Key Steps to Starting Revision

Timothy Hoffmann

A few key steps to get you started and ready for your exams! 

How can you get over this first hurdle and enter the world of productivity?

Sometimes you know you need to start revising. You know there are tons of stuff you can be doing right now, spending this moment sitting in your room doing nothing to instead be productive and learning one more thing that might come up in the exam. But you just can’t seem to start. What to do then?

First of all, sit down. Not back down on your sofa or your bed, but instead in a revision space. Find a place where there aren’t any distractions. Your brain should be able to associate this place with working, not for relaxing and sleeping. Try to keep your phone away and minimise this space to just what you need for revision. It’s okay if you need a laptop, but try to close all tabs that are irrelevant or distracting, and keep them closed until you’ve done enough revision.

Do you also need to get rid of music? It can be distracting when you need to memorise a lot of information and focus 100%. Your brain might find it difficult to pay full attention to the words in front of you, especially if the music has some words in it as well. But when you’re just in the process of trying to start revision and keep going at it, a bit of music won’t hurt. It might make the process enjoyable and endurable instead. Use it to enjoy the atmosphere and space, while also making sure you still focus on what needs to be focused on.

Start with very small revision sessions, lasting no longer than 5 or 10 minutes. It’s best to do it when you feel the want to be productive, but remember you don’t have all of your life to wait for that moment if it doesn’t come. Give yourself 5 minutes to sit down and do a quick pop quiz or look over your notes. Slowly increase this revision time to 15 minutes than 30, then an hour, so it’s not as difficult anymore to sit down and work for a bit.

If it’s the next day and you find yourself just waiting for that want to be productive again, don’t bother waiting for it for much longer. Schedule revision on your phone and set alarms to remind yourself you need to revise today.

It’s okay to take breaks – but make sure you deserve them. Make breaks be something rewarding, and treat yourself with a snack or a movie once you’ve done enough revision. A good way to take breaks in between studying is using the Pomodoro method – revise for 25 minutes, then take a 5-minute break. Keep going for 3 or 4 more times and give yourself a full half-hour break. Don’t be lenient with time limits; make sure you put your pen down after 25 minutes and make the most use out of the 5-minute break. Talk to your friends for a bit, stretch – your body is probably tired of sitting down. But make sure you also use the most out of the 25 minutes to give revision your full attention as well.