Study smart

Heads down for revision... exam season is here. Seonag Mackinnon listens in as school students get a masterclass in studying from an international brain expert.

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Exam revision tips given to school pupils by professor

Professor Sergio Della Sala of Edinburgh University advises students at Tynecastle High in Edinburgh on the best way to revise.

Top 10 revision tips

1. Double check the basics

Make sure you know when the exam is, and what it covers. If you’re sitting Standard Grades, Intermediates or Highers, you’ll find the exam timetable, and ‘The Arrangements’ (course requirements) for each individual subject on the Scottish Qualifications Authority’s (SQA) website. If you missed any classes, speak to someone who can fill in the gaps - a friend, teacher or tutor.

2. Get organised

Create an effective revision timetable with daily goals - and time off - to keep you on track. Education Scotland has some great tools to help.

3. Revise effectively

As you revise, try to understand material rather than memorising it parrot-fashion. Read more about this and other revision tips on BBC Brainsmart. To help create quick, colourful mindmaps, try Pinball.

Smart phone in chains
Ban yourself from texting friends while you’re studying!

4. Focus

Distraction is your number one enemy. Decide in advance how long you’re going to study for, and concentrate fully on revision during that time. Disconnect from social networking sites, and don’t be tempted to text friends. ‘Facebook time’ could be your reward once you’re finished.

5. Memorise lists easily

Use memory techniques to remember detailed information that will gain you marks. BBC Brainsmart explains how it’s done. Here’s an example from BBC Bitesize for Standard Grade PE.

6. Exam technique

Get to know the structure of the exam beforehand, so you know how much time to spend on each question. If you’re sitting Standard Grades, Intermediates or Highers, check what the exam markers are looking for within the individual subjects and get your hands on some past exam papers. Get more insider tips from BBC Bitesize - like this: Standard Grade English: Exam Advice.

7. Get enough sleep

Sleep is essential for memory, and it helps keep you in a positive frame of mind too. Experts recommend teenagers get nine hours a night. Read what these school students had to say after taking part in a three-day sleep experiment – they were amazed at the difference it made.

8. Look after your brain

It really does affect how well it works. Nutrition is important, and so is regular exercise.

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Look after your brain

Treat your brain right and you’ll maximise its ability to remember and concentrate. Vic Galloway narrates this guide to improving your lifestyle in regard to diet, exercise and sleep. This classic memory technique is so easy and so powerful it might just change your life. Use it for revision - or for remembering any long list of objects or ideas. All you need is a vibrant imagination. Anyone can have a goal, that's easy. The hard part is putting in all the work it takes and not giving up. Motivation is the key. But how to stay motivated in the face of a lot of hard work? Here are some tips.

9. Dealing with stress

A little stress helps you perform well, but heart-pounding panic certainly won’t. Learn how to get stressful feelings under control. And take a few deep breaths...

10. The big day

Prepare. Get everything you need ready the night before, and know exactly how long it takes to get to the exam hall. On the day, avoid stressed-out classmates if they make YOU more stressed, and whatever you do, don't skip breakfast. Your brain needs the energy!

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