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Revision Methods: Study Guides

By: Kate Simpson BA, MA - Updated: 23 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
Revision Revision Methods Study Guides

Investing in a study guide can take the stress out of revision. Those who produced the guide will have essentially done all the hard work for you. They will have condensed, structured and simplified all the information you need to learn for your exam. There are many advantages to working with study guides but there are a few key problem areas too. Providing you use them in an appropriate manner, a study guide can enrich your revision by adding variety to your existing portfolio of revision methods.

The Presentation

A great deal of work has gone into making revision guides clear and easy to understand. They are often presented in very effective ways. Information is split up into manageable chunks. Key facts are emboldened, diagrams and pictures are used and colour-coding systems are called upon. In this way, they can be particularly useful for visual learners.

Whilst clever lay outs and handy charts can help you to take in information, creating your own charts and colour-coding systems brings a sense of individuality to your revision. It is this individuality and the way in which it allows you to personally process facts and arguments and to make them your own that is crucial to the revision process.

Experiment with creating flash cards and spider diagrams, testing yourself and answering practice questions. It is worth taking the time to analyse the ways in which a revision guide you find particularly useful has been presented. From this, take a few ideas, hints and tips and translate this into your own personal note making.

The Content

Many revision guides are specifically tailored to the information you will be assessed on by your specific exam board. Some guides will cater for a number of exam boards but offer information as to which sections need to be covered depending on who has devised and set your exam. This can be particularly useful as it can help you to focus on key content that you are likely to encounter in the exam. However, it can also prove problematic. If you do not read the details carefully, or if you choose a guide geared to the incorrect exam, you could stress and confuse yourself by attempting to cover material that is completely new and unfamiliar to you.

In addition, such strictly regulated content can arguably take some of the fun out of revision. You might miss out on interesting facts and ideas that will not be directly relevant to your exam but will enrich your understanding of a subject, inspire you and boost your motivation.

The Style

Often, revision guides will contain features that bring variety to your revision experience. Many guides have ‘test yourself’ sections, which challenge you to think through, process and evaluate all that you have learnt in a specific section. Don’t be tempted to shy away from these. They might seem like a great effort but they are specifically designed to help you to perform well in the exam. Completing them need not take long and the exercises will prove valuable in helping you to reinforce what you have learnt in a particular study session.

Study guides can be hugely beneficial. They are especially useful for subjects such as Science or Geography which require you to learn and remember a large number of facts, statistics and specialised terms. They key is to use such guides along side other revision methods. Browse the bookshelves and get a clear idea of what is on offer before you purchase a guide. Try to find a publisher that creates guides in a style which work well for you as an individual learner.

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