Undergraduate Study

Revision tips and tricks

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Impatient to do yourself proud?

It's that time of year... revision season is back and thanks to the pandemic, for many of you these will be your first exams in several years. But there's no need to panic, we’ve gathered a wealth of revision tips and wellbeing advice from our current students; so here it is, from one generation of Essex students to the next. Don't worry, we've got your back!

Revision - where do I even start?

We asked our students for tips on how to revise and we got a great response. Here are some of our favourite pieces of revision advice to help you tackle revision season:

Put your phone down. No seriously, put it down.

A phone ban whilst you’re revising is most certainly a good place to start. Not only could your phone distract you, social media will also show you pics of your friends and classmates smashing their revision, so now more than ever remember that social media only shows the highlights - don't believe everything you scroll past!

Start early and plan your time.

Leaving revision until the last minute is NEVER a good idea. Make yourself a revision timetable and start early – we assure you it will be worth it in the long run.

Split your day up.

Setting yourself up for an 8 hour stretch isn't fun or productive. Try splitting your day into chunks and plan what you’re going to do for each of them. Some of our students even use the Pomodoro technique – where you revise for 30/40minutes then break for 15/20minutes, and repeat. It’s a great way to structure your day that keeps your brain engaged.

Change your surroundings.

In line with planning your day, also plan where you’ll be. Perhaps do the morning in your bedroom, but spend the afternoon in the garden? Changing your surroundings will help keep your mind fresh and at its best.

Engage teacher mode.

Hands up if you played schools when you were a kid… Lock yourself away and talk through your notes as if you’re teaching a class. We know it sounds a little odd but seriously, it works.

Make flashcards.

Condensing your knowledge down helps you understand it better as well as memorise it. Start with your class notes then condense them down and down until you can fit key points on a flashcard. Then you can quiz yourself using the flashcards to really test if you know your stuff.

Work with friends (but be selective).

Revising in groups is a great way to share knowledge and test one another. However, be careful, if you surround yourself with the friends most likely to distract you, you could end up spending your Zoom session chatting about what you’ve been watching on Netflix…

Start with the easier stuff.

Easing yourself in is no bad thing. At some point you’re going to have to tackle the hardest stuff, but if you start with the simpler bits you’ll already have some completed when things get challenging. And remember to reward yourself as you hit your goals too – you deserve it!

Get a killer study playlist.

There are loads of pre-built study playlists out there so try one of those or build your own. Just don’t use building a revision playlist to get out of actually revising!

Don't be afraid to ask for help.

Your teachers want you to succeed too, so if you really can’t get your head around something don’t be afraid to ask for help! A quick call with your teacher might be all it takes for you to have your lightbulb moment.

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Looking for more revision advice?

Why not talk to our current students about revision and exam season (or about life at Essex in general if you'd prefer). Go on, they love a chat.

Chat with our students

How to deal with revision stress

We know that revision can be stressful and we understand the pressure, we really do. But you need to remember that looking after yourself is your top priority throughout revision and exam season, here’s how:

  • Sleep. This is crucial, nobody benefits from sleep deprivation, especially not for revision. So make sure you get your 8 hours as often as possible.
  • Take breaks. Recognise your own pace and stick with it. Challenging yourself is one thing, pushing yourself beyond your limit is something else. Give your body and mind time and space to recover.
  • Exercise. You might want to hit the gym, play squash, practice yoga or just go for a walk? Exercise is like an antidote to stress. You don’t need to enter next year’s marathon, it’s just about taking some time to look after yourself.
  • Be honest with those around you. Don’t be afraid to lean on friends – you’re all in the same boat and a problem shared is a problem halved. And don’t underestimate your family’s support either, you are surrounded by people that love you. Don’t hide your struggles from them.
  • Seek help if things are too much. Revision stress is very normal and natural, however, if you feel like it’s really getting on top of you and you’re finding everyday life a struggle then reach out and seek help.
  • And after all this don’t forget that if your worst case scenario does happen and you don’t get the grades you were hoping for, there’s always Clearing and a chance to choose plan B. It’s not the end of the world, we promise!

And don't forget to feed your brain...

An empty stomach and revision are not a good match. Keep your stomach full of the right stuff and you’ll be ready to tackle it all. According to our students, your cupboard should be stocked with:

  • Nuts – almonds and walnuts to be exact.
  • Dark chocolate and fruit (and then more chocolate).
  • Carbs, carbs, carbs; including pasta, sandwiches and biscuits!
  • Jaffa cakes, need we say more?
  • Fish and broccoli to really feed that brain of yours.
  • And don’t forget to treat yourself, whether that’s a bumper breakfast to set you up for the day or tasty snacks to reward your progress.