Active Revision Strategies
SO much more effective than just reading!
Spider diagrams are a way of organising information and summarising it in one place.
Start with a central theme/idea and radiate branches from it to cover sub-topics. Each subtopic may then also be divided to include more detail.
Useful when reviewing one larger topic that can be divided into several smaller ones.
Developed by a man called Tony Buzan, they are colourful, memorable and a fun way of revising many different topics/subjects.
1) Start with a colourful title in the centre.
2) Subtopics each have their own branch in a specific colour.
3) Branches get narrower the further from the centre they are.
4) One word is written in CAPITALS along each branch.
5) Add pictures to help you remember what each branch means.
There are many examples of hand drawn mind maps online if you type 'mind maps' into google images.
On Thinkbuzan.com you can watch a video about iMindMap6.
Another mind map about how to MIND MAP!
Concept maps are really good for helping you revise your UNDERSTANDING of a topic.
Concept maps are excellent revision. They make you THINK!
Write down all the keywords form a topic an a sheet of A4 paper (or bigger) and space them out RANDOMLY. You could also use keyword cards placed on top of a piece of paper. It is really important that the words are NOT in a logical order or list.
Now WITHOUT thinking, draw an arrow linking one word to another, and then continue for all the words. DON'T THINK ABOUT WHERE!!! Just join them up. ( If you link words that you already know have a connection then that constitutes cheating!!)
You should now have all the words from a topic randomly placed and randomly linked to another word with an arrow.
NOW COMES THE TRICKY BIT!!!! See if you can write a sentence on each arrow that LINKS one word to another! All the words have come form the SAME topic so you hopefully will be able to find a connection.
1) List of keywords: Magnetic Field/Compass/Repel/North Pole/Iron/Magnetic Material
2) Randomly placed: Iron Compass
Repel Magnetic Field
3) Draw arrows linking the words e.g : Repel -------------> Magnetic Field
4) Have a go at writing a sentence containing the two words that makes SENSE! e.g: A magnetic field can repel a magnet.
5) If you want to extend you sentence you can. e.g: A magnetic field can repel a magnet; repulsion is the only true test of magnetism.
A WORD OF WARNING. Do not attempt a concept map if you haven't already revised the topic. Concept maps can only be done when you think you know a topic well and you are PRACTISING what you know.
If you are not ready to do a concept map- try a spider diagram FIRST.
Storyboards can help you remember a sequence of events.
You do not have to be a great artist to have a go at them.
1) Each picture needs to be linked to a key point
2) The picture must be memorable/fun
3) Annotate the cartoon underneath with keywords
For example storyboards could be used to:
There are many possibilities, THINK of your own and get creative!
Flow charts are useful when you need to remember a sequence of events or steps in order.
Each step links to the next with an arrow.
You do not need to include questions (as the examples above have) if you do not need them.
(If you have access to a computer you can also create flow charts using a 'smart art' feature).
Venn diagrams show similarities and differences when comparing.
Venn diagrams can have several circles overlapping .
Where one circle overlaps another, the central space is an area where there are shared features.
Easy to put together, a fact file combines all the information on a given topic on one page.
Pictures and colour help make it memorable.
Useful when summarising a larger topic.
Highlight key phrases or words.
Include only the key points.
Avoid the temptation to copy out large chunks of text.
It is important to keep bullet points short.
Index cards (or revision cards) are a popular way of revising. Information is divided into small manageable chunks and written in short bullet points onto the cards. They take time to make but can be a worthwhile investment as you can use them again and again.
These cards can then be read over and over, or can be used with a family member or friend to test knowledge. Get someone to ask you questions relating to the cards. Don't forget to jumble them up, as you will become used to the sequence they are in.
If revising alone then you can sort them into piles (those cards you know and those you do not) and focus on the trickier ones.
Bright colours, small pictures and diagrams can be included to improve memory.
These cards are excellent for many subject areas.
Keywords / Definitions
Keyword and Definition cards are very simple revision method but an ESSENTIAL one to remember the meanings of words you will use in exam answers.
There are many ways of using these cards:
1) Simply shuffle them and then try and match them back up. Take the easier ones out of the pile of cards as you learn them, leaving only the ones you still need to learn.
2) Practise spelling the keywords with a friend or family member
3) Play Pelmanism with them.
4) Use the keyword cards to make a Spider Diagram or Concept Map.
5) In exams you are asked questions. Your answers will need to contain these keywords you have been learning. Practise answers to questions that contain these keywords to show you understand them, maybe get a friend to revise with you and set each other some quiz questions.
Location, location, location
One kind of visualisation technique is also called the 'method of loci' or the 'Roman Room' method. It's a very good way of remembering a sequence of related information such as a list of names.
Use a mental image of a place you know well - such as your home - and take a mental walk through the rooms in a set order. Then, put the names from your list one by one into the rooms.
Suppose you want to remember the names of your friend's children in order of age. Visualise Harry the eldest in your front room, then Sally the second in the back room. Molly the third is in the kitchen ... and so on.
To recall the names later you repeat the mental walk. Loci seems a strange way of remembering but with practice it is very successful.
Need convincing? Try this: ask someone to read out a list of ten random words slowly but steadily and only once. About one word per second should be fine. Now, don't use any specific method - just try to recall the words in order a few minutes later.
Try it again using the loci method. Visualise your home and all the rooms. Move between the rooms and find a starting point. Now when your friend reads the list of words again, try to create visual images of the words associated with one of the locations. It'll take a bit of practice but keep trying and you should improve each time.
Acronyms / Mnemonics
Do you need to REMEMBER something important?
An acronym is an abbreviation of a longer phrase or name
FAQ - frequently asked question
GCSE - general certificate of secondary education
ICAMO - infancy ,childhood , adolescence ,maturity,old age
A mnemonic is a short phrase that you use to help remember something.
So "Richard Of York Gives Battle In Vain" helps us to remember the colours of the rainbow - red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet.
Use the first letter from each word or phrase you want to remember.
Get together with some like minded friends.These activities may not initially seem like a revision technique you want to try, but GIVE IT A GO!!
These activities have some BIG BENEFITS:
1) When you have completed them you will have a very good memory of the content you have covered.
2) They require HIGHER ORDER THINKING SKILLS- great for exam practise.
3) FUN! They can be very entertaining!!
1) CHOOSE YOUR TRACK! (3 minutes)
Anything popular or familiar will work, even a nursery rhyme.
2) LIST YOUR KEYWORDS/IDEAS (5 minutes)
3) GET TO WORK! (20-30 minutes)
4) MAKE IT FUNNY!!
PERFORM YOUR SONG/ RAP/ POEM to a willing audience!!
Show your teachers!
Pretend to be someone else!
Putting on show is a great way of teaching an audience about a topic. Telling a story demonstrates understanding, it will also be memorable!
2 or 3 people per group is ideal.
1) Choose a topic to revise (3 mins)
2) Decide on your setting: When? , Where? (5 mins)
3) Choose the roles: Who will be the main characters? (5 mins)
4) Plan your play, write a rough script (20 mins)
6) Practise it, improve it.. (5 mins)
7) PERFORM IT. (5 mins)
(DO stick to the time limits where possible)
Ask your audience for feedback and questions.
Role play is EXCELLENT for practising languages or
recreating a scene from a play,book or an historic event.
Or write your own news report, short story etc..
How to prepare for a debate.
1) Debates are based on the whether you are for or
a particular proposal. One side defends the point while the other tries to disprove it.
Good debate skills rely on the ability to formulate an argument.
2) Research the topic thoroughly and back up the argument with
facts. Arm yourself with enough factual information to lessen the
likelihood of resorting to an emotional plea.
3) Construct the argument on paper and memorize it. Define the
introduction, important points to cover and a conclusion. Be sure to
include reasons the opponent's position is incorrect-dismantle their
argument, to disprove their point.
4) Practice, before the actual debate. Be comfortable enough
with the material to convincingly deliver it. Think about word choice
and plan the transition from one point to another.
5) Incorporate gestures and body language that communicate
conviction. Learn to project an air of authority that clearly conveys
confidence in the point you're arguing.
6) Listen carefully to the opponent and be prepared to answer
any questions she may pose. Research the opposing argument to know what
to expect and deconstruct major points.
Word Association Game
A simple game for 2 or more players.
The first person thinks of a keyword from a topic, the next player has to think of another that is LINKED or RELATED to that word WITHOUT saying Umm... or pausing or hesitating.
If you pause or hesitate you are out (or make up your own rules).
E.g: When studying Core Science GCSE:
Words for B1a might be: diastolic-heart-systolic-contract-pressure and so on.
If you do not know the keywords from a topic you will find this game hard so begin with learning them first.
A harder version of the game is to link a new word to the previous one, and then give a quick explanation of why you chose it.
Crosswords are simply questions and answers.
You can write easy, medium or hard questions and place the answers on a black and white grid.
Get together with a friend and decide which topic you need to revise.
Then design a crossword for each other to do.
Use resources e.g revision guides, school books, internet etc.. to help.
Write questions that have a ONE WORD ANSWER.
Plan out where on a grid they will be.
And test each other.
An example of ...
Who was the person..
Which word means....
A biological process involving light energy..
Give the term that is used...
French/German/Spanish for ...
The inventor of ...
Index Cards (or paper) can be used to ORGANISE and SORT OUT information in order for you or someone else to TEST your knowledge and understanding.
When you have made a pack of cards you can then shuffle them and test yourself or a friend.
Card games can be:
Mix and Match - where you match a card with a picture/word/phrase on it to another card.
True or False - statements are good for testing understanding. Sort into 2 piles True or False.
Grouping - activities here you have to sort card into 2 or 3 main themes.
Sequencing - activities cards where cards have to be sorted into the right order.
Comparing - activities where you have to know similarities and differences between objects.
Analysing - activities where you sort out the advantages/pros/benefits against the disadvantages/cons/risks
Pelmanism (or pairs)
A memory game for up to 4 players.
The winner is the person with the most cards at the end when all cards have been picked up.
You can also use the cards you make to play SNAP.
If you play SNAP you have to EXPLAIN WHY two cards are a SNAP.
e.g COAL and OIL are snap because they are both fossil fuels.
Two teams. 2 or more players in each.
This game is VERY EFFECTIVE for revision (and quick to get started).
A game for 2-4 players.
Agree a topic to revise with your friends. When you are ready to test each other use taboo cards.
Make you own wordsearches
Wordsearches help with spellings.
To add some challenge write questions for your friends with one word answers.
Hide the answer in a grid of letters.
Agree whether or not you can write words backwards or diagonally.
You can also write 'fill in the gaps' type activities and hide those words instead.
Create wordsearches for your friends.
Look online for free, downloadable wordsearch makers.