Exam Revision Tips & Techniques

Image of boy stressed about a school exam

We’ve created a few Exam Revision Tips and Techniques to help students of all ages to get the most out of their revision time and improve their exam preparation technique. For many youngsters the prospect of revising for exams or even just a small test is the cause of much complaining and unhappiness. We are strong believers in young people experimenting with a variety of exam revision tips and techniques to see which suits them the best … this is particularly important for students with poor concentration and short spans of attention who are best suited to revising in short intensive sessions.

Everybody is different. Discover what works best for you.

A Number One


So you’ve spent an hour reading through the first chapter of your chemistry book. You’ve covered atoms, elements, a bit about atomic structure, maybe a few chemical equations. Great! …. must be time for a break …. but what exactly have you learnt or remembered? For most people ‘reading is not revising’, we need to read and to understand and to remember; this is what makes revision so demanding. If revising was as simple as just reading a book or reading our course notes then we’d all get an A+ in everything! We have some revision tips and techniques a bit further down the page which can help you to remember what you have read.

A Number Two


Some of us can sit quietly at a desk and revise but this method doesn’t suit everybody … particularly if you are a fidgety or restless type of person. Experiment to find out what position helps you to stay focussed on the subject you’re revising. Spinning backwards and forwards on a swivel chair is really annoying for anybody else in the room but if it helps your concentration then they’ll just have to deal with it! … or how about standing in front of a window with your books on the ledge? …. things to fiddle with are great too if you are feeling restless, particularly a big lump of Blu-tack.

A Number Three


If for some strange reason your friend challenged you to eat a big tub of ice cream in an afternoon you’d be a bit daft and a bit ill if you were to try and scoff it down in one go. The sensible thing to do would be to divide it up and eat it gradually over the course of the afternoon; it’s the same with revision. Experiment to see what combination of revision and breaks works best for you. One student may be productive by alternating 10 minutes of revision with 10 minute breaks …. another student may prefer alternating 20 minutes of revision with 20 minute breaks … but both students will have completed 1 hour of revision over a 2 hour period. Some can do two hours straight without flinching! Remember that revision techniques are personal.

A Number Four

Revision Tip No.4: I-M-A-G-I-N-A-T-I-O-N

One of the best tips and techniques for remembering facts and figures is to visualise them either in a serious way or a funny way. Say you need to remember how to calculate the mass number of an atom (i.e. the number of protons plus the number of neutrons). When you think of the word MASS you may think of a big pile of something … and you could think of that big pile in a frying PAN (Protons And Neutrons) … so by imagining a MASS in a PAN you can remember that the mass number of an atom is calculated by adding together the number of protons and neutrons.

A great technique for remembering a number of facts is to turn them into a ridiculous story. Say we need to remember a few ways of reducing global warming …. we’ll choose ‘using public transport instead of cars’, ‘switching to green energy’, ‘decreasing use of fossil fuels’ and ‘recycling’. So all we need now is a short story in our imagination … how about “A dinosaur (fossil fuels) who is standing at a bus stop (public transport). When the bus arrives it is bright green (green energy) but the dinosaur has no money so he has to use his cycle (recycling) instead.” OK OK so that’s not a great example. We know you could do a lot better! But you get the idea.

A Number Five


Revising in pairs or small groups is an excellent tip for taking the sting out of revision sessions especially when each student takes it in turn to test the others. Unfortunately these get-togethers can quickly become unorganised and two hours can quickly pass with nothing much achieved other than having watched numerous funny cat videos on iPhones. If you are revising with friends try to stick to a strict timetable and keep the fun stuff for break times. One tip to help you stay focussed is to ask a parent or teacher to visit you every 30 minutes and fire some tricky exam style questions at you!

A Number Six


Not too much! … but make a big effort to go that extra mile. Turn your phone off! Do an extra 15 minutes when you hadn’t planned it. Spend the whole time on your bus journey just running through facts and figures in your mind. Attend those revision classes you always avoid. GO ON! You can do it. One last push to get the best results possible.