When to start

Top tip - try to start revising as early as possible

From the first week of the semester:

  • attend all lectures & seminars
  • organise your notes into topics
  • learn how to take effective notes

Tip - the tutors teaching you are setting the exam so it will be shaped by their lectures/seminars/labs. Listen carefully and note the topics, points, theories, arguments emphasised.

Read your lecture notes through each week and fill in any missing information (ask fellow students or the tutor if you have missed any important points). There is a guide to on the Improve your Coursework website.

Do any necessary reading. This does not mean working through the entire reading list. Read selectively to help you cover all important topics and better understand complex areas. Add essential information to your notes.

Aim to read quickly and effectively, making the best use of your time. There is a guide to on the Improve your Coursework website.

All this early work will make your revision so much easier! It will be the basis for the first stage; organising the information you are going to learn by topic.

What to revise

Each module’s learning outcomes and syllabus – and most importantly how your tutors interpret these – should guide your revision. You should listen carefully to your tutors, as they focus on key points and topics. Do not revise everything.

Tip - When revising always note important theories, writers, ideas & arguments. Examiners like to see evidence of wider reading so reference to writers/theories will boost your marks. Let this influence your revision.

How to revise
  • Select your list of topics.
  • Make your notes readable, colourful and attractive to help you remember them. Find out more about note-taking on the Improve your Coursework website.
  • Draw up a realistic study schedule with a timetable that includes adequate breaks.
  • Find a place to study.
  • Work in short spells.
  • Build in times for checking what you have learned.
  • Think of studying with friends to provide a routine and share queries.


  • Keep fresh and motivated. Aim for variety - try out different ways of reading and note-taking.
  • Use spare moments to recall/note facts
  • Practise - quiz yourself
How to remember and recall

Tip – do not just read and re-read your notes – it is hard, boring work and doesn’t help you remember well.

Try to make the best use of your time by developing your study skills and time management strategies. Try all or some of the following:

  • Summarise the key facts on one side of A4.
  • Read around the topic and add to your notes.
  • Make lists of subtopics.
  • Scribble down ideas to include in answers.
  • Invent your own exam questions.
  • Write outline answers to questions.
  • Write plans for exam questions.
  • For each topic you are revising draw up an introductory paragraph that you can adapt in the exam. Include some key facts/theories/writers/ideas/arguments to show your knowledge.
  • List your points on a large piece of paper.
  • Try to write what you know about a topic in 100 words.
  • Reduce information to key words.
  • Practise techniques for planning your answers in the exam.
  • Write bullet points (key phrases and names/dates) on Post-its. Put them in places where they will jog your memory – like a mirror or kitchen cupboard.
  • Get up, move around explaining all you can recall.
  • Draw diagrams.
  • Use mind maps; number rhyme systems; mnemonics. Find out more on Peter Russell Mind Maps or the Learning Centre Exchange.

Tip - Think about how you will tackle the exam. Have a plan.

Where can I get more help with revision?

The Learning Development Centres can help you with your revision with advice on:

  • Finding information
  • Note-taking
  • Time management
  • Motivation