Revision. Nobody likes it (if you do, then this post isn’t for you, get out). I am no expert when it comes to revision, but I am most definitely an expert at procrastination. I worked solidly for GCSEs, harder than I ever thought I would be able to work. Unfortunately this relentless work without a break badly affected me and I was quite ill for a while after, having been both physically and visibly affected by extreme stress. I got the exam results I’d been hoping for, but was it worth it?
As a result, I hit ‘burn out’ and seem to have lost any remaining motivation to revise. It’s a shame I feel like this in AS year, as I still have A levels to go after these exams and often find myself wondering how I’ll get through those!
Like I said, I am excellent at procrastination. In fact, I should be learning my Biology rather than writing this post, but my brain feels like a scrambled mess, and this feels like a welcome break. With so many tempting distractions; food, social media, social events, it can be hard to find that much-needed discipline. I’m trying to get better at focusing and be able to revise more effectively, so I thought I would share the things that are helping me throughout the revision period, in case you’re feeling like I am!
1.) Get daylight. A walk in the fresh air helps me hugely and makes me feel re-energised, so I can return to revision feeling more motivated and ready to absorb information. If I could I’d surround myself with nature every day (it’s quite hard in a city). Sitting inside all day could lead to a vitamin D deficiency, which most people seem to have anyway (thanks, British weather) so it’s hugely important to get your daily dose. If it’s warm enough I’ll eat lunch outside to soak up some sunlight. Look after your bones, people!
2.) Exercise. Non-negotiable for me, exercise genuinely helps to keep me sane. It clears my head and gives me more energy, so I can concentrate more when I revise. Timing is important too – if you’re more productive at revising in the morning, schedule your workout for that afternoon or evening so you’ll get more done. If you feel ready to boost your energy first thing, go for it. Whatever works for you, as long as it’s included in your regime.
3.) Food. I don’t need to tell you why having a healthy, balanced diet is important, but look at how closely linked it is to performance. Your brain needs food to function, so if you want to remember those psychology case studies, feed your brain the food it needs. Foods like oily fish, broccoli and nuts will help to keep your brain absorbing (and more importantly remembering) the information it needs. Meet more about food for the brain here.
4.) Distractions. Obvious, I know. I am just as guilty – I can easily get caught up scrolling through my Instagram feed and then half an hour later wondering where the time went. You just have to be hard on yourself. I find it easiest to put the phone in another room, completely out of sight. If it can’t be seen, it won’t be as tempting – same goes for snacks!
5.) Rewards. Set yourself a goal, e.g. OK I’ll do 45 minutes of revision, then reward yourself – maybe with 10 minutes of reading or social media (if you must). I view lunch as a reward, when I’ve completed my morning’s work, a delicious lunch seems like a huge treat!
6.) Breaks – regular ones. I’m not talking about taking a break every 10 minutes, but do include them. Too often I find myself setting too long periods of revision without enough breaks and don’t end up achieving them. Breaks are essential for refreshing your mind. I always make sure to include at least one big break. Go for a walk, meet a friend for lunch, go to the gym, read…Anything that will take your mind off revision.
7.) Sleep. Don’t underestimate sleep! It’s easy to get stuck in a cycle of going to bed far too late, sleeping in and then feeling tired the next day, which definitely reduces my ability to concentrate, work efficiently and find the motivation to revise. It’s also during your sleep that your brain is processing all that information it’s been absorbing, so it really is crucial. Get at least 8 hours a night to feel your best.
You can read more about revision tips here. Hope this helps! I’d love to get more tips, so if you have any you’d like to share please comment below. Thanks for reading!