Christmas Revision Tips

Struggling to concentrate as the tidal wave of fun that is Christmas starts to hit? Too busy paperchaining to open that textbook? Sat in the library watching videos of a cat being wrapped in tinsel instead of doing work? Been there, literally doing that right now. But I can help. With these five study tips you’ll have your nose out of the mince pies and back to the grindstone in no time.


     1. Create a Revision Timetable

By this, I don’t mean create an enormous spreadsheet with carefully colour coded boxes for each different module, and every hour of your time up until your exam meticulously accounted for. Just creating this monster would take up a lot of valuable time, and we all know we’re not going to stick to it anyway. (Cut to me at 9am on New Year’s Day, wondering why on earth I thought now would be a good time for me to start revising differential equations.) However, we are creatures of habit. If we know that on a Saturday morning, we’re a slovenly beast that won’t get out of bed till noon no matter what, allow yourself that lie in if you’re prepared to actually get a few hours work done in the afternoon. Personally, I’m much more productive in the afternoon than the morning, so that’s when I schedule in ‘work time’, and organise my other commitments around that. If I start at 2pm instead of 1pm, that’s not a problem as long as I still do the 3 hours that I promised myself.


     2. Have a clear motivation for why you want those particular grades

Aside from the obvious reason that nobody wants to be ruining their August with retakes. But maybe you have the holiday of a lifetime planned, and the cheapest flights are over the summer exams. Then you have both a reminder of why you need to be studying, and also something that you want to work towards. Maybe your parents are always on your case, and you know that if you finally get that first they’ll back off for once, or perhaps you just want to know that you tried your absolute best. Whatever the reason is, sometimes it’s necessary to have something that will nudge you out of bed and towards the textbooks.


     3. Study nearish to your friends

Studying in a group may work for some, but personally working with my friends is a hard pass from me. Even if I’m in the silent area with someone I know, I’m going to get distracted, but perhaps I’m easier to disturb than other people. However, agreeing to meet someone at the library does mean that you’ll be forced to actually walk up the hill to Uni, instead of pressing next episode for the fourth time on Netflix. Plus, you can weave social time in with your revision, taking breaks at the same time as your friends, which might motivate you to work harder during your allotted study time. The danger is of course that you’ll just never go back into the study area, and count your hour and a half in the cafe as “productive revision time”. So studying as ‘nearish’ to your friends as you can is my advice. For me that means Beacon House, while all my mates are in the ASS (seriously, I’m so easy to distract).


     4. Stop Studying

This might be the most important revision technique of them all. Learn when to stop. If you’ve been sat in the same seat for six hours, staring at the same slide of a powerpoint, please just close the laptop. It’s not going to go in without a set of fresh eyes. And for that, whether you need to go for a walk, have a nap or watch a few episodes of Friends, you’re going to need to stop working. If you sit down with all your beautifully written notes, and your brain just can’t seem to turn on, that’s fine. Step away, come back later. Even if you feel like you’ve wasted a day, long term it’ll be worth it. (Obviously don’t go overkill with this and don’t never study just because you “don’t feel like it.” Unfortunately for us humans, we haven’t evolved enough to be able to sleep with a book under our pillows and learn by osmosis.)


     5. Reward Yourself

If you’ve done a particularly great day of revision, and you’ve completed all the tasks you set for yourself, take the evening off. Buy yourself those earrings you’ve been wanting for weeks, have a drink with friends, enjoy the cinema. As Christmas draws closer, there are plenty of fun things to do in Bristol, from the markets to the ice rink, hot chocolate by the harbour to a frosty stroll across the bridge. Remember that it’s nearly the holidays, and treat yourself.


Revision is not going to last forever, it’s just a matter of organising your time so that you can get work done, but also enjoy these last few days with uni pals before you head back home. And if you’re really struggling with balancing everything, I’m sure no one will bat an eyelid at a flat xmas dinner in the library - as long as it’s not the silent area, crackers aren’t the quietest.