Revision tips for studying smarter

One of the most noticeable developments in UK education over the past 50 years has been the development of “exam technique” as a discrete element in the teaching and learning process.

This epistemological turn – whatever the structural reasons for its emergence – is one that now arguably places an inordinate amount of teaching time and effort on helping students understand what is being asked in an exam and how to answer it in terms of the various rules and regulations that have been developed to describe “valid expressions of knowledge and understanding”.

Whether you see this as detrimental to “learning”, in terms of, say, subject content, or simply the logical extension of the teaching process to encompass “the educational process itself” in an holistic context it’s clear that the ability to teach and learn the mechanics of exam success is something that everyone involved in education has to recognise.

Love it or loathe it, we all have to live with it (which in itself is a valuable lesson about the relationship between structure and action in an educational context).

There is, as you might expect, a baffling amount of information and advice about both “how to” and “how not to” revise doing the rounds but these “8 tips for studying smarter” offer some simple advice about what might and might not work for you. These include:

• Revise actively. Don’t just passively re-read your notes.
• Use self-questioning.
• Make connections between the stuff you know and the stuff you don’t.
• Use visual representations (such as Revision Maps or Spider Diagrams)
• Avoid cramming. Spaced study is the scientific way to go – and if you want to develop this particular revision strategy with your students (and I strongly suggest it’s something that will pay dividends), there are a couple of posts that will help:

Spaced study

The appliance of science

Families and Households Spaced Study Resource

And if that’s not enough – or you just fancy playing the field – this post on Revision tips and techniques should give you a load more ideas…

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