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How to revise effectively for Physics

Updated on April 11, 2012

First things first- Get organised

One of the easiest things you can do to improve your grade, is to start revising early. This can be really helpful in giving you both flexibility in the times you work, as well as reduce the amount of stress you're in later. The quickest and easiest way to do this is to timetable your work.

Just by googling the term exam timetable, it’s pretty easy to sort one of these out. Alternatively, they're pretty easy to make on excel, and this allows you to choose how you want to arrange your time slots. Once you begin to pencil in your times, keep these 3 tips in mind.

1) Never set yourself too much work - If your targets are unrealistic, you will feel demotivated about not achieving them. It's better to set and achieve realistic targets than feel like you're struggling with impossible ones.

2) Set a balance between reading or copying notes, and tackling physics problems - Like most things in life, physics becomes a lot easier the more questions you answer, reading alone will get you nowhere. Annoying as it sounds, as always, practice makes perfect.

3) Allow yourself structured breaks - Not taking breaks means you'll get worn out quicker, and instead of learning, you'll end up sitting there, bored out of your mind, hoping to absorb information when it'll never happen. 5 minutes every half hour, or 15 minutes every hour gives your mind a quick rest, enabling you to work better, and for longer in total.

What to actually study

In my opinion, the best way to learn physics is in 5 stages.

1) Break your work down into sections, so that you never try to take in too many things at once. Completing the next 4 steps after each section means you should feel comfortable with all of the work by the end, instead of having to feverishly run back over it every time you don’t understand something.

2) Read through, and take the time to understand the initial material. By not rushing, and taking every word in, you'll find yourself much less likely to need to re-read work you've already done. To make sure you’ve understood it; ask yourself “Could I explain this to someone who has never read about this subject before”. If the answer to this is yes, move on to step 3.

3) Complete some practice questions on the section. Even if you need to refer back to the material, this will help really ingrain it into your mind.

4) Write a small summary of what you have learned for the section, including what you learned during the practice questions, such as particular things you struggled with, and how you overcame them.

5) When all sections are complete, go over your summary notes, and try the practice questions again. Repeat for any section you struggled with.

Anticipating your exam

Finally, one of the most useful tips I can give you is to try and work out what is going to come up. Ideally, you should be ready for anything they can throw at you by this stage, but life can be made that little bit easier with some educated guessing. Go over past papers, and check for recurring themes. If possible, look at your learning specifications or curse outlines, and see if you can find questions specific to these. By referring to old papers, you can feel more assured that you know you can cope with the exam ahead, and that confidence will aid you in keeping a clear mind, to do your best in the exam.


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    • Parks McCants profile image

      Parks McCants 5 years ago from Eugene Oregon U.S.A.

      I believe your format can be applied to any discipline one intends to engage in. Well done,and thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts here.