With January exams only a couple of months away, it is time to once again sift through the mountain of books piled on your desk and begin what feels like a never-ending cycle of revision.
Luckily, the Huffington Post UK has been in touch with Peter Langley, the founder of Getrevising.co.uk, to give students some expert advice on how to ace your exams.
Getrevising.co.uk forms part of The Student Room Group, a network of websites supporting students from GCSEs to university. Langley gave an insight into just how useful the website's resources can be:
"You can get organised by creating a revision timetable so you know when and for how long you need to study, make your own revision resources in the format that suits you: flashcards, mindmaps, quizzes, crosswords and more. We also have thousands of resources created by other users in all levels and subjects, which users can recommend to each other."
Social media is obviously a huge daily presence in the lives of young people, with the average person checking their phone 150 times a day! Giving so much attention to online social networks inevitably takes up a great deal of time that could be spent wisely. On the subject of social media, Langley said:
"Revision can be pretty lonely and leave you feeling isolated - you need to maintain social contacts and don’t forget that Facebook and Twitter can actually be used to help learning and keep you motivated. But of course social media can be very addictive so maybe use it as a treat that breaks up revision – maybe limit yourself to something like five minutes on Facebook after 30 minutes of learning."
He continued: "If you want to work together but avoid the temptations of social chit-chat you can work with other students online using the study groups on Get Revising and the forums on The Student Room. This has another advantage – these students will be from different schools and colleges with different teachers, so they’ll be able to offer fresh perspectives."
One of the main problems students face during revision is replicating the pressure of an exam hall when the dreaded attempt at a previous exam paper dawns. Langley offered some ways in which students might recreate the tense atmosphere:
"Schools and colleges usually organise mock exams to recreate the experience of the exam but you can do this yourself. Past papers and mark schemes are available from the exam board websites; choose one and complete it in a quiet room at home or, preferably, in a library where it will be quiet. Time yourself and then use the mark scheme to see how you got on. It’s even more useful if you and one or two friends do the same paper and then mark each other’s answers. This can be a bit scary but will really help you improve."
Whether you choose to study with friends, online or own your own, there is only one way to make sure you have all the knowledge stored away that you need:
"The key message here is that you need to learn things more than once.
"Keep testing yourself on the same material so you work out what you do and don’t know. If you use flashcards you can keep them in different boxes – one for things you don’t know yet, one for things you just about know and one for things you definitely know. Keep learning and the cards should gradually move across the boxes until you’re confident about everything."
For all the last minute students who think they can learn everything they need to know through intense, long sessions at the library, Langley had some advice:
"You probably expect me to say ‘no’ here as leaving things until the last minute is obviously not a great way to prepare. But I have seen a few students (admittedly with very good memories) get decent grades on the basis of a day or two of cramming.
"These however are the exceptions ... the information you try to learn too quickly won’t stay in your memory long enough to make a difference in the exam."
And when studying is taking its toll, it is important to take some time out to relax:
"Try to avoid stressful events during revision like dieting, arguing with your family or splitting up with partners (leave it till after the exams!). Keep in contact with your friends who are going through the same exam stress and keep up your regular social and leisure activities.
"Definitely keep going with sport and other activities that get you out, keep you fit and provide relief from your studies. Of course there is a balance so if you have a particularly busy schedule you may want to limit it for a little while, but staying physically fit, mentally alert and psychologically balanced will help you succeed."
Students hear myths about how you should eat 'brain boosting food' before exams, but Langley told the Huff Post UK:
"To be honest, eating a lot of fish at this point isn’t going to make much difference over a few weeks. But do stick to a healthy balanced diet, drink plenty of water and use sweet treats to reward yourself after a revision session. Heavy meals and hangovers aren’t a great idea when you want to be in tip-top shape for learning."
Finally, Langley offered an insight into his own experience as a student:
"I always thought that if I didn’t tread on the gaps between paving stones on my walk home from school I’d get the grades I needed ... but I wouldn’t personally recommend superstition. More realistically perhaps I had a student a few years ago who always revised with rosemary oil beside her, then took some into the exam. She then associated the smell with what she’d learnt."
See the video below which explains how the online study planner from getrevising.co.uk can organise your time and make revision manageable.