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Off you go! Preparing for revision

Remember that it's less stressful to actually do some revision than it is to think about doing it. Whatever effort you put into revision will pay off and it's never too late to start - but do pause and think about your strategy before launching in. A little preparation before you practise will help enormously. Remember to use the revision checklist covered earlier in this section to help you prepare.

Revision stress

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Sunita: Look at this enormous pile of work. How am I supposed to revise it? Where do I start and even more importantly, when should I stop? I can see myself revising right up to the night before the exam and then I'm going to be in a right state, I just know it!

David: The key thing here is not to panic. Know your limits. You mentioned that you'd revise right up to the night before and you know what, that would only serve to get you in a right state. So why do it? Better to give yourself a night off before the exam.

Sunita: I have a friend who always crams right up to the last minute when taking exams. How come he can do that and I can't?

David: Well, as I said, it's all about knowing your limits. Now obviously your friend thrives on pressure and that works for him. Now in your case that sort of schedule will only wind you up and make you more nervous. Let's hear from a couple of students on their differing experiences. First of all, Dr. John Kearsey;

Dr John Kearsey: I am the sort of person who has a sort of cut off point where I will study the day before and then I shall reach a point when I say right that's it. If I don't know it now then it's too bad. And then try to have a calm evening the night before. Try to get a good night's sleep because if you're not fully in command of your senses you are not going to be much good.

Louise: I revise the night before a morning exam. I wouldn't be able to not do that. I'd feel like there might be this one little thing, one article or something I might read that would come in and I'd be kicking myself if I thought to read it and then didn't. Though I know some people say you shouldn't revise the night before an exam because if you don't know it by now you never will. So I think it is up to individuals, it's what works for you.

Valerie: I learned the very very valuable lesson of not revising right up to the last minute. I would say one of the best tips I could give anybody else would be don't do anything else the day before. Just go and do something totally different. Just give your brain a chance to relax and recover and heal itself so that you can go in feeling fresh and being able to analyse things properly on that day. A day's rest is certainly vital.

Sunita: I think I'm kidding myself if I think one extra day is really going to help. I should give myself a night off. Still, it's a lot of work to do in the meantime though.

David: Well there's plenty of advice on the Open University's website to help you plan your revision schedule. If you go over past papers and all the notes and the handouts you've collected it's usually quite easy to spot the big ideas and these can then form the basis of your revision. And you can also use the Open University's online discussion forums to share your experiences with others like you. Here are some more thoughts on preparing for revision;

Valerie: I have always found with examinations it goes better the better prepared you are for them.

Louise: You can definitely think too hard and look for kind of perfection in your revision. I think that's impossible really. But what you can do is make yourself a revision plan and stick to it as best you can.

Henry: I took a few more sort of risks with my preparation in that I looked at the exam papers in quite a lot of detail and quite early on and tried to analyse the exam papers as much as possible and then really try and concentrate on revising for the exam in particular. So rather than revising everything that's covered, really concentrate on techniques and the sort of problems that seemed likely to occur in the exam.

Last updated 5 months ago