Essay exams: How to make revision notes
(Last updated: 30 May 2018)
It's the time of year when students turn their attention to revision. But how can you produce effective revision notes?
Making revision notes seems to be something that causes many students concern. There is no big mystery as to what should go into your notes. Also, there is no right way to make revision notes. Your revision note methods will depend on the subject matter and what you prefer.
The key points to remember are:
- Your notes should record the core facts about the subject, the really important elements. Don’t reproduce every detail of your textbooks.
- You can produce notes in any way you want – they are just for you.
- Producing the notes helps you learn as you write.
- Remember: exams are not simply a test of your memory. You could cram your memory full of detail, but unless you know how to answer the questions that full memory won’t be of much help to you in the exam. It's not just what you know, but how you use it!
- Spend time looking at how to answer essay questions. Working out what questions are asking for and how to answer them is a skill itself.
- Start early. You can only take in so much information at once, so there’s no point leaving your revision too late.
- Making revision notes will boost your confidence. Building up your revision notes lets you know that you are making progress, so you don’t have to get in a panic.
- Experiment with materials. Perhaps you prefer to use flash cards. Perhaps you like make mind maps rather than writing A4 pages tightly packed with notes. Maybe you want to write the notes in blue or black and then highlight key points in colour. Make them colourful and fun if you can.
For a lot of students, working out the key points for their revision notes is a hard task. If you continue to struggle, find some top motivation tips to get that essay written!
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