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About this book

This practical, supportive guide steers students through a 14-day revision programme, showing them how to make the most of the time available to them to maximise results. Based on tried and tested revision techniques, it shows students how to tackle common revision and exam challenges through worked examples and practical exercises. Chapters are packed with top tips on key aspects of exam preparation and contain checklists to keep students on track.

Concise and engaging, this is an essential companion for all students preparing for exams, on degree and pre-degree courses.

Table of Contents

Day 1

Abstract
Look through sample exam papers or online practice tests for your course, so that you know where you are going. You might have been given some examples, or you might find them in the library or on the website for your university or college.Make sure that you are clear about the division of marks between coursework and exams. This may vary from course to course. Although you will want to shine in every exam, you might feel less pressured if you discover that the exam for a particular course only counts for 30% of the mark; if it counts for 100% of the mark for one course, your focus will be far greater on that portion of revision.Divide your material into eight sections, taking into account how much material you need to cover for each of your courses, and how much credit attaches to each. You might bring two small courses together in one section of material, or divide a particularly challenging or important course into two or more sections of material.
Lucinda Becker

Day 2

Abstract
Yesterday you divided your material into eight sections. You will be working on the first of those today. Reduce the material in your first section by working through it, at a reasonably fast pace, and making revision notes, the briefer the better, ready to make some revision cards later.Only look up the minimum amount of information, at points where you now realise, looking back on the material, that you have not understood something. Some of your material can be left behind at this point, as you can safely assume that you will not need to use it in the exams.Imagine a place that you know well – a room, or your whole house, usually works well. Then, as you look at your revision cards, imagine putting each piece of information in a different place in the space. Take your time and really try to see it in your mind’s eye, with the pieces of information exactly where you put them. If you have an essay plan you are trying to recall, you could try placing the information in a journey around the location you have chosen, so that when you try to recall the plan, you can imagine yourself walking around the scene, picking up information in the right order.
Lucinda Becker

Day 3

Abstract
You are now into the swing of revision: sifting through the material you have, pulling out the important information and making revision notes, leaving them overnight and then reducing them onto revision cards. You will carry this process on right up until Day Eleven, and it will be at the core of your revision. Almost without realising it is happening, you will be learning as you go and remembering as you write, so that you can emerge at the end with the information you need to succeed.Some people are naturally very methodical, planning each challenge in detail and working through the tasks in a regular way. By the time they reach an exam, they have spent weeks, maybe months, familiarising themselves with the material. Others take a last-minute approach, cramming for exams in the last few days, or hours, and relying on flair and adrenaline to get them through.
Lucinda Becker

Day 4

Abstract
By now you will be getting into the rhythm of your revising. Each day will include repetitious tasks, but what makes it interesting is that the material is different from day to day. Some days will be quite easy if you already feel comfortable with the material; other days will be more challenging. By overlapping material, as you begin to work it up into plans and structures and, later, into further reduced cards, you will be refreshing your memory and working the material as you press on ahead. On the days when you feel less familiar with the material, you might need to refer to some secondary material to make things clear to you, and this can bring with it benefits and dangers.
Lucinda Becker

Day 5

Abstract
From now on you are going to be working on further reductions. Your revision cards will not stay as they are: you will need to be more active in how you use them. There is no set pattern for this, but each day take the time to test yourself on a batch of your cards (you do not need to divide them into each section’s cards for this; just test yourself on as many as you can in the time you have available). Be confident about what you know: when you have a few spare minutes, pick up some of the cards, check the title of the card, cover it up and try to recite or write down as much as you can remember. Once you have done this three or four times and feel that you know most of what is on some of the cards, you can reduce them still further by rewriting them more compactly and taking out any extraneous material, and use fewer cards for each section of material.
Lucinda Becker

Day 6

Abstract
There are two ways to reduce your pile of revision cards: you could follow the guide on Day Five, so that you end up with far fewer cards, or, if you feel more confident in an area, you could go straight to making a detailed essay plan for that area. At this stage, you could just brainstorm a topic. If you find that you have left very little out, all of the topic cards can be discarded and you can revise from your plan or brainstorm.It is far easier to remember things if you are using your knowledge, and essay plans are a good way to do this. Even if most of your exams are multiple-choice or shortanswer exams, planning can help you to use, and therefore more easily recall, the material you need. You will come to know the best method for you as you practise. Over the next few pages there are examples of how different methods might be used.
Lucinda Becker

Day 7

Abstract
I know it sounds too good to be true, but it is essential that you take some time out to rest. Your brain needs a break and time to assimilate the material that you have been revising. Even if you feel you are behind in your revision tasks, try to force yourself into a day off – you really do need it.For some people this means a day of doing nothing much at all, but for most of us it is better to plan a rest day in advance, so that you make the most of it and reduce your stress levels.
Lucinda Becker

Day 8

Abstract
General essay plans will always be useful, but by now you could also gain from looking at past papers and sample assessments to give yourself some practice with the real thing.In some institutions, those who set the exams are required to produce some general feedback about how students answered a paper; sometimes this feedback is given for each question. If you take a look at previous feedback on the exams you are about to take, you might gain some inside information about how to do well, but be careful. If there is a significant problem with how past students tackled a particular question, and so there is plenty of feedback on it, the examiner may well have decided not to include a question like that in future. It could be that it did not reflect the learning on a course well enough, and so it will not be set again. When you are looking at any feedback of this sort, remember that there is no guarantee that similar questions will be set in the future.
Lucinda Becker

Day 9

Abstract
So far, you have been focusing on gathering and remembering information and putting it to use. Today, take some time to read a few of the assignments you have produced during your course. This is a good way to remind yourself of how you have used information in the past, and could inspire you as you remember all the good work that you have done already. When you find an assignment you did that covers material likely to come up in the exam, try making a spider chart or mind map of it on a revision card, so that you can remember exactly how you did it.
Lucinda Becker

Day 10

Abstract
Sometimes you can complete a mock exam and feel elated: it has all gone perfectly and you are delighted with your answer. Sometimes it can leave you despairing. Neither of these is a true response, as both are created from the pressure you have just put on yourself. That is what mock exams are designed to do: get you used to the pressure so that you are less likely to panic when you are in the exam room. When you come to look back at your mock exam answers, you will find that they are never absolutely right or absolutely wrong; just as in an exam, your performance will differ each time. That is why it is essential to check your mock exam answers as you move forward: to guide you in your revision, but also to remind you how far you have come. Again, keep your know-it gremlin beside you, so that you can be confident about what most of your mock exams will show you: that you have mastered a good part of the material you need.
Lucinda Becker

Day 11

Abstract
This is, deliberately, an easier day than most. You have been working hard, with an increasing number of tasks each day, and you need to take stock. Tidying away your discarded revision cards, filing all of the revision notes you no longer need and throwing away all the rubbish that has accumulated will keep things in control and also clear your head ready for the final push before the exams.Today has been an easier day, giving your brain the chance to relax a little. Like the rest day on Day Seven, your mind will have been assimilating material and sorting it even without you realising it. Going into an exam as a frazzled, exhausted wreck is not going to do you any good: it is better to know a little less and be fresh and ready to use what you do know to maximum effect than to know much more and be too tired to benefit from it.
Lucinda Becker

Day 12

Abstract
Put the pile of revision cards for each section of material on the table in front of you. Put your ‘last minute’ cards for each section to one side – you will only need these just before each exam. Some piles will be larger than others, depending on how much you knew already and how much time you have been able to spend reducing each set of cards, but that is no problem. Take the first pile, glance at the title of each card and try reciting what you think is on that card. You are unlikely ever to be perfect at this, and there is no need to be. If you have found another way to test yourself that suits your learning style better, then you will use that method. If you feel you know nearly all of the material on the card, put it on one pile; if you feel much less confident about the contents of the card, put it on another pile. There will probably be a third pile here, too – the cards that you now think are not really essential because they contain material that you do not realistically expect to use in the exam. These are not wasted cards: by making them you have ensured that you know some of the material, enough to refer to it in passing if you need to.
Lucinda Becker

Day 13

Abstract
It is easy to say ‘Plan to take the night off’ – it is far harder to do this in reality. Remember that by now you will have all the material you are likely to be able to retain already in your head: endlessly going over and over it will make little difference. If you know you might work yourself into a frenzy of nerves to no good purpose the night before an exam, it might be a good idea to plan a relaxed evening out with friends, perhaps with an activity that will distract you nicely.If you know that being completely away from your work will be more stressful than not, then give yourself the easiest possible revision time by just having some of your most important revision cards beside you as you try to relax. That way, you can always reassure yourself of how far you have come, and this will help to keep you calm.
Lucinda Becker

Day 14

Abstract
Think back to the exam strategies outlined in Day One, so that you feel confident about the order in which you will answer the questions, the way you can best answer them and the planning approach that suits you for this type of exam.The following day, however, you might like to reflect upon your strengths and weaknesses whilst they are fresh in your mind. Make a note of what you intend to do differently in future exams. It is surprising how quickly the details of the experience fade from your mind, but notes made now will help you to focus your energy in future exams.
Lucinda Becker
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