Revision is the mother of knowledge. There are those who have been blessed with the ability to memorize and thus learn instantly whatever is at hand. Most, however, need to constantly re-examine what has been taught to them. What then is the best way to revise?
Each person is unique:
First and foremost, one cannot assume to have the answer to that question for everyone out there. There are a variety of ways, however, that may assist the most demanding of learners. A good way to begin is to recognize how people learn. According to specialists such as Helen Livaniou (Educational Psychologist-Sussex University), in her book ‘Learning difficulties and problematic behavior in the regular classroom’ students learn in the following ways:
◊10% by reading
◊26% by doing
◊30% by watching
◊50% by doing and watching
◊70% by speaking
◊90% by speaking and doing
In combination to the above information, one must contemplate the different type of learning styles.Visual style learners, for example, learn best with visual aid. They are the ones who usually are good at spelling but forget names, need quiet when studying, understand better with charts and are good with sign language.
Auditory style learners on the other hand, as the word reveals, learn best when hearing information. They like to read aloud even when for themselves. These are the people who like oral reports, are good at explaining, remember names, are good in grammar and foreign languages, usually read slowly and function better in study groups rather than alone.
Kinesthetic learners learn better when they actually move around; that is to say that they learn best by doing and experiencing. These are more often the athletic types who cannot be pinned down to a desk. They may not be very good in spelling but they are drawn to a science lab like moths to light. It is these learners who study with loud music on, love role playing, read adventure books and usually study martial arts or dance.
Taking these individual characteristics into account, one can then proceed to seek an effective revision method for each style learner.
Ways to Revise:
A basic revision styled after each type of learner could be then adapted to the variety of subjects and age groups.
Visual style learners:
For the visual style learner diagrams and charts are an excellent way to keep information simple and organized.
◊ In History or the Sciences, for instance, it is very helpful to have a time-line or map of events for the first subject and an outline of a scientific formula or process for the second. This way the student will be visually assisted and the information imprinted in the memory.
◊ These style learners need to write out what needs to be learnt. Thus, making outlines of information when it is time for revision will help memory recall.
◊ The basic highlighting of main information is an old but always helpful tactic.
◊ Watching a video of a particular subject or historical event is extremely helpful. The Internet today is inundated with trustworthy sites on a great range of subjects.
◊ Keeping indexed notebooks where each section of a subject is indexed with a particular color and code words also helps trigger memory.
◊ Along the line of the above idea are flash cards which work very nicely for some subjects. Flashcards are an excellent way to revise vocabulary, grammar rules, historical events and not only. The process of making flashcards, itself, will automatically assist in revising the material.
◊ When the only way to revise is to read, then it is an excellent idea to outline what must be read. This is done much like a report:
*first write out the title of the text at hand,
*next use a subheading and under that write down the most important points of what is written. This process is continued until all the necessary parts have been noted down.
Auditory style learners:
What works wonderfully with this type of learner is recording the lesson, especially for dyslexic learners who learn the same way. If the teacher or professor is against the taping of his/her lesson, then recording the text when reading it aloud is ideal [in the case of the dyslexic having someone else record it is necessary]. That way revising will not be an arduous task but a more cogent one.
◊ Word association to remember facts and lines is another clever way of learning and revising.
◊ Here too watching a video of the subject at hand is of great help in the learning-revising process.
◊ Still another idea would be either to read information from the book and then repeat it with eyes closed. What this does is allows the individual to concentrate through his sense which is most acute-hearing.
◊ Revising with friends or study groups is a great way to keep from becoming tired of the task but more importantly, it allows these learners to benefit through hearing others repeat or recall the crucial data.
These type have problems with being pinned down to study.
◊ Therefore, a wise tactic is to study or revise in parts or short blocks of information.
◊ Role play with a partner can help remember significant information apart from making it a lot more fun.
◊ Long before it is time to recall what has been learnt, taking trips to museums, libraries or countries involved is a way to learn. Of course, travelling to another country is not only demanding on one’s budget but not always feasible. Thanks to Internet, however, that can be done as quickly and typing in the name of the country.
◊ Again participating in study groups cannot be stressed enough as well as using flashcards.
Following the above advice for many is not enough. There are those that lack organization. The University of Cambridge has come up with a study plan for those who need further guidance.
In order to prevent loss of precious revision time, it is essential to plan. The idea is to write out what regular commitments one has each day and then allocate time for revision with the time left. Each subject then will be dealt with according to date of tests or exams. This will in the end give the individual a visual idea of how much study time there is and will eventually make it automatic.
Finally, do not allow time to fly by until it is time for a test or exam. Keep up with what is being taught by revising regularly using the above methods. At the end of each week or every two weeks is ideal for recall on the intake of information. By taking the above into consideration, those needing to study in order to sit for tests or exams will be stress free since the knowledge provided will help in studying more efficiently.