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The effect of revision and practice

2 min read
  • Retrieval Practice
  • Study skills & exam prep

How much difference does revision make? How far can natural ability take you? As students up and down the country are currently entering in to their most intense period of revision, these are interesting questions to take? Essentially, how much impact does the quantity and quality of revision and practice have?

Effective revision

We now know that not all revision techniques are equal. Some are far more effective than others. For example, research suggests re-reading or highlighting are unlikely to be that effective. This is because they don’t make you think. Getting information into your long term memory is all about having to think deeply about the content.

Studies have shown that an effective revision strategy can help explain up to 30% difference in how well people do in their final exam.  So what are the most effective revision strategies to help improve memory?

  • Tests
  • Past Papers
  • Quizzes
  • Spacing Out Your Revision
  • Interleaving (which is like mixing up what you do, instead of doing it in one long block)
  • Teaching the material to someone else (once you have a base knowledge)
  • Asking why this is true (often referred to as ‘elaborate interrogation)
  • Getting plenty of sleep
Boost your students’ study skills and give them the best chance at academic success, with an evidence-informed workshop.

How much better can you get?

Whatever the exact number is, it’s clear that both quantity and quality of revision makes a difference. Work ethic makes a difference. Practice makes a difference. A great example of this can be found on the website ‘Draw This Again’, which encouraged artists to redo their old pictures from years before. The results are pretty stunning.

Effective Revision


Effective revision owl


Effective Revision


Best of luck to all students revising. We hope you smash your exams!  For more information on how to maximise your revision time take a look at our page Best Ways to Revise, where you’ll find links to blogs and research.