Exam mindmap

It’s that time of year again.  Leaving Certificate and Junior Certificate exams are looming in June and many students are already engaged in Easter revision courses in various colleges.  I had planned to give a workshop on Accelerated Learning this week in the Nuremore Hotel. However, at the request of students and parents, the date has been postponed until the autumn, so that students returning from transition year and university undergraduates can benefit from learning a variety of practical techniques that will give them ‘the edge’ in studying right from the start.

You still have time to improve your grades with some sensible planning, so relax and plan for your exams just like a general who surveys the battlefield.

Here are 10 tips for those who are doing exam revision:

  1. Make up your own timetable of revision and stick to it – it helps to focus the mind.
  2. Answer questions before you revise the material – then fill in the gaps from your notes (it’s a powerful way to remember)
  3. Line up your subjects and identify the key topics; then drill down and break them into easy chunks or bits of information.  If you can apply topics to your everyday life, it makes it easier.
  4. Revise in sections of 30 minutes – take a 10 minute break and start again.   The key is repetition, repetition, repetition – after all, that’s how you learned to walk!
  5. Include drawings in your notes – used coloured biros and repeat lists to the beat of your favourite music (it creates an association in your mind that strengthens memory).
  6. Mind-mapping is a great ‘memory flash’ reminder before an exam.  Look at the illustration above.
  7. Make a note of anything you do not really understand and be sure to ask your teacher to explain it (and keep explaining it) until you fully understand it.
  8. Look after yourself – get your rest; burning the midnight oil is counter productive.
  9. Drink plenty of water – it is fuel for your brain – and avoid high sugary foods (you can indulge all you like AFTER the exam!)
  10. For text based subjects, answer each question with an introduction, a middle and a summary.  In other word, tell the examiner what you are going to say, then say it, then tell him what you have said.  Examiners love structure.

And the best of luck – I hope all your favourite topics come up!