Advice on how to get the most out of your revision, from information on visual aids to what foods you should be eating, is available everywhere. As someone who is prone to stress, I often feel overwhelmed with everything that I am told I “should” be doing whilst revising. After years of trial and error, I have found a few things that really work for me:
1. Mathematics can be intense and overwhelming so I find it incredibly useful to take a few hours to remind myself why I’m doing the degree. If I’m finding a module particularly wearing I’ll find an article, book or video loosely based on the subject to spark my interest again. For example, after reading through my probability notes for a few hours yesterday and very almost losing the will to live, I decided to watch a video by Vsauce about the maths behind shuffling a deck of cards (which, by the way, is mind blowing).
2. Finding a suitable place to revise was actually a bit issue for me. At home I get too easily distracted but I can’t deal with the silence in the library. Coffee shops were my saviour. When I’m struggling to revise, I walk to a local coffee shop, order myself a drink and set out all my revision on a little table. I enjoy working within a lightly bustling area; I can concentrate well but also when I need a break I can get some fresh air and take a stroll. Obviously, the big upside to working in a café is the possibility of a constant supply of caffeine which is extremely alluring.
3. One major issue I used to have whilst studying for exams was confidence. I would always compare my work and results to my friends’ and subsequently be far too hard on myself. During exam season, I find it useful to remember that people work at different paces and revise in diverse ways. It is for this reason I tend to steer clear of ‘group revision’ as I know I am more comfortable going through things at my own speed.
4. Finally, I find it most useful to be ridiculously organised during exam season. Revision timetables are my strength, however I must remind myself to be realistic. If I had followed the first timetable I had made for myself this year I’d be clocking a solid ten hours of revision a day, and subsequently, probably would have died after about a week. Setting myself unattainable goals is a bad habit; I am never going to be doing ten hours a day and that is completely fine. I find it important to set myself reachable goals at the end of each week and if I was unable to finish everything one week I go back and assess what the issues are.
There is roughly twenty-two days, one hour and 35 minutes until my first exam. I am soon to be completely submerged in scrap notes, past papers and post-it notes. My hands are decorated with black ink smudges. I am simultaneously completely exhausted and also experiencing a caffeine-induced spark of motivation. My brain seems to be completely incapable of completing any tasks that aren’t maths related; for instance, after making a cup of tea, I proceeded to put the milk in the cupboard, tea bags in the fridge and spoon in the bin.
Revision sucks. There is no point in sugar coating it. However now that I have found my own little preferences, it sucks just a little bit less.