From Panic to Power: Useful Revision Techniques & Exam Aids

This is one for all you stressed scholars and panicked pupils  out there!  Yes, it’s that time of the academic year again – when GCSEs and A-Levels loom large.  Before you can say, “save my exams” or endure the hell of your parents or teachers start shouting, like an angry Shakespeare, "Thou shalt get revising!" we thought we’d take a quick look at the best ways to become a master of the essential arts of good preparation and how to revise.  Grab a cuppa, take a brief break from the puzzling world of Pythagoras and his troublesome triangles, and discover how a good academic planner, aka a notebook, can make all the difference:

The Best Daily Planner

When it comes to the best exam prep tools, never overlook the humble note book.  This is because a sturdy hardback notebook is a brilliant weapon for acing those evil exams.  

But why, you may wonder, in an era of the ubiquitous digital device, should you opt for the classic pen and paper route?  Well, notebooks never suffer from a drained battery, they require no software updates, and they never interrupt your study flow with pesky notifications about Aunt Edna’s latest cat escapade on TikTok.  Even better, it’s been scientifically proven that the physical act of writing things down by hand helps memory retention.  So, whilst typing might appear faster, your uniquely swirly, quirky handwriting could be the secret sauce that saves your grades.

The first step is choosing the right journal notebook for your revision.  This isn’t merely about selecting the one with the most aesthetically pleasing cover (though gorgeous custom notebooks never hurt anyone’s study mojo).  Rather, it's about discovering a steadfast ally that acts as an inspiration in your ongoing battle against forgetfulness and the perfect place for making good notes. 

The ideal notebook is really a productivity planner, transforming a jumble of random facts into neatly organised, accessible knowledge faster than you can say "mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell."

Firstly, pick the planner dimensions that suit you!  A5 size is smaller, so great for carrying around, whilst B5 size is bigger, which means you can fit more info on each page.  Then decide whether you want prefer dot paper or lined journals. 

Your personalised notebooks are akin to dependable friends: always there when you need them, robust enough to endure a bit of rough handling, and entirely non-judgemental of your occasional doodles during those less-than-thrilling revisingmarathons.  It's a companion that keeps motivational momentum high.

Just remember that the beauty of a blank notebook is that it’s yours to use as you see fit.  There is no rule for how you transform your flat lay pages.  The key is to take the time to plan how best to turn each into a veritable fortress of revision that works best for you.  Because, with each page turned, each section highlighted, each note scribbled, you’re not just studying; by handwriting you're engaging in a tactile experience that enhances your learning, preparing you not just to pass, but to excel in your upcoming exams.

Now, let’s delve a little deeper into useful content for the pages of this revision aid and academic diary:

We suggest that the front pages should act as an at-a-glance survival kit: firstly, a meticulously colour-coded calendar of looming exam dates, then a comprehensive checklist of topics, and perhaps a non-panic-inducing countdown.  Envision it as a Rocky-style montage of you heroically conquering a syllabus, one subject at a time. And think of the visceral thrill as you tick off each completed task.

The benefit of a well-structured notebook cannot be overstated.   You can create specific sections, each one divided by tabs.  We think one of the best ways to make your own - ones that are easily removable too - is to use Washi tape.  In this way you can keep subjects neatly separated yet readily visible and accessible.  

In addition, science has repeatedly shown that colour enhances memory recall – so why not deploy pink washi tape tags for urgent emergencies (like that pesky physics formula that slips your mind), blue washi tape for conveying chilled-out vibes (perfect for revisiting Romantic English poetry), and perhaps green washi tape tags for topics like photosynthesis?

Another favourite way to divide a page is to use margins and tables – a dotted notebook works well for this - as you can customise each page however you want.  This provides an easy to remember, highly visual space, for jotting down quick thoughts or questions to look up later.  

Or, for those who hate revising in a structured way, why not use your notebook to create a colourful, visual mind map covering important topics and key points you need to remember.  All The Ink Pot notebooks have premier paper, which means you can use bold colour, i.e Posca pens – and it won’t bleed through to the other side. 

Oh, and if you’ve ever wondered where to store practice quizzes or prompt cards…..the back pocket in our note books offers a handy storage place!   

Moving on from our trusty notebooks, there are other mighty weapons to arm yourself with in your exam fight: the right tools, AKA, pencils, pens and highlighters.  This arsenal will transform the battlefield of your desk into a strategic command centre.

Pen Heaven

Choosing a pen for exam preparations isn't just about picking any old instrument that leaves marks on the paper!  No, it’s about finding a reliable partner that can endure the marathon of an all-nighter, whose ink flows as smoothly as your stream of consciousness, and whose grip is as comfortable as a favourite pair of old slippers. This choice is critical because pens are a primary weapon in the war on revision.

Our first tip is to choose a primary ink colour that’s easy to read, so you can clearly see every note you’ve made.  Think about it.  Writing in green, or turquoise or yellow might be fun, but if you’re anything like us, you might find yourself squinting trying to re-read what you’ve written.  On the other hand, notes made using good black pens, or blue pens will always stand out. 

But beware!  Not all pens are created equal. Whilst the classic ballpoint pen can be a reliable steed, it’s not always the most dependable in terms of comfort or ink smoothness.  That’s why we favour the gel pen.  It’s comfortable to hold and a really reliable workhorse, capable of delivering hours of glitch-free writing, without faltering.  These pens are also known for their smooth, rich lines, perfect for those who want their notes to glide across the page with the grace of a figure skater.

For those who favour the noble fountain pen, we say this is the choice of the brave!  Whilst they leave wonderful marks on paper, they can also leave marks on clothing - especially if you’re not a careful writer!  They definitely require a steady and careful hand. 

Next, dive into the kaleidoscopic world of colour-coded notes, where every hue is a hero in the saga of your study sessions!  Scientifically speaking, splashing your notes with a spectrum of colours isn’t just making them prettier, it's turbocharging the brain's ability to remember essential info at lightning speed during those crunch-time reviews.

It means you don’t need to settle for monochrome monotony when you can make your notes pop like a fireworks display!  Pick your favourite bold, bright brush pens to bullet point your key arguments.  Or circle crucial points with a daring dash using neon pens. 

And let’s not forget colouring pencils, those trusty sidekicks in your academic adventures.  Our personal champions?  Faber Castell - renowned for their prowess in making the mundane magnificent.  Use them to underline, star, or boxthose nuggets of knowledge that just have to stick.

Now, to highlighters – the instant pointers to crucial information.  Just remember: these tools should be used to accentuate, not overwhelm….because, be warned, over-highlighting is a trap!  Your notebook isn’t a colouring book, so resist the temptation to turn it into a psychedelic art project!

We say use them wisely:  to underscore the key points, the 'must-remembers', and not every single line on the page.  Think of them as the spotlight at your grand play, illuminating the stars of your revision - the critical dates, the essential formulas, and the must-quote lines.

Combining Forces

Together, these tools - the notebook, pens and pencils and highlighters - form the bedrock of exam prep, which can help lead to success.  They're the allies in the war against forgetting; companions in the quest for knowledge, and secret weapons in the battle to ace those papers.

They act like characters in a well-crafted play, each with an important role to perform.  The pen is your narrator, crafting the story of your knowledge on the pages of your favourite A5 planner.  The highlighter, meanwhile, acts like the director, emphasising the critical points that will guide you through the narrative of your revision materials.

With this arsenal in hand, you’re not just prepared; you’re armed and ready!  Exam stress can take a backseat, because these tools are more than just stationery, they are extensions of your will and determination to succeed.  So, plan your strategy, go forth and let battle commence – you’ll soon conquer those exams like the champions you are!