3.1.2 Identifying the stages of revision
Although you will eventually develop your own particular approach to revision, it is valuable to reflect a little on the stages you might go through in preparing for your next exam. To do this, we suggest that you adopt a technique called mind-mapping.
Mind-mapping can be used to collect and organise ideas at any time during your studies. Some people have the kind of memory that uses visual cues very effectively, and mind-mapping taps into this memory style. It enables you to lay out your thoughts on a particular topic in a structured way, and to use the way remembered ideas lead on to other associated ideas.
- Think about how you plan to approach your revision. Then try mind-mapping your ideas, using the 'map' outline in Figure 1 Blank revision mind-map.
- Once you have completed your mind-map, compare it to the completed version included in the discussion below. As you can see, the topic for the mind-map - How will I revise? - is in the centre. The nice thing about mind-maps is that the organisation of your thoughts can come later. So go ahead, just think about the whole process of revision and put your thoughts into the blank boxes. To start you off, we have included a suggestion in the top right box. Once you have done this, decide whether there is any order or link between the activities you have recorded.
This image shows a blank mind-map made up of a central box surrounded by seven further boxes. Each of the surrounding boxes are linked to the central box by a line. The central box contains the words ‘How will I revise?’. A box to the top right contains the words ‘Finding out about the exam paper’. The other boxes are blank.
Figure 2 shows our suggestion for a 'Revision mind-map'. The numbers in each box show suggested stages in the revision process. Our map may not look identical to yours, but we imagine that we have identified similar activities.
Over the next few pages, we will look at each of the stages of revision identified by the mind-map in greater detail. These are listed below.
Stage 1 Finding out about the exam paper
Stage 2 Gathering and organising revision materials
Stage 3 Deciding what to revise
Stage 4 Making a revision timetable
Stage 5 Understanding and learning the course material
Stage 6 Rehearsing answering exam questions
Stage 7 Checking practical arrangements
The advice contained in this course is relevant to all subjects, but the main emphasis is on the written word and, in particular, the exam essay format. Later in the unit, we have included some specific information about revising for maths, science, technology and modern languages.