Moving from the world of ‘A’ Levels or IB to undergraduate level study and revision is no mean feat. I’m a few months away from beginning my third and final year at NCH and I can safely say I’m not sure I’ve ‘cracked it’ completely yet. But no matter whether you’re used to studying all year round, are a crammer at exam time or haven’t had to study yet – your degree at NCH is going to be a challenge. So here’s a few tips that have got me through my first two years!
- Spread it out: Do as I say, not as I do. Start from the moment you walk through 19 Bedford Square’s beautiful doors (apart from Freshers’ Week – that’s the one true party week). Every minute spent pre-reading before a lecture or writing up a solid set of notes after a lecture is invaluable time towards your coursework deadlines or exam dates and more often than not, you only realise that when it’s too late. I tell this to every student I meet who joins NCH: the study habits you form in your first year set you up for the most manageable degree experience.
- Test yourself: The hardest part of studying for me is not endless reading and note taking, but testing what I know at the end of a topic or a week before the exam. However, it’s also so important because you won’t know what you don’t know until you put yourself under a little pressure. The main thing to remember is not to stress out if you can’t remember it all – just leave that topic for the day and come back to it again soon.
- Memory tricks: Perhaps a last minute attempt to rely on your short-term memory in advance of an assessment isn’t the best way to excel – but hey, we’re not all time management experts. For me, learning what seems like neverending names of cases for my Law exams, sometimes making anagrams and using my short-term memory to unlock my long-term memory’s understanding of a topic is the only way I get through. You can’t rely on this too much, though. Last minute short-term memory usage can only supplement the deep understanding of a subject that takes all year round.
- Pretty things: Many people think this is a waste of time (and money on supplies) but there’s nothing like cute gel pens and pastel highlighters to motivate me to spend hours at my desk. The cherry on the cake of a well-written set of notes is the pretty colours of annotations and titles. Obviously, however, your focus needs to be on the content, not the aesthetics.
What are your top revision tactics?