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Six steps to successfully win the revision battle

A recurring question students will always have is how can they win the revision battle? With revision timetables being issued shortly for mock exams and mental health once again in the news, it’s important to carefully plan revision timetables in order to minimise stress levels and anxieties surrounding exams.  In this article, Senior Tutor, Caroline Fox looks at the challenges students face plus she gives six steps to successful planning so you reach the exam hall with confidence.

Step 1: Pace yourself

We all put off things we dread even when we know we shouldn’t.  Yet, the sooner you make a start revising the less huge the challenge is.   Exam stress only usually sets in when you haven’t taken the time to get organised.  Quite often you think you have months to prepare for exams, then, before you know it you’ve procrastinated, put off the planning and left yourself no time to practice. The challenge for students is to start early, get planning then you have plenty of time to cover all your topics.    This will minimise the stress and anxiety surrounding exam time.  No ifs or buts. Get started with your planning as soon as you have your exam dates.

The first easy step you can take to helping yourself is by getting a study plan in place as early as you can.  Get a copy from your tutor or the exam board website the topics the exam is likely to cover.  Set out how many weeks you have before the exams then schedule in small chunks of revision each week in one hour slots.   To stop boredom setting in, change the topics each hour.  This keeps your levels of interest high and means you will take more in.  Finally always schedule breaks, preferably away from your study area, as this will recharge your study batteries.

Step 2: Test yourself

Once you’ve revised, make sure you test your new found knowledge by checking what you know against past papers.  Do a past paper for each topic and when you can get online there’s some great websites you can also use to test yourself.  This will also show you where any gaps in your learning are and where you need to concentrate your revision on.

Step 3: Reward yourself

Studying can be boring and let’s face it, at times lonely.  You feel like you have a weight on your shoulders and staying motivated can be hard. But if you take your time and divide your revision in to small chunks over a period of time it makes the task much less daunting.  Motivate yourself by rewarding your hard work.  Take time off, go grab a coffee, have fun – just get the work done first.  It’s so satisfying to take time off knowing that you’re on top of your exam revision.

Step 4:  What works for you?

You need to revise using the method which works best for you. For me, I revise better alone in complete silence, others need a study partner and background music.   Try different methods and then test yourself to see how you learn and retain the knowledge best.  Always remember different methods and styles of revision work for different people, there are no rights or wrongs, it’s all about what works for you.

Step 5:  Free online support tools

Something which proves invaluable is creating your own personalised smart study planner online.  One of the best free resources around is which is an absolute must for my students and anyone looking to plan and revise well.  The best news is that it’s a free website with amazing tools.  Another free resource with forums full of revision and study tips is

Step 6:  You can do this!

It’s an old saying but positive mental attitude, you can do this! One final tip, if you are struggling, speak to your tutor, they’re there to help.  Usually they have helped thousands of students achieve remarkable results, so they are well placed to give you any of the help and advice you’ll need to pass your exams with flying colours. Whatever your style, whatever your goals, you can get there.  You just need to remember these 6 steps to get you successfully win your revision battle.

Caroline Fox won Tutor of the Year 2014 and has been a Senior Tutor for four years.  Caroline has helped over 1,500 students secure qualifications with AAT, ICB and IAB through Open Study College.

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