Sunday, 17 April 2011


No one particular enjoys revision, especially when it is sunny outside, you are on half term and it is so easy to think of more enjoyable ways to spend your time but, as I am sure you have all been relentlessly told by your teachers, our exams are rapidly approaching and so this half term simply has to be spent revising. One of the primary reasons I first agreed to write this blog was that I thought it would not only help me but also others and so when I asked Millie last week what she thought I could write about that would help others, the first thing she suggested was to write about how I revise. So, that is excatly what I am going to do.

Everyone learns in different ways and so everyone revises in different ways and it is often hard to find the way that suits you best. If I am being honest I am not 100% certain that I have found out how I learn best yet and so I frequently question whether or not my revision technique is as efficient as it could be but I didn't do too badly in my January exams and so I must have done something right!

The first thing I do is to plan my revision. I like to be organised and so I have a revision timetable on my bedroom wall on which I split each day into three slots for three different subjects. I also try to keep my revision as sturctured as possible and so not only do I plan ahead what I am going to revise by splitting up the modules but also, before I start, I like to set out what I want to achieve by the end of that session. This helps me to stay focused and to be able to sit back at the end of the day and feel quite happy that I have actually achieved something. I am very easily distracted and it takes me a while to concentrate and so, this half term, I have shut myself in our dining room and spread all of my revision materials over the table. My family are forbidden to enter (especially my brother who I think was just born to annoy me!) and I make sure that I have practically all the technology in that room turned off so that there is nothing for me to possibly get distracted from (unfortunately I always seem to find something).

As I go through an, almost, step by step guide of how I revise, I am going to use rivers as an example as it makes it easier for me to explain what I do.

1) I start off my reading through my notes and then I try to condense then into bullet points to put on to revision cards, like these ones, which are the ones I made for the rivers module.I find that these help me to go back over what we have learnt and remember it as, writing it down seems to make it stick in my head, and they are also really handy to read through on the bus as it means that you arent sat there with a big file and they focus directly on the key points. I like to try and write a question on the bottom of some of then so that they make me think how I would write an answer to that question in an exam.

2) I suppose the next thing I do is just slightly bigger versions of the revision cards but they are slightly more focused on the crucial points that construct the foundations of that module. I try to involve as many pictures and diagrams as possible so that I am introducing a more visual way of revising.
I don't know if you will be able to read this very well but this is an example of what I do. This page is all about meanders and I have tried to strip down my notes to the bare minimum and so I have briefly mentioned the helicoidal flow, location of the thalweg, pools and riffles, erosion and deposition, meander migration and bluffs and oxbow lakes and points bars. I then spend about 5 minutes trying to memorize what I have written/drawn on the page until I can reproduce it.

3) This third techinique works best with the graphs involved in the rivers module and the really visual elements of the other modules like the DTM, for example. I basically draw big versions of them on pieces of paper which I then stick on my bedroom walls. My bedroom walls are plastered with revision posters and, bearing in mind I do 5 subjects, I don't think I have seen my walls since the beginning of Decemeber!

Family members are always questionning how I manage to sleep and relax in my room with maths formulaes, geography graphs and landforms and chemical equations on my walls but I actually find it really helps to remember what the graphs etc look like and because of it, I find it so much easier to re-draw them.

What I do next is going to sound really, really wierd and I promise you I am not going mad - although it does drive my family crazy - but it is, perhaps, one of the most benefical things I do as part of my revision process ................ I talk to myself! Basically what I do is, I will be sat in my room looking at my rather unsual but highly educational wall paper and I will talk myself through what they show. So, for example, if you take the Flood Recurrence Interval Graph, I would sit in my room and say out aloud how the graph works, including the Weibull equation, what it shows and how it is used etc. I suppose I kind of try to imagine what my teacher would be saying if they I were sat in a lesson on it. I don't even know what provoked me to start doing this but, much to my families annoyance, it really, really works. I find it such a great way to test how much I have taken in and also to see how many of the key terms, that I have revisied via the first two methods, I can feed into my vocabulary.

4) Lastly, to finish off a revision session, I like to test what I have learnt and so I try and do a few exam questions, Not only does this allow me to practice my exam technique, which is something that I am still trying to master, but it enables me to find out if I need to go back over something when I start another time or if I can move on to the next topic.

So, that is my guide to how I revise and I realise it is not very exciting but, perhaps due to the fact that it is very thorough and repeative, it seems to ensure I know most of the stuff I need to know. I have a few last things to say, in refernence to revision, before I go back and do some more of my own!
- Learn from your experience in January. Spend a bit of time thinking about the revision technique you implemented leading up to those exams and if it was successful or not. I have done this and it has enabled me to realise that I need to incorporate more exam practice into my revision plan as it doesn't matter how well I know the content, if I don't answer the questions in the right way I am not going to score very highly.
- Exploit the resources that the teachers make avaliable for us. Believe it or not, I think that Millie and the other teachers probably have better things to do with their time than put on workshops, both after and during college, and develop the online resources like the FB page, Moodle and Millie's blog - if they are avaliable to us then we might as well use them!
- Find time to relax. There is no point in working yourself so hard that when it comes to going back to college you are so tired that you aren't going to learn anything or perform to the best of you ability in the exams. I actually think this is harder than it sounds when you get into revision as I know that when I get into the revision frame of mind, I find it increasingly hard to stop and put my books aways.
- Try and have a bit of fun with your revision. At first glance this may sound impossible but the Coastal Environments module is a great excuse to visit the beach. I have already persuaded my mum to take me to the beach one evening this week as, as well as it letting me get out a bit, it will enable me to consolidate my learning on SMP's, coastal landforms and coastal management. If anyone has an ideas on how to vary revision or some more interesting, and unusual, techniques I would be interested to hear them! Also, try and think about how if you work hard now, hopefully, it will pay off in the summer when you get your results!

In terms of my posts over the next few weeks, I am planning to go over the case studies as they are definetly something I need to go over and I am sure it will be the same for most of you. However, if there is anything anyone would like me to write about, just leave a comment below and I will try my best to write something useful.

I hope you all have a nice half term and, in between revision, do manage to have a good rest!


  1. What a fantastic post, you revise pretty much exactly as I do! I hope everyone reads this and takes on board how organised you should be. I'm going to post this to the FB page, keep it up! (ps, we may have better things to do sometimes, but right now getting students revising is the number 1 priority, though thanks for thinking of our free time!)

  2. It is nice to now that I am not the only person who talks to themself!!!

  3. I don't know if this site is still maintained but.....can you please provide a list of what topics to put on each card...? I'm struggling in that sector.


    1. Well what I normally did was to follow the specification points for the syllabus you are studying as that way I ensured I covered every topic. If not though, try breaking it down into small sections like 1]types of erosion 2]methods of transportation 3]formation of a meander etc. then a card for each individual case study........ well that's how I would do it. One thing I learnt from moving from AS revision to A2 revision is that the less you have on the cards the better and diagrams/graphs are always really good. I hope this helps - good luck with your exams!!!