Berkhamsted Group, Boys, Girls, Sixth Form | 16.05.2024

Mr Walker’s guide to effective revision

Mr Walker’s guide to effective revision

Exam season is in full swing and to help you get the best grades while looking out for your mental and physical well-being, we’ve gathered the top revision and exam tips from our Head of Sixth, Mr Walker.

Try retrieval practice 

Retrieval practice is the act of recalling information from memory alone. This can include methods like:

  • Flashcards
  • Multiple choice tests
  • Teaching others
  • Writing everything you remember down without notes

Recalling information without prompts is exactly what you’ll be doing in an exam, so retrieval practice is fantastic preparation for the real thing. This method also reveals where the gaps in your knowledge lie. If you fail to recall a flashcard, or you miss the name of a particular theory when explaining a concept, you can prioritise learning this before the exam.

The testing effect 

Complete past papers in timed conditions to prepare for the real exam! Past papers will develop you into a more confident learner and you’ll know exactly what to expect from the exam, making it less daunting!

When completing the practice paper, try to imitate the conditions of an exam. That means finding a quiet space, setting a timer, and hiding any distractions like phones, food, or television.

Use spaced practice

Revision breaks are the brain’s best friend. According to the NHS “short, repeated revision sessions with breaks in between can boost concentration and make it easier to remember things”.

Breaks are also essential for your well-being and mental health. They help us to relax, de-stress, and provide us with the motivation to succeed once we do get back to revision.

An effective approach to spaced practice is The Pomodoro Technique. This method consists of 25 minutes of timed study, followed by a five-minute break.

Reframe your worry

Performance coach Dave Alred calls nerves “high-octane fuel for the body”. Why? Because adrenaline makes your brain more alert, gives you energy, and can therefore be the fuel you need to ace your exams.

Reframe your nerves as a positive thing and use them to your advantage!

Get outdoors

In the run-up to exams, it’s easy to coup yourself up in your room, cramming notes from morning to evening. But without breaks and fresh air, you risk burning out (a physical state of overwhelm that can manifest in headaches, sleeplessness, and fatigue) before your first exam.

Avoid burnout by breaking up your revision with exercise and fresh air. Getting outside and moving your body will maximise your exam performance by reducing stress, boosting concentration, and improving your memory.

Remember that exam results don’t define you

During your time at school, you have already flourished into remarkable public speakers, performers, sportsmen, team players, and confident young people. Each of these traits and experiences will help you get to where you need to be!

If things don’t go as planned, remember there’s always another option or pathway to achieve your goal.


Good luck to all of our students taking exams in the coming weeks!



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