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The Geography Sited
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Revising - How To Do It


I'm assuming that you have already sorted out your reasons for revising, set aside a suitable revision area and created a revision plan. You are now ready to do the actual revision.

Everyone learns in different ways, and we all revise in different ways too. There is no single way that works for everyone, so don't feel that you have to use all the ways suggested here. Just pick the ones that work for you, and feel free to add your own ideas as well.


Check your revision plan and identify the topic you are going to revise.

Re-read your class notes. This will help to refresh your mind and re-awaken memories of what you've covered. Don't rely too heavily on your class notes though, because there are other more effective ways to revise as well. Highlight important facts with a bright coloured highlighter pen.

Consult your revision guide if you've been given one by your teacher. This should tell you which topics and key facts you need to understand and remember.

Don't just read the notes and guides. Write new notes that cut your original notes down to the essential basics. Writing lots of words usually means you don't fully understand what you are writing about. Keep it short, tight and concise.

Use plenty of diagrams. Try not to copy other people's diagrams because you will learn far more by drawing your own. Use factual diagrams such as sketches of mountains with features labeled on them, and mental diagrams such as spider diagrams to link ideas and facts together.

Silly stories, acronyms and mnemonics help you to remember facts. Acronyms are things like 'Naughty Elephants Squirt Water' for remembering North,South,East and West, or 'Run Over Your Gerbil Before It Vanishes' to remember the colours of the rainbow.

Research has shown that creating stories that contain all the things you need to recall is an effective way to learn. It may sound odd, but those memory acts you see on TV.. that's how they remember so much information. For example, imagine a fish swimming up a river, from the rather salty estuary, past the mud flats where it saw some salt marshes, up through the main part of the ria where it had to avoid several large ships sheltering there in the deep water, and so on... Creating the story requires you to learn all the facts, and reading it back will remind you of them. Don't be shy and don't just ignore it because it sounds stupid. For many people it will really help.

Make audio notes on a cassette or CD. Just like written notes, keep it short and concise. Once you've completed it, you can play it on your walkman, mp3 player, car CD on the way to school, your computer CD drive, etc. Listening to it as you walk to school, walk the dog or even as you sleep, is a dead easy way to revise with almost no effort. If you leave it playing all night whilst you sleep you may find that you learn things even as you sleep - it works for me!

Buy one or two revision books. These are usually designed to present all the key information for you course in simple terms. Don't rely entirely on a revision book, but when used together with your lesson notes and text books they are very useful.

Take key facts and put them on sticky notes or small sheets of paper - stick them all over the house in places you will visit. The plus side of this is that your mum or dad will come out of the bathroom armed with a key fact to test you with!

Produce a big poster and stick it to the ceiling above your bed - fill it with short facts and read it every night before you fall asleep. Once you know everything on it, replace it with a new one.

Give your family permission to test you randomly. At first this can feel horrible because you won't know all the answers, but you may soon discover that you learn quickly this way, and if you have younger brothers or sisters it might help them too.

Make flash cards. Take every fact you need to know and turn it into a question and an answer. Put the question on one side of a card, and the answer on the other side. For example...

Question on the front : What do you call the distance of open water over which the wind can blow and form waves.

Answer on the back: Fetch

You can also add diagrams with features, labeled A to E etc, and list the features on the back.

Keep the cards small enough to be carried around with you, and test yourself whenever you have a chance. It may sound a bit sad, but you can 'play' the cards with friends in a revision group too. Add a few rewards and forfeits and revision could even become fun.

Revise with friends - they will learn from you, and you will learn from them.

Once you are confident, and particularly when the exams are close, practice with old exam questions.



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May 13, 2006