices) which allows you to create flashcards and gives you several options on how to use them. You can read through your cards at your own pace, you can learn the answers by being tested on them, or you can match up the questions and answers.

These are the only good apps that I've been able to find. I'm aware that there's many more recourses available on the Apple store but, unfortunately, I don't have access to that.

Time Management and Breaks

Whilst revision is important, it is also important to sometimes not revise. Yes, I know that makes very little sense. But what I mean is that, if you do too much revision, your brain will just over-load with information and reject anything else.

Here's an easy way of explaining it:
Your brain is like a suitcase: it takes serious skills to fit everything you need into it. If you're rushing to pack, throwing anything and everything you see around you into the suitcase in no particular order, then you'll be lucky if you can fit enough items in to last you an hour. Whereas, if you take your time and put your possessions in the case neatly, you can fit more inside. The same applies to your knowledge capacity. If you panic and try to cram as much in as possible, then the information just becomes too unorganised to find. You need to think about how you're going to organise your learning.

Therefore, if you have a lot to revise for, you should make a timetable telling you when to revise what.

Also, you need to take breaks. There's no point in revising for six hours non-stop because, after a short amount of time, the information will just stop sinking in. This is somebody speaking from experience.

I've found that the best routine is to revise for 20-30 minutes and then take a 10 minute break. Then, revise for another 20-30 minutes and take another 10 minute break...and so on.

So that's it, my top tips on how to revise.
I appreciate that revision is far from fun but I hope that this post has at least given you some ideas to make it a little more bearable.

Good luck to anybody who hasn't done their exams yet.

Thank you for reading,
Elsie A xx

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  1. These are great tips!! Back when I was going my GCSEs, I used BBC bitesize, past exam papers and CGP revision guides. I don't find I was revise in a group very productive. I think using sticky notes would've worked really well, if I'd ever remembered to use them!

    Anyway. Good luck for your exams. =]

    1. Thank you! That's very similar to me. The ones I use the most are probably BBC Bitesize, Past Exam Papers and Posters - I think I said that in the post - and I, too, don't really like revision groups.
      I'm glad you like the post,
      Thanks again!
      -Elsie A x


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