Passing exams

Make your revision count

Revision techniques

Revision Technique Examples


Link what you need to remember with something you already know.

Imagine walking around your home, where each room has different flags hung on the wall - to help you remember nautical flags.


Use auditory memory to remember things.

Create new lyrics to a favourite song, to help you remember the structure of an essay plan.
Talk through the key ideas of a topic with a friend.
Record yourself saying quotes from a Shakespeare play, listen back to them as you wash up or go jogging.


A mnemonic is a memory aid. A common one is taking the letters from a word to help you remember something else. Or you can create 'non-word' or phrases to help you remember something.

Rhythm Helps Your Two Hips Move - to spell rhythm.
Never Eat Shredded Wheat - the order of North, East, South, West.


Associate movements with learning something. Can you remember what you were thinking about when you were tidying your bedroom or walking to university?

Create a prompt sheet of formula to learn. Read through them before you leave for university and then try to recall them as you walk in.

Personalise it

Make the learning relevant to you.

To remember the four steps of Kolb's Learning Cycle, relate it to something you did:
Experience - low grades for an assignment; Observation - your reading was limited; Ideas - next time you'll read wider and look at the reading list; Testing ideas - next assignment to have a broader bibliography.


Have fun with the information. Can you link it to jokes, a funny film, music or happy memories?

When reading about a particular author you always have the same band's music playing. You start to associate their work with the music. Just humming a song brings back memories.


Repeat going over something at least three times. Try learning something using different ways, e.g. reading about it, writing about it and then talking about it.

Read about and then practise using a tool in Photoshop. Then write some of your own instructions on how to use the tool.

Teach someone else

The best way of learning something can be to try and teach it to someone else.

You and a friend each pick a theorist to study. Then take it in turns teaching the theorist's key thinking to each other. You can teach anyway you like - talking through some notes, a presentation or even sing them a song.


Associate something with an item of clothing, or parts of your body.

Use your hands and fingers to remember 10 key facts about a topic. Each finger or thumb is a different fact.

Writing things down

Write things out in your own words. Use colour and diagrams to help you visually remember something and show how information links together. Break down information into smaller chunks, use headings or write lists.

Write formula on post-it notes and put them all over your fridge.
Draw a time line of the key events during the impressionist period.
Write a numbered sequence for the health and safety checks to carry out before recording a studio based radio interview.
Read through course notes and create summaries of topics on index cards.
Work through past exam papers.
Learn the format of the exam Practice with past papers or ask your tutor to provide specimen questions and to outline the proposed format.