Special Education · Study Skills


Another blog in the study skills series.


It’s as important not to overload yourself as it is not to leave thing to the last moment…

Start by working for 20 to 50 minutes at a time

  • less and you won’t have enough time to get stuck in and learn meaningfully, more and you’ll risk exhausting yourself

You could start with 20 minutes of reading, watching or listening on day one.

Gradually increase the time and content to combine reading with writing or other ways of recoding and reviewing your learning.

Once you have begun to develop a study habit, try this when learning something for the first time:

The 20/20/20 timed technique

20 minutes of reading, selecting key words/facts before taking a break

20 minutes learning the key words/facts using a memorising technique such as the one described above, followed by another short break

20 minutes recording what you have learned in your preferred style, for example as summary notes, a mind-map, or flashcards


It’s all too easy to get too busy for revision, especially if exams seem a long way off.

Build some basic revision into your weekly routine from the start of the academic year.

Whatever your regular schedule of academic tasks and sporting or social commitments looks like, try to find three to five days when you can spare at least half an hour at some point, and write it into your calendar or study timetable.

Like so many things in life, revision gets easier with practice.

Exam preparation

When revising for an important exam, try to work for longer periods.

Spend up to 50 minutes at a time on each topic or task.

Don’t forget to give yourself breaks between subjects!

  • Do something fun or creative to unwind and relax, so that your brain is ready for the next session.

A break of 10 to 20 minutes is ideal to recharge without becoming distracted and going off-topic.


Once you have started to learn or revise something, you need to keep it fresh, or you risk forgetting important details.

Re-read books, lecture notes or handouts, review key facts and terminology regularly, use your mind-maps, flashcards and posters.

Try not to leave things out just because you’ve learnt them for earlier tests – especially if your exam includes work learnt last term, or last year.

Practise, rehearse and revise most frequently whenever you start to learn something new.

As you become more confident, you can spread your revision sessions for each topic further apart, giving you time for other, harder or newer topics.

When you become really confident, add new and more complex information.

This will help you to connect familiar learning and knowledge with new material and more sophisticated concepts.

Always try to keep time in your schedule for familiar topics to refresh your knowledge ahead of exams.

More blogs related to reading and writing can be found here
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Further reading:

Bircher, R. (2014) Revise GCSE: Study Skills Guide. London:Pearson.

Hargreaves, S. and Crabb, J. (eds) (2016) Study Skills for Students with Dyslexia: Support for Specific Learning Differences, 3rd Edition. London:Sage.

Kirby, A. (2013) How to Succeed in College or University; a Guide for Students, Educators and Parents. London: Souvenir Press.


One thought on “Revision

  1. This is a fantastic article especially the 20/20/20 technique! I privately tutor and assess in the Pembrokeshire area and this is a highly successful strategy for my dyslexic students! Really informative and bang up
    to date too! Thanks for this

    Liked by 1 person

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