Concentration + Comprehension + Memory = Learning.
In my lifetime, I can honestly say I have never met anyone who enjoys revising. The thought of learning something new has an element of achievement and excitement about it but revision is a whole different kettle of fish. It is often just one of those things that has to be done. In the long run, it is very good, to gain a full understanding of a subject but that doesn’t always come to the forefront of the mind when settling down to a spot of “swotting”.
Here at Kloodle, we genuinely feel your pain. That awful feeling where there are just a bunch of words on a page and nothing is going in. Followed by the standard, “I’m not even concentrating” thought and finally, everyone’s favourite…procrastination. However we have come to offer a helping hand.
First and foremost, we are suggesting that before you begin, grab a notepad and note down anything that may be on your mind, girlfriend/boyfriend issues, money concerns, food thoughts etc etc because we aren’t going to think about them now, they’re just distracting. We are going to deal with that later, for now, we have learning to do. (If for some terrible reason, you cannot leave the issue, deal with it quickly as we need full concentration to allow for learning to take place). Then we want you to remove yourself from any external distractions. That means no TV, no Facebook and Twitter, no magazines or video games, you get the gist. The only thing we will accept, is Mozart being on quietly in the background as this has been proven to stimulate brain activation.
Next we are going to suggest that rather than just try and learn certain parts of a topic that you try to understand it. So any relevant questions you may face are covered.
There is no specific time that is best to study, it is a very personal thing. Some liketo wake at the crack of dawn while the brain is refreshed while others like to cram the night before and sleep on the information. There is no right or wrong answer, just as long as there is no distraction and you are concentrating, this will not affect learning. What is important however, is the length of time you study for without breaking. The brain has a tendency to remember the start and end of a revision session. By increasing the number of breaks you take and keeping revision periods to short chunks, will help the brain to retain the information. The other factor relating to memory is by biochemical changes at the cellular level. It has been shown that studying for extended periods of time can actually deplete the chemicals in your brain cells that are needed to process information effectively. This is known as Neuro-Transmitter Depletion and it gives further support to the importance of frequent breaks. Most people find success with 30 – 50 minutes of concentrated study followed by 10 – 15 minute breaks of physical or creative activity.
One important topic of revision we have not yet discussed is the necessity to make notes. Notes help to reinforce information and help to organise information for further reading. Notes can be made into your own lingo and as creative as possible to help you make personal links to information. Use highlighters to highlight key words and dates to add further emphasis. We would suggest reviewing notes after a revision session and further revision cards can be made to make notes more organised and manageable.
Below is a short list of popular proven revision techniques to help break down your task into manageable chunks.
The Pegging System
The Phonetic Peg System or Hook System is based on the Phonetic Alphabet and is designed to accommodate large lists of items. The word “Phonetic” refers to the sounds that specific word makes. Ten basic consonant sounds are related to the ten numerical digits 0 – 9. ie 1 – bun, 2 – shoe, 3 – knee etc etc. From there, a person can use “Linking” to reinforce the peg words to make a sentence to remember the number.
*for further information, click on the link below :
The Rhyming System
Rhyme, rhythm, repetition and melody make use of our brain’s impressive ability to encode audio information. How many songs do we recognise by hearing a few simple notes and some repetitive lyrics. We may not remember all the words but our brain automatically recognises when we have heard a song before. For example, how many people remember how many days are in a month by the rhyme “3o days have September April June and November…” If we can make a short rhyme to remember something, our brains have a fantastic ability to remember them.
The Acronym & Acrostic Systems
Acronyms can be used to remember words in sequence or a group of words representing things or concepts, ie the way we remember the full name the British health service NHS or the ever popular TGIF (thank god it’s Friday). Acrostics are phrases where the first letter of each word represents another word. They offer more flexibility and can be used when an acronym can’t be formed. For example, the way that many people remember the order of the planets in distance away from the sun, is “My Very Easy Method Just Speeds Up Naming Planets.”
Finally, other pieces of kit that can aid revision are:
Planners/Diaries – To help you schedule the various things you plan to do or wish to do in one convenient location. Exams, reminders, etc. They can also be used to remind you what you have already learnt and when.
Voice Recorders – Many of these devices are now very compact and easy to use. They allow you to literally ‘hold that thought’ and give a different way of taking in information both by speaking the information aloud AND listening back to it whenever you do not want to read.
Good Luck and remember why you are revising. If ever it feels like too much, stop and think about why you are doing it. Think of the big picture, why you are revising and what great exam results can do for your future. We are always here to offer a helping hand along the way, drop us a tweet or for further information. Sign up today!!