It’s that time of year again where library seats become limited, but our caffeine intake becomes limitless. Our bags are heavier with revision notes, and our eyebags grow darker from lack of sleep. Yes, it’s exam season and I am just as stressed as you are.
This year I’ve actually struggled so much to find the self-motivation needed to revise. I am not sure whether that is because I am a first-year student at university, and this style of teaching is very different to that of sixth form or college, or whether this unconventional year of online learning has me burnt out and overwhelmed.
So, I did what all of us Gen-Z’s do in a time of crisis- turn to YouTube for help. However, this time I didn’t abide to the typical student’s search history of ‘How To Iron’ or ‘How To Scramble An Egg’ (I am embarrassed to admit I only recently learnt how to do that…). I instead tuned into my favourite Study Youtuber’s channels to find out their typical revision timetables.
For me, these Study-Tubers have always been something to aspire to, with their large following, vast amounts of motivation, and high grades, but now I am a University student myself, I can’t help but question- is their online persona a performance? Or is it actually possible to be this motivated all the time? So, I followed three revision styles in three days, and here are my thoughts:
Day 1: Eve Bennett – ‘INTENSE STUDY WITH ME: 8 HOUR EASTER HOLIDAY EDITION! (Serious revision motivation!) | Eve’
I would say that Eve Bennett’s ‘study with me’ was closest to my own way of revising, even though I think that I disliked this technique the most? It was as follows:
- 2 hours of studying in the morning
- 50-minute break – including a 30 minute nap
- 1 hour of work
- 1 hour of work
- 30-minute break
- 2 hours of work
- 1 hour break
- 2 hours of work
I genuinely think if you did this every day it would be unsustainable. I know this because this is exactly what burnt me out during my A-Levels. I got through a lot of content to be honest and made quite a lot of notes, however I found that towards the end of the day nothing was staying with me anymore. I also struggled to concentrate and found myself getting easily distracted. I think this is a good technique for the Easter Holidays as it gives you a strict timetable to follow, but if you’re doing this during term time I think you can quickly exhaust yourself.
Day 2: UnjadedJade – How to Study More Efficiently and Make Time Count. (Breaks MATTER ?) | Motivated Monday
What Jade describes here is the Pomodoro Technique which my fellow Her Campus Leeds Contributor Megan Clayton talks about here:
You do around half an hour’s worth of work, then have a five-minute break. You keep repeating this until you need a longer, more effective break.
What I particularly liked about this technique is how manageable these little bursts of work and productivity were. I usually find it daunting when I look at my timetable and see a two-hour block without breaks, however this time it felt much more encouraging to know that in half an hour I would be able to have a short break and then get straight back to it.
Eve’s timetable meant I might have two hours of unproductive work, but Jade’s meant I could do two hours of efficient work with dispersed breaks.
Jade also made the point of moving away from your study area in your breaks to separate your ‘you’ time and degree time, which I loved. I felt much more refreshed and clear-headed going back to my work.
Day 3: Jack Edwards – ‘How to Revise: Making Revision Plans and Being Organised | Jack Edwards’
Jack’s suggestion was pretty straightforward, with 45 minutes of revision, and 15 minutes off.
I found this so accessible, as it gave me time to fully ‘get into’ my work, without working too hard to ‘get out’ of my work. It felt like that phrase ‘work smart, not hard’ as it meant I didn’t have to force myself to work inefficiently when I started to grow tired and lose concentration. I also preferred this one slightly over the ‘Pomodoro Technique’ that Unjaded Jade referred to, as the thirty minutes that she suggested sometimes meant that just as I had found my groove, I had to disrupt it again, entering a repetitive cycle of notes that truly lacked any substance.
Overall, Jack Edward’s technique felt like it fit me and my style of learning the most. But to be truly efficient in your revision, I believe that you need to alternate between these different styles of learning, so you can get into a routine that isn’t too monotonous, and allows you to be your most productive, motivated self. I feel like I need to order Jack’s book ‘The Uni-Verse’, and Jade’s book ‘The Only Study Guide You’ll Ever Need’ after I have followed their advice during exam season. Maybe the books will give me more tips for next year’s exam season!
Different techniques work differently for everyone, so I am not sure if I can comment on whether their productivity is a performance. However, they do all seem to get good grades, so their hard work definitely pays off.
I hope I have inspired your learning, and that all of your exams go well. Remember to take breaks! Go out for dinner now that we can, talk to people, and remember to drink lots of water.
Words by: Anna Duffell
Edited by: Dasha Pitts-Yushchenko