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Revision and Study Tips


Check out these study tips and resources for young men at all year levels.

Preparing for Examinations

It is important to know what approaches to study are effective and which are not effective - after all, you don't want to spend precious time with activities that will provide you with little benefit.  These posters provide a succinct summary of what works and what does not.

Revision - 10 Rules of Good Studying — Image by: PNBHS
Revision - 10 Rules of Bad Studying

Learning something new - whether it's a date for a History examination, how to solve a Mathematics equation or a skill like driving a car - involves moving information from our short-term memory to our long-term memory. Some approaches are more effective than others in helping with this process. The infographic below summarises research-proven methods for moving information from our short-term memory into our long-term memory, an essential skill to master.

Revision - Memory — Image by: The Education Hub

Often beating procrastination and getting started with your study can be a challenge.  The 'Pomodoro Technique', which breaks study down into manageable chunks, is a great way of getting started.  The 'Pomodoro technique' is explained in this brief video and the graphic below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNBmG24djoY&t=267s 

Revision - Pomodoro Technique

Learning How To Learn For Youth 

This free course (4 - 5 hours work in total in a self-paced format) will benefit all young men. "Based on the most popular open online course in the world, this course gives you easy access to the learning techniques used by experts in art, music, literature, math, science, sports, and many other disciplines. No matter what your current skill level, using these approaches can help you master new topics, change your thinking and improve your life.

Thecourse explains:
* Why sometimes letting your mind wander is an important part of the learning process
* How to avoid "rut think" in order to think outside the box
* The value of metaphors in developing understanding
* A simple, yet powerful, way to stop procrastinating


Study Plan

Having a study plan helps you to be organised, allocate your time appropriately and can help you to conquer procrastination.

Click here to find out how and why you should organise your time: https://studytime.co.nz/help/timetabling-options-for-the-busy-student/ 

Best Practice Study Techniques 

Cognitive science research has identified six key strategies that students can be taught to use in order to study and learn more effectively.

Spaced practice

It is more effective to spread out studying over time rather than doing it all at once. For example, it is better to spend an hour a day studying maths from Monday to Friday than to spend five hours on it on Monday. Spreading out your learning helps you to remember what you have learned for longer.

Retrieval practice

Retrieval practice involves remembering something you have learnt in the past and bringing it back to mind. This helps to consolidate the memory and makes it easier to remember next time it is needed. You should use retrieval practice to review past learning before learning something new. Tests and quizzes (including creating these for yourself) are easy ways of doing this.  


Elaboration refers to describing and explaining something you have learnt. It is effective because you need to understand something deeply in order to be able to explain it. You can use elaboration by trying to create the explanation yourself before checking your notes to see if it is correct. It is also helpful to make links between the ideas you are currently learning and your existing knowledge.


Rather than focusing on learning one idea for a long time, it is better to switch between them. For example, rather than working on one type of maths problem for half an hour, you should do five problems of one type and then five of another. Interleaving is effective because noticing connections and differences between different ideas helps to strengthen your understanding of them.

Concrete Examples

It is easier to remember concrete examples than abstract information. If you are trying to learn about an abstract concept, it can help to find several real-life examples. For example, when learning about forces in physics, you might consider concrete situations like a car accelerating and braking.

Dual Coding

Dual coding refers to combining words with pictures or diagrams. Presenting information in this way can make it easier to understand and give you more ways of remembering it. It could be as simple as drawing a chart or a doodle in your notes. For example, if you are trying to learn some key dates for a history exam, it might help to put the events on a timeline. There is also evidence that writing out notes by hand helps you to understand and remember the content better, particularly if you try to put things into your own words and use drawings or diagrams alongside the written text.

Using these evidence-based strategies and techniques for studying will lead to deeper learning and long-term retention, rather than the superficial understanding and short-term retention that re-reading and highlighting notes promotes. However, many of these approaches require you to work consistently and regularly, rather than doing all you work in one go.  To be successful you should space out your revision over a longer period of time rather than rely on last-minute 'cramming'.

NCEA Study

The StudyIt website provides resources and support in English mathematics and the sciences at NCEA Level One, Two and Three.  Click here for details.

If you are studying at NCEA level the NZQA website contains a wealth of information, all organised by subject:  https://www.nzqa.govt.nz/ncea/subjects/ 

The information below provides tips on how to make the most of these resources. 

How to Make the Most of the NZQA Website — Image by: Gerard Atkin
How to Make the Most of the NZQA Website — Image by: Gerard Atkin
How to Make the Most of the NZQA Website — Image by: Gerard Atkin