With exam season starting next month revision is already well under way in homes across the country. However, how effective is this revision and is it maximising learning for the student? It’s well known that everyone has a style of learning that works best for them and revision outside the constraints of the classroom gives students the opportunity to explore new methods and find out what gives them the best results.
Today we will cover the main types of study skills and how these can be applied to help get the most out of revision sessions.
1) Note Making / Rote Learning
This is a very traditional way of learning by trying to memorise information. Rote learning typically includes reading over notes or a text book and re-creating notes on that topic. Whilst traditional, for some students this works well often mimicking a style they may have become used to from school. In order to maximise it, make use of different colours to help important information stand out or distinguish between subjects.
Flash cards are a popular way of revising. A5 & A6 cards are available in most good stationers and supermarkets now, and allow bite sized summaries of a topic, dates, keywords, descriptions, etc. to be on the same card. If using flashcards, it’s a good idea to get a filing box for them, and at the end of each session pick cards at random for a quick knowledge test. As it draws closer to the exams, flashcards make good reminders to go back over and self-test, or pass them to a friend or parent for some quick-fire Q&A.
3) Audio Learning
While some students need to write down their knowledge to learn, others need to vocalise it and learn audibly. Using the recording app on a phone or tablet, or even a good old Dictaphone, enables students to read out notes and study material to then play back and listen to again.
Students can start by making detailed recordings and then hone it down to the essentials and shorter summaries as their revision develops and progresses.
4) Tree or Spider Diagrams
For some, diagrammatic revision can help them to navigate their way through subjects and topics. Tree and Spider diagrams are a good way to encompass this. Students start at the modular level, with a diagram to cover all of the topics within a module and then gradually break this down into a diagram for each topic, encompassing all of the information. These diagrams, placed around the house, can act as visual cues when making a cup of tea or brushing their teeth. For visual learners, this can also help when in the exam as they can visual where that topic was in the house and hone-in from there to recall the information.
5) Acronyms & Mnemonic
Mnemonics are a way of organizing information into a way that is easier to quickly recall. Most of us are probably familiar with Never Eat Shredded Wheat to remember the points on a compass, and Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain to memorise the order of colours in a rainbow, from childhood. Whilst acronyms and mnemonics might not be possible to remember all the information required, they certainly add an additional method for memorising information, especially when it comes to needing to know details in a specific order, for example the steps or reactions in a scientific experiment, or key dates in history.
When it comes to which method is best, learning is incredibly individual. Trying different methods and seeing what works most effectively for the student is the best way to maximise revision productivity and achieve exam success.