A common source of frustration for me is seeing students trying to prepare for exams and tests when they have not been shown how to revise (or as Americans call it “study”). I have lost count of the number of times I have asked students how they prepare for tests and they respond with “read the revision guide”. Reading a study aid or revision guide is a valid way to prepare for a test, but there are so many other more effective strategies. In many study aids the questions posed to student can be basic “describe” or “explain” type questions and are not as rigorous or as challenging as the questions students are likely to experience in a public exam. Some don’t even contain the answers so a students have no way of checking their answers if they are working independently.
If I had a “method” it would be to attempt and then mark a past paper or previous exam question, see which areas of the topic you have least marks on, and then do something to address the shortfall in your understanding. There are many ways to do this, write notes, flash cards, mind maps, make Cornell Notes, draw diagrams etc etc. It is the process of attempting, and then marking, the question which identifies your areas of weakness that you can then go and do something about, that enables the learner to move forward more effectively.
Below I have found some helpful ways to “revise” or “study” once you have identified your areas of weakness, and if you are not sure what they are, ways to help you identify them.
I found this clip on Thomas Frank’s You tube channel called “How to Learn Faster with the Feynman Technique”. Helpful way to check you understanding on any topic
In terms of what you can do when you have found out what it is you need to learn, this is the best you tube clip I have seen so far in terms of different ways to make notes and study aids. Mei-Ying Chow’s “How to study” is a long list of different techniques…
The “Student revision toolbox” is my own attempt to list techniques for study or revision and can be downloaded here.