In this article, we are going to share some great tips for exam revision courtesy of Birmingham City University and their excellent article on their website as well as make some suggestions for technology that can help with revision.
Firstly it is important to remember that each of us has different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to revision and so what you are about to read will give you an indication as to what to try and if you need to change things up to suit your needs then, by all means, do what you need to be able to revise at your best.
When we think about neurodiversity we know that working memory and processing speeds can be affected not to mention having challenges with focus and concentration. So if you are struggling don’t give up on trying new strategies out for size and see what works for you.
1) Revision is more effective if you do little but often, rather than in huge chunks!
It was interesting what a difference having a short nap at the end of a revision session can be, allowing the brain to process the information that has been taken in.
2) Have you tried the Pommodoro Technique for revision?
There seems to be a misconception that enduring long hours of revision, and chaining ourselves to desks is the way forward with revision. Wrong! It is accepted that one’s brain is going to soak up more information if one breaks down revision sessions into small chunks. The Pomodoro technique is based on this concept.
Breaking down revision periods into smaller chunks and having a short rest after each chink, is a great way to build up the revision knowledge in the brain. Setting a countdown clock focuses the mind and reduces distractions. Having short regular breaks is also refreshing without reducing the revision momentum.
3) Link revision content with other concepts.
It is well known that we can remember facts and figures more effectively if we can link them with other concepts. The video below explains how to link a list of facts with a short story and then it is in the recounting of that story one is able to recall the facts and figures.
The ‘Memory Palace’ technique is one of many ways to recall information and it is fun and ultimately very useful.
4) Smell differently! Use a weird air freshener to perk up your senses!
Linking the senses with learning is a great stimulus for memory. Changing the smell of the room where one is revising or chewing gum is a great way of linking the senses as one revises. If you are struggling with difficult words, then incorporating the senses into learning the spelling works well, for example, taking a tube of toothpaste and using it to pipe a difficult word onto a piece of paper or card. In doing this you are using movement and smell whilst piping out the word from the toothpaste tube. It is unconventional but that’s the point, it all helps to remember.
5) Blurt it all out and find the gaps!
This is becoming a common technique for revision. When you start to revise, try writing down everything that you know about the topic first. You may surprise yourself and if you find any gaps in your knowledge then simply revise those gaps. Again it is more fun than slogging one’s way reading through textbooks and it highlights the areas that need a revision focus!
6) Use fonts that are easier to read
This is particularly useful to any student who experiences discomfort when reading.
Sometimes changing the text font can make the text easier to read. For some who know that they have a condition called ‘Visual Stress’ there are fonts that have been designed to make reading easier, but just because the font name is thought to be ‘dyslexic friendly’ such as ‘Dyslexie’ font, don’t assume it will help. Try it and see what happens. If it does not work then try a different font or even change the colour of the page (on a computer) or increase the size of the text. If you are working with electronic documents then there are free and premium resources available that can help with reading and comprehension known as ‘text-to-speech’ software, for example, ReadSpeakerTextAid.
Some more specific neurodiversity-aware tips…
1) Reinforce reading comprehension by using text-to-speech as you read the words on a screen.
Text-To-Speech software reads out the text in electronic pictures and documents and does so whilst highlighting the text as it reads it out. This is useful as it helps the reader to track the text, and visually read the words whilst also hearing the words being read out. This multisensory approach helps with reading comprehension. TextAid is useful software as one is able to use it on any electronic device that has a web browser, at home, in the library or in college.
2) Collect all your revision content into one central place that is easily searchable from which you can use to make further revision content from.
Revision can be overwhelming especially when revision content is stored in different places. One way of reducing overwhelm as well as making revision easier is to store all the content references in one central place that is easy to get to on a laptop or on a tablet or smartphone.
There are many software products available that can help with this but often they don’t help the student to record the content with the right format for the citations that are often required for written work. At Aventido, we recommend using Pro-Study for help with collating information. Check out the video below for more information on how this DSA approved solution works.
3) Blurting is more fun with Mind Mapping!
Mind mapping software such as MindMeister is a great way to sort information that one has stored in the brain and ‘blurt’ it out onto a laptop screen thus making it easy to manipulate and make revision content from.
It can also be used to convert that information, once sorted, into Microsoft Word documents for further coursework purposes.
The video below shows how MindMeister works:
Our team of product specialists are always happy to give advice and training on assistive technology to DSA Assessors or interested students alike.
If you would like to have a chat about how assistive technology can more specifically help you with revision then please click the banner below: