Can you even say you’ve been revising if you haven’t plastered your wall in hundreds of brightly coloured post-it notes? Post-it notes are a must-have when it comes to revising but why do we always dig them out of the stationery drawer when it comes to remembering stuff? Well the key is repetition. Repetition helps information to move from short-term memory into your long-term memory, making it easier to recall when you need it. And that’s where post-it notes come in. Those sticky notes encourage us to pull out short snippets of important information and allows us to access them quickly again and again to get that information into our long-term memory.
The best way to make the most of them is to keep them in spots where you’re sure to see them regularly. It could be around your desk, next to the bathroom mirror or even next to your bed for a quick check before you go to sleep. As long as you remember to read those post-it notes as often as you can then you’ll be working the information deeper into your memory. We’ll talk more about colour later in this post, but if you’re using particular colours for certain subjects then continue this by picking lots of brightly coloured post-it notes too. The colours will make them more fun to look at, and you can take pleasure in peeling them off after exams and pretending like they never happened.
Highlighters are a god-send when it comes to effective revision. It’s been scientifically proven that using colour improves memory and recall so highlighters not only add a splash of colour to boring, uninspiring notes but actually help the information stick in your brain. The physical process of highlighting text also aids your revision. Whether you’ve written out your own notes or you’re revising from a text book, highlighting helps you concentrate and absorb the information you’re picking out. Deciding what to highlight encourages you to think critically, make judgements and formulate your own response to the text and consequently remember it.
Studies show that specific colours stimulate the brain in different ways. For example, blue inspires creativity, red improves focus and performance and orange encourages critical thinking and memory. With that in mind, isolate things like sentences that sum up important ideas, quotations, useful dates, examples etc. but make sure you only highlight the most important points otherwise you’ll end up with completely fluorescent notes!
There’s nothing worse than finding the perfect quote or key fact in a book and not being able to locate it again! This is where page markers are the solution. Stick them in a book to mark useful pages or place arrows next to important passages and quotes. When you flick through your notes, books or worksheets, they will grab your attention and force you to focus on key points.
Page markers come in a variety of colours and fun styles so you can use them to make a distinction between different subjects or topics. As colour is the most powerful stimulus for the brain and enhances memory performance, the bolder or brighter the page marker is, the more likely you’ll be able to recall the information it’s drawing attention to. Also, you’ll be glad you took the time to mark vital facts when you’re looking for something in a hurry before an exam!
If your notes are pretty to look at then you’ll feel much more encouraged to read over them time and time again, without getting bored of staring at them. One way to make them as appealing as possible is to use coloured pens. As we’ve seen already, colour improves memory and recall so have fun picking out bright pens to not only cheer up your notes, but help you remember them. Use different colours to single out important figures and facts so they’ll jump out at you. Even when you don’t have time to read over your notes properly and can only skimm them, your eye will be drawn to the most colourful and consequently most important facts or phrases.
It’s not just about which colours you use, but which ones you use together. It’s been proven that combinations of colours have varying effects on memory. Complementary colours help to emphasise the difference between things and warm colours like yellows, red and oranges grab your attention. Why not create your own colour code. For instance, you could write dates in pink and names in green. As colour triggers memory, you could even take the pens into your exam with you to help remind you of your notes when you look at them.
Revision cards are your best friend during exam season. Their small size means that you’re forced to condense your notes down to the most important points, making them much more digestible. They’re also pocket-sized so you can keep them with you right until you go into your exam. Just make sure you don’t accidentally take them in with you! Writing notes out can be boring so make the process more fun by being creative and designing them in a way that is visually appealing. That way, you’ll not only find revising more enjoyable but adding colourful diagrams and drawings will help you understand certain topics better.
Once you’ve written out your cards and read through them a few times, get a friend or family member to test you and see how much you can remember. Using revision cards to test yourself prompts you to reflect on your answers and assess how well you’ve recalled the information. This process called metacognition, ingrains memories deeper into your knowledge. You can then sort your revision cards into piles based on how much you need to look over them again.
Take a look at our full range of revision stationery here.