Reviewing Effectively for Students

Are your examinations rapidly approaching? Is your current method of studying and reviewing not enough to get you that above average grade? Or are you just looking for a way to review effectively with the least amount of time required? Whatever dilemma you currently face, we have you covered with our guide on how to effectively review. 

Importance of reviewing

Reviewing is not only essential in academics but it also plays a large part into your life as an adult later on. Limiting the use of effective reviewing or revising in the confines of the four walls of the classroom is just irresponsible and immature. After all, you can review a vast amount of knowledge and information which is not necessary in the classroom or lecture hall but is important in the real world such as communication skills, taxes, and health insurance to name a few.

In an academic setting, the effective reviewing or revision of subject material and information could lead to an increase in overall academic performance which would also reflect in the marks you get. It could also boost confidence amongst individuals who review effectively as a better understanding of the topic leads to a less doubtful individual. Effective reviewing can also create an uphill spiral of wanting to review effectively even more as the sense of achievement one receives from gaining high marks can often be habit-forming.

Effective reviewing or revising of information is also used outside of the academic setting, as previously discussed. Effective reviewing of what you will present to your higher ups before an important meeting can often be the deciding factor to a convincing and satisfactory report. The more you know and remember about your report, the better your chances of impressing your higher ups and co-workers.

You can also utilize effective reviewing or revisions in the service industry if you feel like the office setting is not for you. Names, for example, can be easily forgotten when you face hundreds of different customers every day. You can then utilize effective reviewing to help you remember the names of those customers who frequently visit where you work to give them a more welcoming ambiance when they enter the establishment.

Know that not all review strategies are equal

There are a myriad of review strategies out there and each one is as unique as the other. You can opt to review through test, memory exercises, or by making outlines of your lessons. Each of which has their own strengths and weaknesses.

Review strategies are a series of techniques and procedures executed by an individual with the goal of learning, remembering, and understanding a topic, subject matter, or information better. Just like how there are different ways to shoot a ball through the hoop; there are also a variety of methods to choose from when it comes to reviewing and revisions. However, there are a few methods which are inherently much more effective than the rest.

How much time and effort you include in your reviews and revisions also greatly affect the outcome of your review sessions. This concludes that the learning strategies you use is not the only factor which would yield to your desired result. However, this does not mean that meaningless effort put into an improper and inefficient review strategy will yield the same positive outcome as putting effort into and effective and efficient review strategy.

Listed below is a list of procedures which you can do to help you review effectively:

1. Revisit new information learned

The first thing you should consider when trying to review effectively is to revisit the newly learned information as often as possible. Repetition is the key to a better understanding and retrieval of newly learned information. You can successfully store important information into your long term memory if you repeatedly try to recall and revisit it as often as you can.

You can also opt to write down what new information you have learned in you notebook or any study material while only relying on your memory. This will highlight what parts of the topic you remember and what parts you have trouble remembering or understanding.

In the event that you barely recall any information about the topic then do not panic as it often occurs when you are just starting out. This often happens because you were either uninterested in the topic or was not paying full attention to the discussion or to what you were reading and can be overcome by trying your best to stay focused the next time you are listening to a discussion or reading something.

2. Recite it out loud

One of the best ways to recall something you have recently learned is to try and recite it out loud. This works similarly to the first procedure but instead of writing it down in a summary form, you try and discuss it out loud as if you were the one giving the discussion. This will measure how much you understand about the topic and how well you can convey the important aspects of it.

Do not fret if you have trouble remembering some of the parts and just write down what parts you have trouble recalling so that you can focus on those parts in your future study sessions.

3. Make a review schedule

As previously mentioned, repetition is the key to remembering a topic or information better. However, it would be inefficient to repeatedly study the same material every day for the course of a few weeks. The brain retains information for a longer period when repeatedly remembering the information.

Set a schedule of when you are about to forget the information and try to recall it as best as you can to promote better memory retention of the information. You can start by reviewing the information immediately after you have learned it, then the next schedule would be the day after you have learned the information, the next schedule could be three days after your last schedule, and finally you can review and revisit the information or topic a week after the last review schedule.

This opens up your schedule to learn new information to be learned and can alleviate the feeling of boredom due to a repeated review topic every day. This method also exploits the brain’s tendency to retain memory longer when the information has been repeated a few times already which increases efficiency in your review strategy and boosts your memory retention.

4. Give yourself a test

After jotting down notes, reciting the topic out loud, and reviewing the topic within intervals, you can then proceed to test yourself about the topic. This will help you gain a grasp of the parts of the topic you are having difficulties with. Timing yourself while answering you review test also briefs you from the pressure a timed exam will give you when you take a real exam about the topic.

Making the test questions yourself can be a great way to test if you truly have an understanding of what is true about the topic and what is false. However, it would also be a good idea to find online test prepared by someone else about the topic to test if you have an understanding of the fundamentals of the topic you are reviewing.

5. Take a break

After a long and exhausting review, the next thing you should prioritize is rest. Taking a few breaks every now and then can help you revitalize yourself and give you fresh supply of energy to continue your review session. Breaks also help you avoid burnout from studying too much and can give you something to look forward to when you set them at regular intervals.

Rest also applies to sleep as well. Getting enough sleep enables your brain to effectively transfer the information you are reviewing from short term memory to long term memory. Having enough rest also maximizes the brain’s overall cognitive ability and will help you remember even more information for future review sessions.

6. Rewrite previous notes

Taking precautions is never a bad idea and one should never become complacent of his/her abilities when an exam is fast approaching. If you have any spare time on your schedule, then you can allocate that time to revisit previous notes and try to rewrite them to test if you still remember the topic.

You can make a better summary than what you initially made, a graphic organizer, or small notes on flashcards all from your own memory to determine if you still remember and understand the previous topics. It may be a hard feat to accomplish especially if you have grown accustomed to your notes, but it pays off as you can view the topic in a new light which could expose the fundamentals of the said topic.

7. Find someone to teach

Teachers understand what they are teaching the students not because they have studied the topic extensively, but because they have taught it to students over and over again for so many years. Teaching a topic to another individual is one of the best ways to grasp how much you understand and can convey about the topic.

Having a willing “student” to learn can also boost your drive to learn new things to teach to your student. Your student may also raise questions about the topic which you may have overlooked and can help you understand the topic even further. Plus, you will teach your “student” information straight out of your memory and will also exercise your memory retention.

8. Incorporate what you learned with your daily life

This procedure is optional but is still just as important as the others. The last thing you can do to review effectively is to incorporate what you have learned into your daily life. A rather hard feat to pull off, but can be very rewarding once done properly.

An example would be to incorporate the new knowledge you learned about thermodynamics where if you were to enclose a candle between two halves of a cylinder cut vertically, then the flame of the candle would twist and create a homemade fire tornado. By performing this experiment to your friends and explaining the principle behind it, you can both entertain your friends and peers while simultaneously recalling the forces acting to create your own homemade fire tornado.

If you want more knowledge to supplement your new review strategy or just want to get better at academics, then why not hire one of our home tutors at FamilyTutor? We are a home tuition in Singapore with thousands of highly skilled and qualified home tutors ready to teach pre-school to university-level students a variety of subjects from Math, Languages (English, Malay, Hindi, Chinese, etc.), and the Sciences (Physics, Chemistry, Biology, etc.).

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Carelle is a teacher who has been through the ups and downs of the teacher and learner life. She wishes for every learner to gain educational satisfaction that will help embody the people they want to be in the future.

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