A guide on how to be a successful reviser/essay writer.

I’m currently buzzing off pro plus, and after spending what seemed like an age referencing an essay I’m taking a study break before spending the remainder of my night finishing off my other essay before commencing researching my last one. 

I feel that when it comes to studying, the vast majority of students (myself included) go about it the wrong way, so here’s how to do it correctly:

1) Reward yourself with breaks


The desk of an average student.

The desk of an average student.

We’d all like to be able to sit down and work solidly and productively for six hours straight, but in reality our brains fry after about a couple of hours (or twenty minutes for me if I’m dealing with Linguistics). Consequently, study breaks are of vital importance and although many experts say you should have around fifteen minutes break for every hour you do is a good idea, I think that in this modern age where most people study with their laptop, phone, ipad and Kindle within a 30cm radius that a five minute break entailing checking Facebook/Twitter/Tumblr for every line you read or write is much more realistic.

2) Eat Right.

What you'll be eating for the next few weeks.

What you’ll be eating for the next few weeks.

When faced with mountains of work, the most important thing to do is make sure you’re eating food that is quick and easy to prepare and can be delivered to the library within half an hour. We’re all aware of the importance of hitting our five a day, but when you’re in essay/revision hell then everything else takes a back seat, and anyway, surely the lettuce in that burger and the tomato puree on that pizza contributes towards your day!? Either way, eating right during studying is simply food that takes minimal effort on your part, so for a few weeks say farewell to your exotic salads and hello to the takeaway menus stashed away in your draw. 

3) Give yourself enough time to write your essay/revise for that exam.

The word you do for one module alone.

The word you do for one module alone.

The art of essay writing and revising is one that takes sheer skill, because the earlier you start then the more likely it is that you’ll spend those sessions doing everything but work as you won’t feel motivated, but at the same time you need to ensure you have enough time to write it/make sure the information has sunk in which means no leaving it till the morning of your hand in/ exam. Therefore I think doing the work the night before is the optimal time frame because it’s entirely possible to get the work done the night before, and the added pressure means that there will be no wasting time on Facebook/Twitter etc (maybe).

4) Have a study playlist

Put here purely because it's Countdown related and I'm childish.

Put here purely because it’s Countdown related and I’m childish.

My playlist involves quite a bit of classical music (check out Gunnar Madsen’s ”Anna”) because it’s supposed help you with learning, and with this Linguistics essay I’ve needed all the help I can get. However, what works for me may not work for you, and it’s worth considering the context as well. For example, if you were in the gym lifting weights then the Black Eyed Peas’ ”Pump It” is going to be more motivational for you than a Taylor Swift melody. So if you’re in the library the night before pulling an all nighter where you’re trying to start and finish all your work before the deadline/exam then I think you should have the  ”Countdown” clock on repeat just to motivate you that little bit more.

5) Place something motivational near your desk

Vodka: motivates you by promising to erase all memories of the past few weeks in one night.

Vodka: motivates you by promising to erase all memories of the past few weeks in one night.

Last year my friend made me a sign which said ”Come on Zoe, you can do it!” to stick on my noticeboard and motivate me when I was writing my essays; I think having something motivational to look at is very important when studying. It doesn’t have to be a sign, but it should fill you with determination to do your work whenever you look at it. For example, my friend has a big bottle of Smirnoff vodka on her windowsill which she (probably) plans on consuming straight once she has made all her deadlines.




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