A level results have just passed. It can be a scary time, whether you’re now starting full-time work, or going to university or other educational routes. It can be intimidating and if you’re anything like me, you may still be wanting those revision tips and techniques to get you going. If you’re just coming into A levels now, these will be good to implement in the upcoming years. Good luck!
The Frugal Frenchie
Different types of revision techniques
If you’re anything like me, I’m not creative in the slightest and would spend more time trying to make my mindmap presentable than putting useful information inside it. I used a site called Coggle which allows you to write massive mindmaps and keep expanding them with no limit. The picture above is a screenshot of one that I made in A-levels.
Mindmaps are a brilliant source of information. It can be a way to present lots of information in smaller chunks, or you can use it as a way to test yourself. Give yourself a topic, see what you know, see what you can recall. It’s also a good way to gather your ideas and create links between ideas or facts and cross-reference information that could cover different questions. For example, in religious studies, you might find one quote could cover numerous topics so you can reinforce that through these mind maps.
I find that flashcards can be a hit and miss, but it really depends on what subjects you study or the quantity of content you have to cover. You could use flashcards to test your vocabulary in languages, or perhaps test your knowledge of dates for history, or test your memory on experiments in science or psychology.
The best thing to do with flashcards are to make sure they all look different and are engaging. If you all make them in black pen, all give them the same layout etc. they will become less memorable and will not “stand out” to you when trying to jog your memory. Again, me lacking in the creativity department, I’m not talking any fancy, but using different coloured pens, all having a certain presentation for facts vs. quotes can help. For example, you could do a blue squiggle for quotes, or an orange zig zag line under dates or important figures.
This is a screenshot of some of the notes I made in my first week of university (I did a Psychology degree in case you were wondering). My note-taking evolved a lot over time. I used to write full-on paragraphs in a tiny font, hoping to keep it in as little amount of pages as possible.
Now, I go more for a bullet point technique. If you want to keep it short, avoid using full sentences and use arrows to demonstrate a flow in ideas or consequences of the prior statement. Adding images can help a lot too, particularly in sciences. It’s all good knowing what X, Y and Z are, but if you can’t remember where they’re found, or you can’t visualise them, then you may struggle with applying that knowledge in some questions.
Another thing is to make sure your notes are structured. There are many ways to do this: either write them by topic, by week, by exam question (if you at least know what topics will be in what exam) or it could be by date, by era, by book or by geographical location – I’m trying to apply this to as many subjects as possible!
1 page prompts
Yikes, this can really test your ability to compress and identify key information. 1 page prompts is the idea of fitting a whole topic into one page. Honestly, I would spend hours doing this, it’s hard!
Here’s one I did above for A-level psychology, apologies it’s so small but otherwise I couldn’t fit it all in. Every colour is a different lesson or experiment, the ticks and crosses being the evaluating points I would need. I would often prioritise the names of psychologists over the actual content of the experiment, as I found the latter much more memorable. This is obviously subjective though and you can lay it out as you wish.
Teaching and discussing with others
If you have the discipline to keep focused and keep on topic, then this is a brilliant option for you. I have found that when I truly understand something, I can teach others without the use of notes and I can reword it for others to understand too. It’s good to be proactive about remembering information, so don’t be scared to spark debates about certain topics.
“What do you think about X?”
“Were they right in doing so?”
“You think this source means that? I thought about it more from this point of view….”
You can get others to test you. As I am the oldest of four siblings, I would often not get the chance to revise with my parents until it came to the point where I was confident enough to be tested. If they asked me a question and I had no clue, it was a clear sign I had to go over that topic and keep learning. If I did know, it was a great way to see to what degree of detail I could go into and whether I could justify my responses and give external knowledge too.
I hoped this post help. Remember, whatever you do will be beneficial, just make sure you keep testing yourself to see whether the revision technique works for you. Good luck! If you have any tips to add, please add them in the comments below.