close

Welcome to the Student Portal

If you've seen an Elevate seminar, your presenter would have given you a password. Enter it below for premium access!

Continue without password

Welcome, you are a Premium User.

Enjoy unlimited access to all our premium resources. Create a profile to save your premium access & customise your experience

Enjoy unlimited access to all our premium resources.

Create a profile

Start Browsing

Continue without saving

Welcome to the Student Portal

The premium content will remain locked, however if you see a seminar in the future or think you have a password you can ask your teacher for it.

Start browsing

< Wait, I have a password

This content is restricted to students who had an Elevate seminar at their school.

Please enter your presenter's password to gain access.

Forgot the password?

Login

to your account

Or

< Wait, I don't have a profile yet

Reset Password >

Create a Profile

to save your details

Or

< Wait, I already have a profile

Reset Password

If you have seen an Elevate seminar at your school, your teacher will have your password to the premuim resources.

Start browsing

< Wait, I have a password

Thank you for submission, we will be in contact with you soon.

Welcome! You are now a Premium User.

logo2
news hero
August 2016

Speeding up study without cramming


We’ve all been there before. It’s a few weeks to the exam, we’re starting to panic and we’re starting to prepare ourselves for a mad few weeks of late nights, textbooks and caffeine… #cramming.  So with exams looming and the stress beginning to set in, I have 2 questions: how do we actually learn faster? What’s the best way to revise without cramming?

Whilst I don’t pretend to have one secret answer that will revolutionize your life and allow you to learn Chinese in a week – a bit like the guy in Limitless - I can give you a simple strategy that will help you break your revision down.  Here’s how it works:

 

Stage 1 - Overview 

The aim of this phase is to get an overview of the topic as quickly as possible. Don’t waste your time reading your text book and making detailed notes on every single topic and sub topic.  Instead, I use a simple method to get a quick overview. First, I skim read through the text, making sparse notes whilst going along. If I struggle to understand a topic or point I try and write a quick summary of what I’ve read or make a note of that specific section and move on. You’ll come back to this hurdle later. Second, I make a simple mind-map for each topic. Detail is not necessarily important here, although you may pull out a few key facts and/or quotations. This tests your own ability to summarize and break up a topic into themes or its constituent parts.

 

Stage 2 - Practice

The second part of revision is completing practice questions. Elevate’s research demonstrates that this is single-handedly the best form of preparation. The simple reason for this is that by doing a lot of practice questions, a student is very quickly able to identify what it is they know and what it is they don’t know with regards to a topic. Once you know where your mistakes are and where you lack knowledge it is then very clear what you need to fix!

In order to practice effectively, make sure you always have the right answer to hand – either in the form of an answer scheme, or ideally a teacher. There is no point in frustrating yourself by not finding out what the answer is. In revision, unlike Game of Thrones, spoilers are good…

  

Stage 3 - Understanding

 

So stage 1 was scanning the info to see where your gaps are. Stage 2 was testing yourself to reveal them. Stage 3 is filling those gaps and developing an understanding. I use three simple techniques to develop this deeper understanding:

 

Grade example papers: By grading example papers you quickly see how other students have managed to get around or understand the topics you previously didn’t understand. You also get a feel for how the examiner’s mind works and what specific things they’re looking for (structure, technique, explanation).

 

Teach: Try to explain whatever topic it is you are revising to a friend, parent or tutor, even if you find this really hard. When you get stuck, head back to the textbook or your notes and read through them. Then repeat the teaching exercise until you understand.

 

Create connections: To help remember your revision, try to create connections, analogies or mnemonics. For example, a mnemonic for Mitosis might be ‘I Passed My Algebra Today!’ (Interphase, Prophase, Metaphase, Anaphase, Telophase). Likewise, analogies simplify information into more manageable forms, making it easier to memorize.

 

These three stages make up my strategy for effective cramming. There are of course other ways to revise – but in an exam-focused environment (such as school) these are perhaps the fastest methods with the highest returns in terms of revision time well spent! Now get back to work and don't cram!

-