Revision is something that all of us will have to do at some point in our lives. From revising for GCSEs to studying to earn a doctorate, we all have to do some kind of revision. However, did you know that revision has several definitions besides studying for exams? Both writing and law have their own definitions of revision. So, with that in mind, just what is revision? We have all the answers! Whether you’re trying to practise for your A Levels or are revising for your GCSEs, we have the definitive answer to ‘what is revision’, plus some helpful techniques to ensure that you reach your learning goals.
We will explore the following:
What Is Revision?
Asking ‘what is revision’ may seem a little silly. However, the word revision has several different meanings depending on the context, including learning, writing and law. So, the definition of revision adapts and changes depending on how and where it’s used. However, each definition has something in common: looking again and reviewing something you have previously written or studied. The goals of doing so include committing this information to memory or changing and improving it. Although in this article we will be discussing revision in a studying sense, here are the definitions of revision in other contexts.
What Is Revision In Writing?
If revision is the act of reviewing information, how does this relate to writing? Well, revision in writing is the process an author takes of editing their writing, including adding, rewriting, editing and removing words, sentences and paragraphs. Depending on the writer’s habits, they may do this while they are writing it or after they have completed the first draft.
However, revision in writing may also relate to how the text is structured and organised. This includes the tone and if it’s suitable for the target audience, and if you have adequately covered the intended main topics of the text.
In short, you can break down revising in a writing sense into three simple questions:
- Does the writing make sense?
- Is the writing clear?
- Have you provided enough information to communicate and describe ideas, but not too much so as to go off topic?
- Does the writing flow logically?
What Is Revision In Law?
On the other hand, when it comes to the law, the definition of revision is a bit more specific. Commonly, revision in law is when legal proceedings conducted by a low court are re-examined by a higher court. The purpose, of course, is to ensure that the law is followed and any perversion of justice is avoided.
However, ‘what is revision in law’ may also relate to:
- Repealing now invalid enactments to allow the preparation and publishing of amended editions of laws and statutes
- The preparation of an amended edition of laws and statutes
- The printing of an amended edition of laws and statutes
What Is Revision In Studying?
Revision in studying is the act of looking over information that you already know or lessons that you’ve already taken. The goal of revision for studying is to re-examine and review your lesson materials, usually to help you pass exams and tests. However, there are several ways to approach revision while studying.
The Importance of Revising
No matter the type of revision that you are doing, the importance of revising is indisputable. For example, if you’re prepping for a test, revision is vital to ensuring that you receive the marks you want. Here’s why revising is important in all senses of the word:
- Revising helps you recall the topics, details and techniques you studied and learnt when necessary
- Revising helps you build confidence in the tasks and techniques you have studied
- Revising helps you discover your strengths, weaknesses and overall knowledge in these subjects
- Timely revision for studying helps relieve anxiety when it comes to taking an exam
- Revising ensures students are well-prepared for examinations
How To Revise
Cambridge Dictionary defines the word revise in the context that we are discussing here as: ‘to study again something you have already learned, in preparation for an exam.’ This broad definition covers many revision techniques. From the classic flashcards to the oddly named blurting, there are so many revision methods and techniques that can help you if you’re questioning how to revise. Here are five techniques that you can try to help you study.
Flashcards are one of the most popular methods of revision and also one of the most creative and engaging. Essentially, flashcards are small cards that contain vital bits of information. On each flashcard, you should write down ‘bitesize’ chunks of information relating to sub categories and subtopics about a certain subject so you can revise and look over them easily. Of course, you can make flashcards yourself and add certain images or colours that you think will help you remember, but you can also buy flashcards ready to write on.
One popular way of creating flashcards is to have a question on one side and the answer on the other. This way, you can ask yourself the question, do your best to answer it correctly, and then turn the card over to check if you got the right answer. However, there are several other ways of creating flashcards, or you can try a brand new technique for yourself.
Blurting is a great technique to pinpoint all the areas that you are struggling with in a certain subject or topic. It’s also a more interesting spin on simply reading through textbooks and making notes, which can be quite time-consuming and not so beneficial. Instead, blurting involves reading quickly through a textbook or your notes, putting them aside and then writing down everything you can remember. Revising this way helps you see what information you can remember well and which parts you may need to pay some extra attention to.
Studying alone can be tiresome, but study groups have been shown to help! Bringing people together who are all studying for the same test or topic can help you motivate yourself to study, and you may learn new things from the other people in your study group. Plus, group revision can be as intense as you desire. For example, if the exam is quite close, you may want to study individually but in the same room, which can be surprisingly beneficial since everyone around you is in the same boat.
70% of students have said that studying in a group increases their motivation, so if maintaining your inspiration is difficult while studying alone, try studying with other people.
Mind maps are another creative approach to revising that can break topics down and make them more manageable. With a mind map, you can fit all the relevant topics and subjects under one umbrella term, narrowing down large amounts of content, so you are left with only the essential information. Plus, creating a mind map gives you the opportunity to make it colourful and visual to help you remember important details. It’s best to use colours when creating mind maps and other revision resources since our brains are capable of associating colours with certain facts.
Finishing Past Papers
Taking exams can cause a lot of stress and anxiety that sometimes revision can’t help. In these cases, you may find finishing past papers more beneficial to you. Going through past papers can help you update your knowledge and get used to the setup of an exam paper. By giving yourself the proper exam conditions and timings, you can also be prepared for the environment you will be in while sitting the exam.
Following the completion of any past papers, it’s vital that you go back through to mark and correct your answers. This way, you can see where in your revision you may need to improve and the areas in which you already have good levels of knowledge.
Helpful Revision Resources
Fortunately, revising is a lot easier today than it was several years ago. Now, we have access to the Internet and useful online learning courses to help us get ahead with revision. If you are struggling with your revision, here are some other online resources that you can visit for assistance and guidance:
What Is Revision?: In Summary
Although the answer to ‘what is revision’ changes depending on the context, we hope you have a better understanding after digesting this information. Whether you’re an author trying to revise your writing, a law student hoping to better understand the terminology, or a student trying to get through their exams, understanding revision and its importance will be so beneficial.
Revision is important because the process helps to consolidate information and learning how to retain knowledge towards a particular subject. Knowing how to revise will also assist in identifying areas of weakness and where you can improve in certain aspects.
You can begin revising at any time, but this can depend on the individual and the subject matter at hand, especially since certain subjects are more complicated than others, and everyone has different ways of revising and knowledge techniques. Learning to space out your revision times equally, as well as starting as early as possible to prevent rushing your revision at the last minute.
This is another variable factor, and how much time you spend revising is entirely up to you. Depending how in-depth you want to go with your revision during a session, it is still good to break it up into 20-30 minute intervals between focused sessions. If you mix up your revision time per day, this may help to retain knowledge for longer too.
Cambridge English Dictionary. (n.d.). Revise. Cambridge University Press. Retrieved March 9, 2023, from https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/revise
Smith, R. A. (2019, May 22). What students can learn from studying together. Faculty Focus. Retrieved March 9, 2023, from https://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/course-design-ideas/what-students-can-learn-from-studying-together/