What is Revision

what is revision

By revision, I mean those few weeks before an exam when you may be on exam leave. It’s the same as any other time you are studying throughout the year but with a deadline.

Revision is meant to be a time when you are re-familiarising yourself with the material you covered a while ago and may have forgotten and also getting ready for an exam. It is not meant to be a time when you are learning stuff that you should have known months ago; otherwise, you won’t have time to work on other things.

Hopefully, you have taken my advice and have been doing a bit of study every day so that you don’t get that horrible, painful feeling of suddenly going from zero hours to seven hours a day of studying!

Whatever stage you are at with your studying, the earlier you start revising, the better. I recommend starting two weeks before you were intending to. This approach will remove a lot of pressure and anxiety.

But! The more work you do throughout the year, the less work you need to do when revising.

Revision Methods

All the study techniques that you have used during your course can be utilised effectively when revising. You just have to be a bit more organised and aware of time.

Throughout the revision period, I would still be testing and challenging myself and adding in variety whenever I could.

I would say that you should generally have one or two main study methods you like to use and then throw in the others when needed. You don’t have to be rotating them every half hour.

Revision Structure

The main thing with revision is structure and knowing how ready you are. You only have until a certain time to get ready, or it’s too late. Again, starting two weeks “early” is going to make your life a lot easier.

In those initial weeks, all you have to do is casually read over your notes. You still have plenty of time so you shouldn’t feel pressure. Just read over the notes and let it all be absorbed into your mind. Don’t try too hard.

When you do this, you will actually learn more than you even realise, all in the first two weeks. After these two weeks, your revision is probably 60%, which is all before you normally would even have started. The real bonus is that it is stress-free.


It would be best if you were doing around six hours a day of revision. Remember to take good length breaks as recovery time is really important.

Be aware of how you feel too. If you feel too tired or unwell, there is nothing wrong with taking a day off or not doing as much. Or do a bit more if you feel motivated or are struggling with a topic.

How you divide your subjects and topics daily is up to you. Whatever exam is first, it’s probably best to start with that but always try to keep the revision at a constant level for everything.


My philosophy was to become more exam focussed as the revision period progressed.

As mentioned above, I’d read casually for the first week or two without pressure. I’d then start to introduce some questions and then past papers. I’d be going between my notes and the past papers almost 50/50.

In the last week or last few days towards the end of the revision period, I’d be doing almost only past papers and trying to simulate the exam as best I could.

However, I was always aware that great subject knowledge is key to everything, so I would constantly be “topping” up parts of topics that I may have forgotten, even a day before the exam. Sometimes even 20 minutes before the exam starts. Just going back and picking out the key points or reading over something. Those little details are vital.

It is the details that make the difference in an exam. But the details are also the parts that are easiest to forget. So they do require several cycles of revision.

Another way to look at it is that at the start, I’d be focussing on the main concepts. Assuming they were taken care of in the first week or two, I would then have all the remaining time to look at the details and exam technique.

Those who are trying to learn concepts or understand things in the revision phase will never get to that stage and consequently can’t get the highest grades.

In short, the quality of the revision period is largely determined by what you do BEFORE it and how organised you are.

What is Revision Summary

Revision is not simply a case of burying your head in books for as long as you can each day. It needs planning and structure and, if possible, starting earlier than planned to help you keep control of your stress levels.

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