Well-being: The Psychology of Revision

Wellbeing: The Psychology of Revision

Ever wondered exactly what is happening to your brain whilst you're trying to remember  all of your revision notes? We spoke to Rachel Dodge, Qualifications Development Manager (and PhD in Psychology – focused on student wellbeing) to find out more about how our memory works and how we can keep a check on our well-being during heavy revision sessions.

"Research shows that repeating and reading something over and over again is not the most effective way of getting your brain to remember the information you need. In order to revise effectively you need to start early and be prepared to commit to it for the long term."

To help you put this advice into action, Rachel gave us her top tips on the best ways to make those connections with your long-term memory, whilst also keeping a healthy state of mind.

Be creative with your notes

It's easy to list things out on endless pages, but a far more effective way of creating your revision notes is to get more creative with them. Use different colours, draw pictures and use a mixture of both print and digital tools. This will stimulate the more visual side of your brain and give your mind (and hand!) a well needed break from endless writing.

Break down the information

When you have a lot of information to remember, it can often feel overwhelming and figuring out where to start can be difficult. One effective way of combating this overwhelming feeling is by breaking all of the content down into smaller  chunks. When you break it down, try and associate notable images, rhymes, or patterns with it which will help to make it more memorable.

Present your work to someone else

Take some time out of writing and creating to meet up with a friend and go over your notes. Take it in turns to ask each other questions on your subject before answering in full using the knowledge you've acquired through your revision. This is a great way of identifying things which you need to put a little more work into learning before exam day. Being able to bounce ideas off another person and communicate any problems you're having are great ways to settle any pre-exam nerves and tune into the "we're in this together" mentality of not having to go through this important period alone.

Test yourself

After you've put all of these techniques to good use, it's time to test yourself and make sure that both your knowledge and timings are up-to-scratch ahead of the exam itself. Take a look at our range of past papers; when you're completing the papers, try and keep to exam conditions (turn off your phone and a set yourself a time in which to complete it in) as this is a great way of getting yourself mentally prepared of what to expect on the day.