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How to make good revision notes? A practical student guide for you!

Tips for students 01 December 2023

With exams fast approaching, you’re probably wondering how to organise your revision effectively. One of the most popular and useful study techniques is to create revision notes. Follow these tips and you’ll be ready to face your exams with confidence!

1. Why make revision notes?

There are many advantages to creating revision notes. Firstly, it allows you to summarize key information and organise it clearly and concisely. By writing down important concepts on revision notes, you force yourself to understand and assimilate the information, which makes it easier to remember. But why choose handwritten flashcards?

Making handwritten notes has significant advantages over typing on a computer. When you write by hand, you engage your brain more in the learning process. The movements of your hand and the neuronal connections associated with writing help to reinforce the retention of information. What’s more, writing by hand allows you to personalise your revision notes by using diagrams, drawings and colours, making it easier for you to understand and remember concepts.

As well as the handwritten aspect, it’s also crucial to create your own revision notes. When you take the time to create your own revision notes, you become actively involved in the learning process. You choose the most relevant information, rephrase it in your own words and organise it according to your own logic. This process of selecting, interpreting and summarising helps you to understand subjects better and retain them more easily. By building your own revision notes, you create a personal connection with the content, making it easier to retrieve information for later revision.

2. How can you get straight to the point when drawing up your revision notes?

When preparing revision notes, it’s crucial to know how to select the essential information to maximise their effectiveness. Here are a few tips to help you get to the essentials:

  • Take the course objectives into account: Before you start making your revision notes, make sure you understand the course objectives and content. Identify the key concepts, theories and information that your teacher is highlighting. This will help you focus your efforts on the most important elements.
  • Identify recurring information: As you study, you’ll notice that certain information recurs frequently in courses and teaching materials. Identify this recurring information and pay particular attention to it when creating your revision notes. This information is generally essential for understanding the subject as a whole.
  • Focus on key concepts: Key concepts are the foundations on which your course is built. Identify them and make sure you understand them. Your revision notes should include clear definitions, relevant examples and concise explanations for each key concept. Once you’ve mastered these concepts, you’ll be better equipped to tackle the more complex aspects of the course.
  • Adapt your revision notes to your learning style: Everyone has a different learning style. If you’re visual, use diagrams, tables or graphs to organise your cards. If you’re auditory, record yourself reciting key information out loud. Adapting your revision notes to your learning style will make it easier for you to understand and remember.

3. How to build your revision notes?

Your revision notes should be simple and clear. Here are a few tips to help you create effective revision notes.

Before you start making them, take the time to draw up a plan. Identify the main topics or chapters you need to cover and organise them in a logical order. This will help you to structure your notes coherently and follow a clear progression. You can use headings and sub-headings to separate the different sections and key concepts.

As well as a clear structure, using abbreviations can be very useful for saving space and making revision easier. Create a list of abbreviations that you will use regularly, such as mathematical symbols, acronyms or shortcuts for specific terms. Make sure your abbreviations are consistent and easy to understand. This will allow you to condense information while preserving its meaning and understanding.

Don’t forget to use bullets and diagrams to visually organise your sheets. Bullets can be used to list important points or key examples, while diagrams can help you visually represent complex concepts or relationships. Use colours to highlight essential information and to make it easier to visually navigate through your revision notes.

Don’t forget that the main aim is to simplify and condense the key information to make it easier for you to understand and remember.

4. How to memorise your revision notes?

Once you’ve created your revision notes, it’s important to memorise them effectively. Read them out loud to reinforce your auditory memory. Repeat the information aloud, associating it with gestures or movements to stimulate your kinaesthetic memory. Another powerful tool for reinforcing your memory is the use of mnemonic associations.

Mnemonic associations are strategies that use images, rhymes, acronyms or stories to create mental connections between the information to be memorised and items that are easier to remember. For example, if you need to memorise a list of items in a specific order, you can create a mnemonic phrase where each word begins with the first letter of each item on the list.

As well as these individual techniques, revision with friends can also be beneficial. Organise revision sessions with your classmates to discuss concepts, ask questions and test each other. Explaining topics to other people helps you consolidate your knowledge and spot any gaps in your understanding of the course. What’s more, working in a group encourages the exchange of ideas and intellectual stimulation.

When revising with friends, you can use your revision notes to create quizzes or oral presentations. By challenging each other, you increase your commitment to the learning process and improve your ability to retrieve information when you need it.

By combining individual learning techniques such as mnemonic associations with revision with friends, you create a dynamic and interactive study environment that stimulates learning and retention of information.

Make sure you maintain a balance between individual and group revision. Find the right time to study on your own and to take part in revision sessions with your classmates, depending on your learning style and personal preferences.

5. How often should you revise?

The frequency with which you revise your flashcards is a key factor in effective memorisation. The technique of spaced revisions is a tried and tested method for consolidating memory.

Spaced revisions consist of reviewing information at regular intervals, gradually increasing the interval between each review session. This approach is based on the theory that recalling information just before it is forgotten strengthens long-term memory.

When you create your revision notes, set aside time to review them immediately after you’ve created them. This initial review will consolidate the information you have just learned. Then plan a review a few days later to reinforce your understanding and memory.

After this second revision, you can space out the revision sessions by scheduling them after a week, then after a month. By gradually increasing the intervals between revision sessions, you’ll allow your brain to consolidate information over the long term and maximise the effectiveness of your revision time.

Spaced revision helps your brain to make the transition from short-term to long-term memory in a way that lasts. It also allows you to identify gaps in your knowledge and focus more on the information you are having difficulty retaining.

By making spaced revision part of your revision plan, you’ll improve your ability to memorise and retain important information and increase your chances of passing your exams. After scanning you revision notes, use scribzee to add a reminder to them so you remember to review them at the right time.

Bear in mind that revision intervals may vary depending on the complexity of the subject and your own learning capacity. Don’t hesitate to adjust these intervals according to your personal needs.

Conclusion:

Making good revision notes is an essential skill for any student who wants to do well in their exams. Revision notes help you to combine information, organise it efficiently and memorise it more easily. By following the advice given in this article, you’ll be able to create clear, concise revision notes and improve your exam performance. Don’t forget to plan regular revision sessions and to practise actively using your revision notes. Good luck! 😊

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