The science of studying

Exam season can be a stressful time of year whether it’s Key Stage 2 SATs or a PhD. Read on below for five ways that can help your revise effectively and hopefully ace those exams!


1.    Little and often

You’ve probably heard this phrase before but it really does work! Try and cap your sessions to no longer than half an hour.

The science:  The human brain’s synapses processes information in smaller doses than in larger chunks.


2.    Don’t do an all-nighter

Working through the night is a no no if you can avoid it for the simple reason that the tired you will be less able to revise effectively than an alert you. That said there has been research that working just before your normal bedtime can help you remember things.

The science: Cramming all your revision in simply doesn’t work. Your brain is much better at soaking up information during the day when it’s at its peak.


3.    Eat brain food

Fish, nuts and olive oil are all good to eat to keep your brain on top form. Plus, I don’t know about you but if I’m hungry, I can’t think of anything else apart from food!

The science: The human brain loves fatty acids like Omega-3 as they help it function. Get eating those salmon, seeds and sardines!


4.    Review material within 24 hours

It’s been scientifically proven that if you look at new information again within 24 hours of learning, you’ll retain 80 per cent more of it. So after a lecture or after school’s out, have a quick check of your work before getting all social in the evening.

The science: The brain is a great tool but if you don’t tell it to remember stuff, more often than not it won’t! Scientists know it as the ‘curve of forgetting’.


5.    Be the teacher

Teaching someone else what you’ve learned is one of the best ways of memory retention. Repetition is good and will help your brain retrieve more vital nuggets of information like the only British Prime Minister to ever be assassinated.*

The science: Known as the Protégé Effect, your brain orders knowledge in a simple list when it wants to teach it, making it easily accessible when exam time rolls around.

The science of revision


Good luck in all your exams everyone!


*Spencer Perceval since you ask.