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Getting the Grade - Utility revision tips for exam success

With Easter break over and done with and May just around the corner, most students from GCSE to university level will probably be panicking about the imminent threat of exam season looming over their shoulders. Having the will to revise especially during summer can be really tough, but it's never too late to start!  We've all faced tough exams at Utility, so we thought we'd share our top tips and products that'll help you get the most out of your revision, to get the best grades you can.

1. Start early

Okay, so we did just say that it's never too late to start, and obviously revising a week before your exam is better than not revising at all. However if you want to study effectively, memorising your notes over a long period of time is a much more productive method than cramming.

"If you study continually, revising new topics as soon as you learn them, you won't feel like you're starting from scratch when it comes to exam season. You'll already know most of what you need to learn, so it's just a case of brushing up on final details"- Shaun, Utility 

2. Make a time table

Revising isn't as easy as scanning a book and hoping for the best. If you have multiple subjects to study, and multiple sub-topics within each subject to study, making a solid revision timetable not only guarantees you cover everything you need to, but it also breaks everything down into more manageable chunks, giving you a proper idea of the task ahead.

1. 5 days a week notepad2. 5 days a week mousepad, 3. To-Do Sticky notepad

3. Read the examiners reports

An often overlooked resource  for revision is examiner reports. For GCSE and A-Level students  these are public documents published every year by the people who are going to mark your exams. In it they tell you their criteria for achieving the highest marks, giving you a better idea of what to do and what not to do to score the marks you want.

4. Notes, notes & more notes

This might sound obvious, but just looking at your notes won't help you remember them, you need to reorganise the information in a way that helps you process and memorise it. The best way to do this is by making notes over and over again. It  may be tedious but research shows the most successful candidates often make as many as three sets of the same notes in a run up to the exams.

"Condensing your first set of notes into smaller, more concise summary notes using flash cards and diagrams is a great way to ensure you're  actually  learning the information you're writing down. Plus, shorter, snappier notes are easier to memorise!"- Jess, Utility 

5. Write by hand

The 29th of April marks the start of World Stationery Week, celebrating stationery and the power of writing by hand in our increasingly digital world. Writing rather than typing your notes is a really productive method of study, because handwriting increases memory and brain activity, keeping the mind sharp.

 1. Hay line dot notebooks,  2. Ban.do Write on pen set take care  3.Black and pearlescent Planner   4.Livework Twin-Plus coloured pen set   5.Yes Studio Pencil Case  6.Yes Studio Highlighters    7. Paper Poetry Purple Gel pen   8.HOP Forrest Green Notebook    9.Woman Power Notebook  10.Everything is going to be ok notebook

6. Be cautious with colours

Highlighting and colouring techniques can often help you remember things, but don't spend ages making your notes look pretty, it's just a waste of time. For diagrams, include all the details you need to learn, but don't try to produce a work of art. Limit yourself to 2 or 3 colours so you don't get carried away.

7. Check past papers

A really common mistake even the most dedicated students can make is to not practice what you're actually going to be tested on. Merely memorising notes isn't enough- once you've got that down you need to apply it.

"Practicing with past papers is a great way to improve exam technique in terms of essay writing and time keeping. Plus, going through mark schemes is a great way to gage what level you're at, and what areas you need to improve on." - Faye, Utility 

8. Post it notes everywhere

Posting sticky notes in all the places and spaces you look at every day-  around your desk, above your bed, inside the fridge, all over your walls- will really help you memorise key facts and figures without even realising it.

1. Doing My Best Sticky Notes   2.FYI Sticky Notes  3.Sticky Roll Notes   4.Mental Note Sticky Note   5. HELP Sticky Note


9. Don't over do it!

Quality is so much more important than quantity when it comes to revision. Revising in short bursts for a few hours at a time is much more productive than sitting in front of your books every minute of every day. No one can concentrate 24/7, make sure you take short breaks and allow yourself time to relax.

10. Rest & sleep

Research shows that a brief rest after learning something can help you remember it a week later, and that a full night's sleep helps you learn new skills or retain information.

"Don't forget to factor in some time to rest! Rest and sleep is essential if you want your brain to function at its best- staying up all night to revise really isn't a good idea" -Lizzy, Utility. 

11. Look out for your wellbeing

Physical activity is always important, but this is true even more so at study time. Even a light 30 min jog a day makes a huge difference to your wellbeing. Physical activity increases heart rate which makes the blood circulate faster,  in turn ensuring that the brain gets more oxygen.  This increases productivity whilst reducing tiredness and stress, helping you maintain a positive mindset despite feeling under pressure. And don't forget to eat healthy too. We all need brain foods to help us succeed.

  1. Loose Leaf Peppermint tea,    2.Meraki Cotton Haze Body Wash,    3. yes Studio Snack Box,     4.The 5-minute Salad Lunchbox,   5.Love your Lunchbox,   6. Head Massager 7. Chillys Water Bottle,     8.Ban.do Wellness Planner

12. Group Study

If you trust yourself to not get distracted by talking, working in groups is a great way to share knowledge with your friends and to make sure you've covered everything. Testing each other is a great way to revise and take a little break from intense studying in isolation.

 13. Work in the right environment

This sounds obvious, but you need to study somewhere you can concentrate, where there's no noise and no distraction- eg not in front of the TV and not listening to the radio. If you're tempted to listen to music whilst you study, make sure it's something that's just there in the background, that you can work to without thinking about.

"If you're tempted to listen to music whilst you study,  try listening to classical or instrumental music. It's much less distracting than music with lyrics because you're not tempted to sing along and lo0se concentration!."- Steph, Utility. 

14. Create an Inspiring workspace

Make sure that your workspace is somewhere you're truly comfortable and inspired in. A clean, organised study is a much better location to work in than on a messy bed or table. Create a space that you'll be happy to sit in for hours at a time, somewhere inviting that will motivate you to do your best.

  1. Vitra Tool Box,   2.Liverpool Purple Wheelie Bin Desk Tidy,    3. Umbra Multi Photo display,    4. Paddywax Diffuser Mandarin and Lavender,    5.Umbra Photo Frame and Desk Caddy    6.Type 75 Desk lamp

15. Prepare drinks and snacks

We all need revision provisions. Try preparing snacks and drinks before you start working, so you're not looking for an excuse to procrastinate every ten minutes!

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