By far the question I get asked the most from students is how much revision to do for their exams. Now CIPS obviously has its guided learning hours, but I’m a firm believer in that there is no one size fits all approach to revision. It depends on the individual, but it also depends on the quality of that revision.
In this blog, I am going to go through a few tips to help achieve quality revision
I have only just started time blocking in the last few months, but I find it helpful. I’m going to imagine you dear reader are a busy person. You have a demanding job and potentially home commitments with children, pets, etc, and busy social lives. You may feel like there are not enough hours in the day. Fitting in a degree can seem very daunting. Time blocking is where you block out your day into time slots. From your morning routine to booking in lunch, to booking in time to revise. These time slots can be 30 mins to 2 hours. You can even book in time just to endlessly scroll social media. The whole purpose of this is to organise your day and you will have a good structure for what you are covering for your revision in each time block set aside. You can relax on Monday knowing that revision is booked in for Thursday. Try it and see what you think!
When you are revising are you doing so in silence? Many students tell me they are listening to music or have their television on in the background. This is not a great idea. Your brain is distracted by this background noise, even if you think it isn’t. I remember revising my CIPS watching the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (yes, I am aware this is showing my age!) and when I had looked down at my notes, I realised I had written the name Angel three times as that is what was on the TV. Instead, I highly recommend listening to brown noise, which studies have shown increases concentration and focus. Whenever I need to focus, I use this, YouTube or Spotify have free brown noise you can listen to. When you try, please get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org) to let me know what you thought.
When having a break from revision there is this desire to treat yourself for your hard work. That treat is usually sugar in the form of chocolate or cake etc. Now I am all for a treat but when you are wanting to do quality revision, eating the chocolate leads to a sugar high and then a crash. During the crash, concentration is lost. So yes, treat yourself after you have finished revising for the day, but during you need to choose concentration food and drink instead. I recommend ceremonial grade matcha tea for helping you get that boost of energy without the crash. Bananas contain potassium which is helpful for memory. Oily fish for lunch can be effective, as can avocados. If you do have a sugar craving, then I would suggest dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa. Be mindful of what you eat while trying to push your brain to remember.
We hope you find this useful, for more tips on writing effective notes see our blog here.