As summer exams are upon us, I'm sure many of you are in the midst of some hard-core revision!
Before I start any revision it is fundamentally necessary for me to plan my route through. I like to have a revision structure therefore you can work backwards from your examination date and make sure that every topic is covered. Now if you are not like this or have never done it, then you are most probably a crammer; but if that works for you then continue on.
I suppose the most crucial part of being at university and studying for what seems (and are!) decades, is finding a revision style that suits YOU. I can sit here a write until I am blue in the face about my sad and OCD ridden timetables and colour coordinated folders, however I am just going to give you some tips I have picked up along the way, which hopefully can make your revision a little more bearable!
1. Keep calm - the one most crucial thing that I believe can make a genius fail is over thinking and stressing. I know Yerkes and Dodson once said stress and performance are linked. Yes, a little agitation is appropriate but what doesn’t help is stressing to the point where you can’t sleep, and don't see the sun in weeks (trust me I have been there). Take regular breaks and go for a walk! Change the scenery or even have a cup of tea, just remember that this is a marathon and not a sprint!
2. Keep it manageable - what I mean by this is don't have an expectation of completely revising the whole of Vander’s human biology in one night, as you will without a doubt fail, resulting in disappointment and anger. Instead, revise manageable chunks of your content, thus meaning you can regularly feel a sense of achievement and movement through your revision
3. Don't be afraid to go it alone - I understand that study groups and late night “library sesh’s" are attractive and the thought of revising alone can be lonely. However, I ask you to just think at the last group study you went to, and now ask yourself how much work did you get done? Although they seem beneficial you quite often spend your time talking about Made in Chelsea or if pizza delivery to the library is appropriate!
4. Use your teaching staff - I commonly revise in the break out areas in our pharmacy building, as not only do I like the low ambient hustle and bustle, but I can often come across lecturers who I can make work for their money! If you have a question email, call or arrange a meeting. I know this can be daunting, but I can guarantee that most of them will be happy enough to grant you their time.
5. Repetition - As the working model for memory describes, repetition is necessary for the development of long-term memory. Now by this I don't mean revise your entire course notes twice, however I find it helpful to at the end of each “chunk” make a summary card and keep these as revision aids. Include important or easily forgotten information that can be looked over at a convenient time or prior to any exam.
Revision is tough, but once you find a technique that suits you I can almost guarantee that once you get started you will actually quite enjoy it! Though remember, as my parents told me, you only know how much you are doing! So work hard and the results will come! Good Luck!
3rd Year MPharm Student