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Strange revision techniques that might just work

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Published: 8 May 2020

University of Sunderland in London student revising

Everyone learns differently. There are several theories that explain how people learn. This article will explore and explain one strange, but very interesting one – The VARK model. The VARK model says that there are four kinds of learners: Visual, Auditory, Reading/Writing and Kinesthetic - or people who learn by doing. What kind of learner you are will affect what revision style works best for you.

There are plenty of tips and tricks for revision out there, some more effective than others. We searched the web for some of the more unusual ones. Try out a few and get ahead at the University of Sunderland in London.

Visual: Build a memory palace

If you have a lot of specific facts to remember - especially if they need to be remembered in the right order - try building a memory palace. Imagine a place you know well, your home for example. Walk around it in your mind and pick out objects you know you’ll remember or can look at easily. Then give each object a fact that you’re trying to remember. After doing this a couple of times you should find the facts come more easily. You can imagine walking around your memory palace in your exam and pull out the facts you need.

Auditory: Record yourself

Auditory learners remember information better when they can hear it. If this is you, you might find that you remember more of what your lecturer says that what’s written on the board or in your textbooks. To help with revision, try recording yourself on your phone - most have audio recording apps but this is a good one if you can’t find yours. The benefit of recording your notes is that you can listen to it anywhere - in the shop, on a run, while you’re cooking dinner - without carrying around anything other than your phone.

Reading/Writing: Post-it notes 

Sticking post-it notes all around your home is a great way to surround yourself with the information you’re trying to remember. Write down one sentence facts or statistics you need to recall and leave them everywhere - not just in your revision space. Attach them to cupboard doors, bookcases, mirrors, anywhere you’re likely to go to regularly. You can even use this technique alongside your memory palace. Try creating a mental map of where your sticky notes are to bring the information with you into your exams.

Kinesthetic: Treat yourself

You might find revision to be more of an obligation than a task you look forward to. While this is understandable, why not change that? Try hiding a sweet treat inside your revision notes. So, for example, every five pages you get to a gummy bear! You’ll read much more than you thought you could. If you don’t want to put sweets inside your textbooks, try just counting out five pages before you have your reward. As with the sense of smell tip above, this will help bring your mind back to the information you’re trying to learn every time you have a gummy bear.

One more tip: wear a different perfume or aftershave

Try assigning different smells to the modules you’re studying. Smell is one of the most powerful senses, with strong links to memory. You can use that to your advantage by spraying a scent, eating a mint or lighting a scented candle. When you smell that scent again your memory will be triggered, helping you to recall the information you need.

It’s likely that your style of learning doesn’t just fit into one of the four in the VARK model. Most people learn in a range of different ways. So try out the tips above, and see which of them work for you. If you have any other revision tips, we’d love to hear about them. Let us know on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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