How to Revise for Examinations — Multiple Review Memory Reinforcement

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I contrived this method when preparing for my G.C.E. ‘O’ Levels in unfavourable circumstances in 1962.  It produced surprisingly good results for me.   I used the same method for ‘A’ Levels, Honours Degree, Professional Qualifications, and much else that I have studied that needs the mind and memory to co-operate.

The method works because it stimulates many parts of the brain and body.   Repetition and review inculcate the key details firmly and facilitate the association of further detail as need be.  You can remember the basic structure of the subject or question more easily, and then add more information to it, as time allows.

• The chart below represents the time period available for revision between when you want to start revising and the date when the examinations are due to start.
• Divide this time into 16 equal parts, and these have to be assigned to Phase 1, Phase 2 and Phase 3 of your revision programme.
• The first three quarters of this time is Phase 1 (coloured yellow).
• Three quarters of the time left remaining is Phase 2 (coloured green).
• The final sixteenth of the total revision programme is Phase 3 (coloured blue).

• How many examinations will you have to take during “Examination Week/s” — 4, 7, 10, 12?  Let's label each of the subjects “A”, “B”, “C”, and so on.  Subject “A” will probably be the one that you'll be examined on first, if you know your examination schedule early on.   Treating each of the phases in turn, divide the total time for each phase equally by the number of subjects.  Of course, you can reproportion the time a little to reflect differing values of the examination marks or level of difficulty for each subject, as you see fit.  Below is an example for nine subjects — labelled “A” to “I”, and I need to allocate extra time,say, for subjects “B”, “D” and “H”, because I struggle a bit more with them.

YOUR REVISION PROGRAMME
PHASE PROCESS FRACTION PERIOD START DATE END DATE SUBJECTS
1 Revise all your class notes, text books, and homework/coursework. Make minute, neat notes of key details/ formulae/ dates/ reasons/ skeleton answers. The whole syllabus should be condensed onto two or three sides of A4 or a shorthand notebook and be easily reviewable at a glance.

3/4

1

/     /

/     /

A
2

/     /

/     /

B
3

/     /

/     /

B
4

/     /

/     /

C
5

/     /

/     /

D
6

/     /

/     /

D
7

/     /

/     /

E
8

/     /

/     /

F
9

/     /

/     /

G
10

/     /

/     /

H
11

/     /

/     /

H
12

/     /

/     /

I
2 Revise minute notes from Phase 1 . Only revisit other material, if notes need clarification or further detail. 3/16 13

/     /

/     /

A, B, B, C
14

/     /

/     /

D, D, E, F
15

/     /

/     /

G, H, H, I
3 Revise your minute notes.

1/16

16

/     /

/     /

ABBCDDEFGHHI

Download a printable pdf file of this chart.

• Just before an examination: Whisk finally through your minute notes for the subject.
• Just after this examination: Start whisking finally though your minute notes for the next examination.
• Keep strictly to programme.  Don't think of lingering on one subject during a time period that is assigned to another subject.
• While keeping to your schedule for revision, incorporate planned periods for refreshment, recreation, rest.  Take a 3 to 5 minute walk away from the desk at least every 45 minutes.  Drink plenty of water. Have a laugh.  Don't stay up late doing last minute cramming or pretending to ‘chill out’!

Mark your calendar; warn your friends not to disturb your restricted activities for a while; enjoy success from our Multiple Review Memory Reinforcement.

Date of last edit: 08 November 2013