A few weeks ago I sent out a blog post in which I highlighted that there is no such thing as a ‘photographic memory’. It just doesn’t exist, and everybody has to make an effort to learn information by revising prior to their exams.
I hope that by now you will have finished your courses, and you’re now in the process of trying to retain as much of the information as possible. The key point here is that there’s absolutely no point in just reading or highlighting your notes. You really have to do something with the information.
Years ago, as a student at University I finally stumbled over the revision method that worked best for me. When faced with a pile of lecture notes I learnt to condense them – my method was to condense four pages of notes into one page of A4 paper. As I condensed them I also added extra material from revision books and textbooks (we didn’t have the internet in those days!).
I used lots of colour and shapes, cutting out the waffle and picking out what was important. Diagrams were a real favourite, and I would copy stuff over and over again until I was confident that I had grasped the key points. Up to this point I had never found revision easy, and as a result of my poor technique I has always under-performed in exams. This was my ‘light-bulb’ moment, and I never looked back – I actually began to enjoy revising for exams!
As I have said before, there is no one technique that suits every individual – you just have to experiment a little and find out what really suits you. But you must do something with the information – flash cards are another way of achieving this, and in my next post I’ll be looking at how you can put together your own sets of really effective flash cards.
Until then, keep revising – but don’t forget your self-care!