One of the most effective studying improvements that students can make is implementing a solid revision schedule. Many students are familiar with the concept of revising, but often don’t have a proper system that allows them to remember content.
In this newsletter we’ll discuss:
- Why a revision system is the key to strong exam performance.
- The three pillars of a revision system
- How to implement a simple revision system to your studying
1. Why should I care about revision anyway?
Revision is essential to promote long term understanding of content. Many of you may be familiar with the Ebbinghaus forgetting curve, which illustrates that you will inevitably forget things if you don’t review them.
As you can see above, revision is important to interrupt the forgetting curve and to lengthen your memory of knowledge.
When done properly, revision has the ability to dramatically increase your depth of knowledge and understanding of any particular topic. Ideally, you should revise everything you learn.
2. The pillars of effective revision:
Effective revision has 3 main components: spacing, interleaving and retrieval. Each of these concepts are simple, but understanding their application is the key to building your own revision schedule.
Spacing - increasing the time between each separate revision session.
Retrieval - recalling content that you have learnt from memory. This can be cued (e.g flashcards or reading your notes before revising) or full (completely from memory).
Interleaving - changing the way that you study a topic each time you revise it.
3. How can I implement a revision strategy?
An effective revision strategy integrates all of the three pillars mentioned above. This means increasing the amount of time between each review of a topic, ensuring that all revision is done with true/full recall and that interleaving is used each time.
A good spacing schedule is 1 day, 1 week, 1 month, 2 months. Interleaving can involve creating practice questions, creating a 1 page summary, teaching an imaginary student or doing practice questions.
For an example of how I implement a revision strategy in my life, this is what I did for some conditions I studied on the 16th of May.
- 16th May - studied the conditions independently
- 1 day after (17th May) - created a MM from memory based on what I learnt.
- 1 week after (3rd June) - pretended to teach an imaginary student
- 1 month after (2nd August) - created clinical scenarios based on the conditions.
As you can see, I haven't followed the spacing exactly, but my system means that I forget much less of the stuff that I’ve been learning over time.
Revision is truly one of the best techniques to improve your grades when it is applied properly. Have a go and see how it works for you!
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