What is revision?

Revision is another word for reviewing or re-visiting.

It allows students to:

  • Reinforce and embed school learning
  • Identify what knowledge they do know and what they don’t know
  • Make links with other learning
  • Practise applying their knowledge and skills under exam conditions ready for terminal exams
  • Gain confidence

What revision isn’t!

A process referred to as “cramming” that is done at the end of a course right before exams.

It also shouldn’t predominantly take the form of:

  • Re-reading
  • Highlighting/underlining
  • Copying

Effective use of time

Think about your revision session as a clock. Time should be spent in the following ways

Checking mistakes 25%

Testing 50%

Correcting mistakes 25%

Research also suggests that when somebody has to “think hard” about something the more we are likely to remember it. We need to engage the brain more to help use put the information in our long term memory. As a result the most impactful method for revision is for a child to use the testing effect. Testing can be referred to as the Interrogation method or Retrieval practice.

Pupils can use many methods to test themselves such as:

  • Past paper questions
  • Creating notes/mindmaps from memory
  • Flash cards
  • Describing a concept out loud from memory
  • Websites
  • Condensing notes from memory
  • Peer on peer questions
  • Self-interrogation
  • Elaboration
  • Seneca
  • Quizlet
  • Online testing
  • Work books
  • Reading out loud and explaining concepts
  • Teaching others

Further more detailed information can be found under the relevant tabs.


In summary – Tips for improving memory

  • Retrieval practice
  • Spacing out your learning
  • Interleaving
  • Pre – questions
  • Elaborative interrogation
  • Dual coding – Using both pictures and words
  • Avoiding distractions – not TV, phones or music when revising
  • Thinking about the topic in more detail
  • Reading out- loud
  • Teach someone else the material


What doesn’t work.

Students often believe there is some magic secret to revision and it involves meticulous note taking and the rewriting of their course. Reading and copying are very time consuming and have little impact as they are so easy to do. The student is not having to think hard and will forget most of what they have just done. It does not go into their long term memory. They often learn the information in lessons through practice, tests, experiments, demonstrations, videos and discussions. They need to repeat these processes when revising the learning.

The revision process should be based on the concept of how we best learn and remember information. Engage as many senses as possible in your revision.

Quite often students will procrastinate and are guilty of  “cramming” , which is when revision is all done at the end of a course right before exams. The brain cannot take in all the information and the student will forget key points. This can also lead to stress and anxiety. Reviewing work regularly throughout the course will put the information in the long term memory.

So ….. What not to do….


  • Cramming – revising too much at the end just before the exams
  • Simply reading class notes
  • Highlighting
  • Copying
  • Focusing on the topics and subjects you find easy
  • Randomly deciding what to revise on any given night
  • Blocking revision into one subject a week
Chunking Technique Student Poster Pamphlet Cognitive Load Theory Student Poster Pamphlet Flashcards Student Poster Pamphlet (2) Flipped Learning Student Poster Pamphlet Interleaving Technique Student Poster Pamphlet Keeping Active Student Poster Pamphlet Spacing and Timing of Revision Student Poster Pamphlet