Everyone deals with exams differently, but is your revision technique a help or a hindrance? Quiz yourself and find out …
1. It’s three months before your exams start. What do you do?
- A. Not much – it’s still a fair way off, so there’s no point giving up weekends and evenings just yet
- B. Head out to the local stationers and buy lots of highlighters to prepare a schedule and revision planner that I’ve downloaded from the Student Nursing Times website
- C. Three months? Come back and ask me in a couple of months, maybe
- D. Get together with some friends and ask them how they are preparing to pick up some study tips
2. What’s your plan as you prepare for your A&P exam?
- A. I’ll memorise it all a couple of days before the exam. There’s no point trying to do much before then
- B. I try and learn a bit of the body each week leading up to the exam, and then go over the whole thing a few days before
- C. I’ll do it the night before and the morning of the exam. That way it will be fresh in my mind
- D. Make up some quizzes with some friends, order in popcorn and make a weekend of it
3. The weekend before your exams start, you get invited to a fantastic party. What do you say?
- A. Yes, I’ll go. It’s not the night before, and I won’t drink too much because I’ll work the most the night before anyway
- B. I’ll try and revise two sections that night, and if I get them done, I will go for an hour or two. I will need a break
- C. I’ll go - that party is supposed to be amazing
- D. I’ll have a group of friends over that are going to run through some of the key things in our pharmacology exam with a few nibbles, and then we will go after that
4. You’ve just read a chapter of a textbook. What do you do to make sure you’ve understood it?
- A. I hope I have – it’s a couple of days before and I don’t have much time to do anything but read it
- B. I’ve made my own glossary and highlighted key bits of information
- C. I’ve skim read it, and think I understand everything
- D. I’ve made up some questions with my friends that we ask ourselves after every chapter to make sure I have understood it
5. You’ve got a lesson cancelled at the last minute, so what do you do with the time?
- A. Use it to do some free revision – but it is a bonus, so I will just pick my favourite section to revise
- B. Use it to crack that really hard section on drug administration – I’ve found that really tricky and could do with another hour to go through it
- C. Go for a coffee – it’s a free hour so I am going to make the most of it
- D. Sit with some friends and go over some past papers to test each other
6. It’s the night before the exam. What do you do?
- A. Everything – I’ve still got loads to get through, you’ll probably go to bed about 2am if I am lucky
- B. I’ll go over all the notes you’ve made during your revision period, and then have a bath with some aromatherapy oil and an early night
- C. Whatever I don’t know by now, I won’t ever know, but I’ll try and cram in a bit more information
- D. Go over to a friend’s house and run through what we think could be typical questions
How you answered …
- Mostly As
Your revision style: The crammer
You tend to leave all your revision until the last minute, with the hope that it will be fresh in your mind come the exam. The problem is you may just well do the bits that you like and leave the harder bits that you don’t enjoy as much so your knowledge has large holes in it. You are a bit of an opportunist rather than making a comprehensive plan about how you are going to approach the exam period. You are likely to do most of your work in the few days and night before your work, which will mean you head into your exam tired, exhausted and unable to function properly and think clearly.
TRY: download the revision planner from Student Nursing Time’s website and allocate a number of hours to every exam topic you have to cover, making sure that you allocate more time to those bits you didn’t understand as well. Ensure that you understand everything you try to learn by making a glossary of every chapter and writing your own notes. Have a set of questions that you run through after everything you try to revise and go back over anything that you think hasn’t sunk in.
- Mostly Bs
Your revision style: The solo perfectionist
You are methodical in the way that you approach revision and usually study in a sensible way. You like getting organised – making up your own study agenda and ensuring that you stick to it. You dedicate time to all aspects of your course in your revision plan, and go over everything you’ve learnt to make sure it’s gone in.
TRY: setting aside time to learn with other people. Sometimes you can pick up more by interacting with others on your course and finding out how they have interpreted what you learnt in lectures. If you do too much, you will burn yourself out and not keep up the enthusiasm, so build in a little and often for a few weeks before the exams and building in more steadily. But do give yourself regular breaks away from the books and your computer to enable you to let what you’ve learnt sink in.
- Mostly Cs
Your revision style: The put it off forever
You hate studying and will do anything rather than actually start knuckling down to it. You will find any reason to get in the way of the studying, including parties, shopping trips or perhaps just not feeling up to it. You’ve never made a revision planner that is longer than a week long, and you are concerned that starting early may just mean that you forget the sections you learnt three months ago.
TRY: Chances are that it’s just the boredom of sitting in a room for hours by yourself that deters you from getting on with your revision, so think about ways that you can make it more interesting for yourself. Create your own brightly coloured posters highlighting key bits of information that you need to learn and hang them next to where you do your hair or make-up and try and recite them over and over again. Colour code your notes and create mind maps and spider diagrams to make the work seem more visual (see our article on memorising facts). Build in key treats and breaks – but don’t do too many of them. You need to have something to look forward to, but they should not distract you from the job at hand – which is focusing on your exams.
- Mostly Ds
Your revision style: The team player
You like to study with other people because you think the thought of just sitting reading over and over again will be too dull for you. Chances are that your learning style is kinaesthetic or auditory – that is you like to feel and touch things when you learn to reinforce what you know. Your ideal revision plan is to go over past papers with friends, make up quizzes and make the whole thing more sociable. A study partner who is motivated can be very inspirational, and you can spur each other on when one of you is feeling a bit deflated or jaded, so it’s a good idea to join forces.
TRY: Working with friends is a good idea, but make sure that they are friends who will not distract you. There will be times, however, that you have to just learn information and memorise key facts yourself. If you find this too daunting, record yourself on a recording device or your phone and listen to it back and try walking around the room. Create posters and revision cards to help you flick through key bits of information while you are brushing your teeth, and make up quizzes to test yourself. Repeat key facts over and over and make acronyms and rhymes up (see memory styles).