Friday, 4 May 2018

Inventive revision and study tips

Hi, I’m Aroona, a University of Hertfordshire Humanities graduate who is currently on a short work placement in the University’s Marketing and Communications department. 

Revising for exams can be a hectic time. Trying to cram a lot of information in preparation for your exams is hard enough to think about let alone actually do. Making studying ‘fun’ or ‘interesting’ is not easy but can be done if you apply the right techniques that suit you as part of your revision activities. 

You’re already probably aware how important memory is when it comes to revising. Your brain doesn’t store your memory in a single location but is scattered all over different regions of your brain.

Making your revision more interactive will not only activate different parts of your brain associated with processing information and memory storage but enable you to exercise other skills such as time management, communication and creativity at the same time.
It all comes down to adapting your revision to work for you and your environment. Here are a few suggestions for you to try but feel free to make up your own!

But first and foremost…

It might not be at the top of your list when it comes to studying but taking an occasional break is the most effective way of making best use of your revision sessions.  

Your brain uses up a lot of energy.  If you revise for long periods of time without taking breaks you will find yourself getting tired quicker and concentrating difficult.  Taking a dedicated 15-minute break every 45 minutes of revision will keep you active and sane!

Whatever appeals to you, doing something you enjoy or spending a few minutes doing nothing at all will help you stay refreshed and improve your focus whilst positively impacting your mood and confidence. This can be from anything to taking a walk outside or texting your friends.

So, when you return to your revision, you will be able to tackle your notes with a new perspective enabling you to engage with your work with more momentum and motivation.


Mnemonics are a tool that helps you to remember large amounts of information. This can be an image, a chart, a rhyme, an acronym or a song.

Do you find that you can still remember lyrics of nursery rhymes or images or that looking at a GIF reminds you of a joke or catchphrase? This is because your brain tends to remember information that forms links with other pieces of relevant information - ultimately creating a chain of repetition and expansion.

For example, how they can be used to remember all the colours of the rainbow in the right order: 

Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain

Mnemonics are a flexible way of putting use your creativity and imagination when studying, as you can make up your own personal techniques that adapt to your style and topic.

Revision Pyramid

A revision pyramid is a 3-D pyramid with revision notes, diagrams or charts pasted on each face of the pyramid.

This model is a fun and inventive way of collating your revision on something that can use playfully and refer to for quick and digestible information. It is also an ideal way of making revision interactive and evaluating on what you have learnt or need to learn.

The best thing about using a model such as pyramid is that you can transport it or just keep it on your desk or beside your bedside. If you don’t fancy using a pyramid you can always opt for a cube instead. Here are some pyramid templates foryou to print and build.

Studycard scrabble 

Using studycards is a great way of condensing your revision into your own words. Writing notes in a style familiar to you will make remembering them all the easier than copying and pasting straight from a textbook. This will also test how much you have understood what you have learnt if you exercise writing it down without your textbook in front of you.

The scrabble part is the bit where you can use your studycards to test your knowledge competitively. Why not get your friends to test you on what you have written on your study cards or swap them with your friends to see how much you understand what each other have wrote?  Or if you really want to turn it in a game of scrabble you can always turn your cards in to alphabet squares to test your subject terminology.


Posters can be an eye-catching and informative frame of information, whether that is for summarising or expanding on your revision. You can be as stylistic on paper with notes, images, cycles, symbols and abbreviations, quotations, themes and topics or mind maps and spider diagrams. The choices are endless.

Posters are great to put on your bedroom walls and just looking at them from time to time is a great way of reinforcing key pieces of information. Even more so, posters are great for drawing links from different aspects of your revision topics and creating a general overview of your revision.

Video and audio

Who said watching YouTube videos doesn’t count as revision?  Watching TV or films is a great way of getting a visual and audio perception of what you are learning in a real-life context.  Documentaries, animation and even dramas can help assist you in your revision if they are relevant to what you are studying of course. Also, watching someone else explain something you are struggling with can be huge stress-buster not to mention a tad funny and entertaining.

Or if you prefer to say your notes out aloud, why not record yourself and play it back to yourself-or sing it even if you like.

'Quote’ conversation

A quote conversation is a way of remembering long passages of quotes and phrases or even paraphrases. For some exams you might be required to recall texts word for word but don’t let that put you off. 

The way of making this A LOT easier is to structure you quotes as if it’s a conversation going back and forth between characters. The process behind this is not too far away from remembering a conversation between your friends. This just requires a little more effort and dedication - creating a narrative for you to place your quotes in. 

The most effective way for you apply this in your revision is to imagining writing it like a script - one for each paragraph or page - and you can also use mnemonics to help the quotes stick in your head quicker.

During exams you brain tends to go blank making it difficult to recall large amounts of information. However, giving yourself a structured passage like this will assist you in navigating quotes as you start writing them down, easing you in to a flow rather than a flood of information. 


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