Creating the Perfect Environment for Revision
Updated: Jan 3
As exams draw ever closer, the thoughts of many students will be turning to revision. But how can you optimise your revision environment to ensure that the hours are never wasted?
The key to successful revision is often finding the perfect place to work. The best revision bases are spacious, quiet and calm. The ideal revision spot will also be well-lit, contain everything you need, and be free from distractions.
The perfect place is often a student's room - their private space where they can focus on their own. Some people though need a change of scenery or might want to safe their room for relaxing. In this case, students can effectively choose to work elsewhere in the house, such as in the dining room or in a home office, if you have one. The choice will depend on the amount of space available, access to a computer, and whether they like to be around other people, who won’t be distraction.
Many people prefer to work away from the home, either because there isn’t a suitable space for them there or they prefer to be able to leave their work behind them when they’re at home. If that sounds like you, your local library can be the perfect place to revise, giving you free access to a quiet environment free from distractions where you will be able to really get on.
Wherever you end up basing yourself as you revise, make sure it is comfortable. Think about practical issues such as lighting, desk or tabletop space, access to power sockets and the comfort of your chair.
Before you begin revision, make sure you have everything to hand that you are going to need. That will mean you don’t have to break off from what you are doing. So, ensure you have paper, flashcards, post-it notes, pens, coloured pencils, and anything else you’re going to be using to create your revision materials, notes and answers.
Put your phone away. Having your phone in front of you will be a constant source of distraction. Also, think carefully about whether or not you want to listen to music as you work. Although some people need total peace and quiet to work effectively, many others find it difficult to work in complete silence. If you do decide you will be able to revise more effectively while listening to music, then think carefully about what you choose to listen to. Make sure you create or find a playlist before sitting down to work so that you don’t need to be choosing a new song every few minutes. Also try to avoid songs that you won’t be able to resist singing along and tapping your feet to; that’s bound to distract you.
It’s really important to factor breaks into your revision. Trying to look at information and work on absorbing it for a long period of time is going to end up being counter-productive. You will lose your focus and will end up not achieving what you set out to.
It’s much better to revise in small chunks and take regular breaks. When you can tell that your work rate is starting to dip, whether that’s after 20 minutes or half an hour, take a short break. Get up from your seat and stretch your legs, have a drink or snack and get some fresh air. After 5 minutes or so, get back to work. Hopefully you will feel refreshed and will be able to continue working productively.
You can also reward yourself to keep your energy levels and motivation up. For example, when you’ve finished a mind map, have a quick snack. Try though to avoid too much caffeine or sugar as after the energy boost, you will face a big dip in energy. Healthy snacks such as fruit, or treats in moderation, such as one biscuit, will work best in inspiring you to keep going and giving you the energy that you need to do so.