David Bowie: Let's DanceiTunesAmazon

Study Guide

Blimey! It's getting close to exam time already! 

There's lots of pressure on you at exam time, so Mix96 have got together with University Campus Aylesbury Vale to create a study guide to help you study better and help you revise to your optimum ability.

Many people get stressed at exam time because they leave revising until too late. The best idea is to plan ahead, start early, develop a revision timetable and stick to it, here are some hints and tips.

Plan your revision time by breaking down your subjects down into smaller ‘bite-sized’ topics and plot on a revision timetable, here's how to put one together:

  1. Check your exam dates with your teachers.
  2. Download the attached revision timetable.
  3. Add all your subjects in the black ‘header bars’.
  4. Plot the exam date for each subject on the timetable.
  5. Then below each subject heading, add the smaller topics that make up the whole subject. E.g. for English Literature A Level, select one of the books and break it down to cover:
    • Overview of the whole story
    • Understanding of each character (this could be sub divided further by character)
    • Key actions within the story
    • Add other bite-sized elements that are relevant to the subject
    • Be realistic about the time you have to revise, and how much you can achieve in the allotted time. If you only have 1 hour free on a Monday, 4 hours free on a Tuesday, 2 hrs free on a Wednesday and 3 hours free on a Thursday, you may choose to study for half of that free time each day, and ensure you have Friday night completely free of revision. You can also break the time you study into smaller pieces depending on how you prefer to study e.g. 2 hours broken down into 3 x half hour slots, with a 10 minute break in between to clear your mind and have a drink before continuing. This can really help your information retention. 

To help you even more, Mix96 and University Campus Aylesbury Vale have made a downloadable Revision guide that you can personalise and print out! 

Revision Guide (xlsx)

You can also listen to our podcast on planning for revision here

Remove Distractions

Having planned the time to your exams, it’s time to get on with it!

  1. Create a revision space. Whether it’s your bedroom or another room, having a dedicated space purely for revision is advisable.
  2. De-clutter that space. To ensure you have no distractions, remove all ‘stuff’ that is not relevant to your studies. It’s amazing how distracting old newspapers and magazines can be!
  3. Turn TVs off, and put your mobile in a different room, when you are revising. Spending a shorter, more dedicated period of time with no distractions, on revision will focus your attention more and ensure better retention of information, especially when you give yourself regular breaks too. Some people revise well with background music, others need quiet, so do what is best for you. The internet has the history of everything, ever! And is a huge distraction. Try to do as much revision without it as possible and use notes and books wherever you can. That way you won’t get tempted to read emails, check out football scores etc.
  4. Ensure other family members know when you are revising so they do not disturb you.
  5. Trying to revise when tired, hungry or thirsty is also distracting so look after yourself:
    • Eat well
    • Drink water regularly
    • Exercise
    • Get plenty of sleep


picture of books and pens


Your Revision Style

  1. You may find that you retain information better when you:
    • read it
    • visualise it in mind maps and images
    • hear it via an audio revision guide, or by recording yourself and playing it back
    • are physically involved with the topic e.g. experiments

The best way to learn is often through a combination of all four to enhance your learning and retention of that information even more.

  1. When are you most mentally alert? Some people learn better first thing in the morning; others late at night. It is worth acknowledging this and planning your revision accordingly, as you will be more productive. Talk to your family about this too so they know you may sleep late and revise in the afternoon and evening, or be up early to revise and then allow yourself free time later in the day.

Tips to Help it Stick

  1. Revision Cards: List key bullet points about each topic on handy cards to make them easier to remember.
  2. Flash Cards: Create questions on one side and answers on the other. If you agree to do this with some friends, you can quiz each other once a week on topics that you have revised separately that week.
  3. Crosswords: Similarly, create crosswords to test yourself and your friends.
  4. Past papers: Having revised a topic, take a look at past papers to see how questions are asked and what sorts of questions are being asked. This provides the opportunity to discuss questions with teachers if you have any concerns about how they are phrased.
  5. Rewards: Set yourself some goals and reward yourself. Revision needs to be balanced and if you have a programme you never miss, keep it in your routine and build revision around it. This can be the reward for working, and also means you don’t get distracted by thinking about what you are missing during revision.
  6. Mind maps: Draw what you’ve learnt in a visual way that acts as a poster to remind you of your learning first thing in the morning and last thing before you go to bed.
  7. Reminder Notes: If you are struggling with remembering something specific, create notes to stick on the bathroom mirror to mentally read through every morning and evening while cleaning your teeth. Other handy places to post revision notes are on the cupboard above the kettle, on the back of the bathroom or bedroom door, or on the fridge.
  8. Create acronyms: If there is a specific list of points to remember, memorise them using individual letters that create a memorable word e.g. Goals are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timed - By just remembering that ‘all goals are SMART’ you know there are five things in the list and you know the start letter of each point.
  9. Present: Give your family a presentation on what you have learned. This helps to demonstrate you know your subject.
  10. Directions: To save time searching for specific pieces of information:
      • Use sticky tabs to refer to relevant pages
      • Highlight headings
      • Bullet point lists
      • Number points to remember
      • Colour code your work with sticky notes and tabs
      • Use different colour pens



sleep in study

The night before an exam:

Don’t study late until the night. By now you should be confident about your subject and have revision cards and flash cards to read through before you go to bed.

Remember to set your alarm to give you plenty of time in the morning and get a good night’s sleep!

 On the day of the exam:

Get up as soon as your alarm goes off. Shower, dress, have breakfast and then read through your revision cards one last time.

If your exam is in the afternoon again ensure you’ve showered and had something to eat so you arrive for the exam both physically and mentally prepared.


Good luck!