Our Guide To A* Revision Habits – Flashcards and Mind Maps
Continuing blog series on revision habits to get you the best grades, this edition covers flashcards and mind maps, different methods that will help keep you on track for those A* grades.
Step 7: Create revision cards and flashcards
To make sure you’re learning, take your revision notes and whittle them down further. By simplifying your notes in this way, you’re training your brain to remember what’s unwritten.
Buy some cue cards and use each one for notes on a different topic. Experiment with this and find out what works for you – how much detail you need, whether to use colour, that kind of thing. Your aim is to create a bunch of cards that you can flick through to remind yourself of what you need to know.
Flashcards are a quickfire version of revision cards. The idea here is to put a question / word / theory on one side and the answer / definition / explanation on the reverse. They’re great for testing and improving your memory of the important facts and figures for your exams.
Step 8: How to create a mind map
Mind maps will mix things up a bit – they’re a more visual way of learning. These diagrams consist of a central starting point, to which you then add branching information.
They’re great for showing how a topic is built up and showing how everything links together. These will help you spot trends and relationships, while focussing on the smaller details too – really handy for essay questions and larger topics.
Step 9: Using memory techniques for studying
You don’t have to be Derren Brown to use memory techniques; a few simple tricks can make your revision significantly easier. One of these is to go back to your revision plan and set yourself regular tests on each topic. Testing yourself on something 10 minutes after you’ve revised it is important, but you also want to test yourself a day later, three days later, one week later and so on. That way you know it’s really sticking.
If you’re looking for quick ways to remember nuggets of information, try mnemonics. This is the idea of making a little rhyme or sentence around the initial letters of a topic. You might have come across this one for remembering the wives of Henry VIII in order: All Beheadings Should Carry Heavy Penalties (Aragon, Boleyn, Seymour, Cleves, Howard, Parr). Making up your own is best – the activity of thinking up the mnemonic will ensure it really stays with you.
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