10 ways to have a productive revision session

Eat Breakfast

Eating breakfast, especially cereals rich in complex carbohydrates, helps boost your concentration and memory throughout the morning.

Don’t listen to music

Studies have shown that people who revise listening to music recall less than those who revise in a quiet environment.

Music with no lyrics is better than music with lyrics. This negative impact of music on memory has been shown to have more impact on introverts than extroverts.

Do past papers and space out study sessions

The ‘What Makes Great Teaching Report’, by The Sutton Trust, highlights how doing past papers and spreading out revision are effective strategies to help aid learning. They also highlight how some popular strategies, such as highlighting key passages to memorise them and cramming revision

on into one long session, are not particularly helpful.

Put your phone away

Having your phone out and insight, even if you are not using it, can make you perform 20% worse than if you had put your phone away. The implication couldn’t be clearer; out of sight is out of mind.

Drink water regularly

Drinking water has been shown to help improve both memory and concentration. If students wait until they feel thirsty, their concentration levels have already dropped. As well as during revision, evidence is starting to emerge that drinking water in exams can also help students achieve better marks.

Get fresh air – Taking a break in a field or a park will improve your concentration much more than if you go for a walk in a busy urban environment. Natural environments replenish your brain, whereas urban ones require your brain to stay alert, further draining your mental resources

Take Exercise

A case study stated that exercising 45mins before lunch was an effective way to keep a healthy body. As well as improving their mood and ability to deal with stressful situations, their scores for their perceived concentration levels were 21% higher on days that they exercised.

Keep a diary

Keeping a diary is an effective way to help capture negative thoughts. Recognising these negative thoughts is the first step to managing them and improving meta-cognition.

Regular bedtimes

Going to bed at a regular time is the number 1 tip by The Sleep Foundation. Research shows that having regular bedtime helps the cognitive development and performance of young children.

Sleep 8-10 hours a night

Most people don’t get enough sleep, with the majority getting less than 6¾ hours a night. Teenagers need more than adults, with GCSE and Sixth Form students needing up to 9½ hours. Not getting enough sleep has been linked to a reduction in working memory, attention and decision making.


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