The biggest, illogical mistakes that students make when revising

GCSEs are looming.  Revision is well underway.  But the best thing you could do right now is to stop.
Don’t just keep going, now is the time to take stock and think about whether or not what you are doing is actually working. As there’s still time to make changes to the way you revise… changes that could make a real difference to your results:

1.    Studying for hours and hours in one sitting…
You know you’re supposed to exercise, but have you actually done it?  It isn’t wasted time, as exercising helps your brain to be more productive.  Also, don’t fall into the trap of studying for hours – it’s less effective than really focused, shorter sessions.

2.     Deciding your revision has been an epic fail that you can’t turn round…
It’s a teenager trait to think the worst.  Particularly when exams are involved.  So try not to over react, or give up on a subject, because you think you’ve ‘failed’, you don’t get it, or it’s too late to make a difference. These thoughts are a roadblock to your revision. Talking it through (with a teacher, parent, tutor) will help and is time well used.

3.    Believing what your friends say about how much revision they’ve done…
It’s irrelevant how much revision your friends are doing.  It’s your future, not theirs. Anyway, it’s a well-known defence mechanism for some students to say they aren’t revising, or they haven’t prepared for exams.  Perhaps they don’t want you to know that they’re working hard, or for people to compare their results to the amount of effort they put in. Just don’t fall into the trap of being influenced by this.

4.     Cheating on practice papers or questions…
You need to stick to the time that’s allocated to practice papers. Use an alarm and stick to it. You’ve got to get used to the timings and how you react to this pressure. Best to do it now than in the exam itself.  Harsh, but true.

5.     Spending too much time colour-coding your revision timetable…
The way your timetable looks or works isn’t going to get you the grades you want (although it might be a good indicator you’d like to go into event or project planning). So once you’ve got a basic plan in place, step away from the index tabs and the highlighters. And move towards the actual revision notes.

6.    Thinking that the more notes you write, the better your revision is…
You don’t get any marks for the amount of revision notes you write.  Only one thing matters – how you remember the information and how you can apply it in the exam.  So, think about using different techniques for different subjects to help it all go in: flash cards for language exams, mindmaps for social sciences or online tools to practice maths questions.
And instead of judging your revision success on how many notes you’ve made, instead focus on how well you tackled the revision (whether you started and ended your revision session on time) and whether you’ve reach the clear revision goal you set yourself (what question you could answer or what topic you’ve covered).

7.     Tidying your room will help you be more productive
It won’t. You’re just procrastinating. Get on with it.

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