Alternate Revision Tips

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“I’ll just write this bit, then I can check Facebook. Oh look a notification. A link to a YouTube video. Seven recommended ones I click on are cool. As are the chat conversations and status threads I join. As are the picture galleries I browse through. What was I supposed to be writing about?”

Is the above you? If so, that means you’re a student. Don’t panic, there’s quite a few of us. Or maybe that is a reason to panic. Either way, if you’re as useless at revision as I am – I am going to assume that you are, in fact, here reading this as a rather ironic form of procrastination – then I am here to help.

There are an abundance of tips floating around the educational forums telling you to read and re-read your notes, repeatedly write them in various manners, construct flash cards and so on. These methods all have their merits, sure, but I have a few gems that the education boards and teachers are unlikely to advise:

1.       1. Play music whilst you revise.

Choose one band or album for each exam and loop it whenever you revise that subject. Your mind will then begin to associate the two meaning that, in your exam, so long as you can remember the songs you chose to loop, the revision pieces you studied will re-appear in your mind’s eye as well. Try not to hum during your exam, though. Oh and don’t use one of your favourite bands either. Certain City and Colour songs now remind me of Plato’s Republic; not fun.

2.       2. Go over your revision notes when drunk.

Now, I’m not talking falling around, room-is-spinning drunk. Just the kind of merry drunk where your mind is oddly clear. There is something about this state of mind which, while it may not understand the words it ingests, remembers them near perfectly. I used this method for remembering quotes and book titles on a few occasions. Warning: if you feel queasy and your notes are hand written and you haven’t made copies, give this one a miss.

3.       3. Trick yourself in to believing it’s imminent.

This one, admittedly, is more a tip for essay writing but it is relevant all the same. Nobody enjoys having to pull an all-nighter in order to hand in an assignment at the crack of dawn. One of the best ways to avoid the scenario is to convince yourself that the exam date or deadline is in fact a few days earlier than it really is. Of course, you will always know that the date you are working toward is not the proper date set, but if you convince yourself you need to be prepared by then, you will be. Your mind has a happy habit of tricking itself when you don’t want it to, force that trait to work for you.

4.       4. Friends and housemates.

In all likelihood, the people living with you at University will have assignments and exams around the same time you do. It is almost inevitable that these people will be as lethargic and distracted as you. Motivate one another. Light a fire under each other’s asses. Turn it in to a competition or reward yourselves. Decide you will only go to the pub if your entire house has finished one module’s worth of revision or some such similar scheme.

If all of these techniques fail you, I apologise. Feel free to go back to the more mundane, university recommended ones. If those, too, fail you, I shall add one more tip, especially for you:

5. Grow up and get it done.

You’re in University now and supposedly an adult. You have work to do, so get cracking. That is all.

Tom Hitchen

I am a Creative Writing and Philosophy graduate having attained Upper Second Class Honours from the University of Hull. I aspire to make a living as a writer and to enjoy myself while doing so.

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