Keep calm and carry on revising! 

By  Lysette Offley

Keep calm and carry on revising - photo of frustrated student

How annoying is it when people tell you to keep calm and carry on revising?

Possibly not at all, if you know how to use your revision time wisely. But your revision strategy is less than perfect, “Keep calm and carry on revising,” is the last thing you want to hear.


  • If you ever find yourself so snowed under the revision you need to do, that you just don’t know where to start
  • If the very thought of exams sends you into a frantic flap
  • Do you don’t have a strategy for surviving overwhelm

…read on!

Because when our bodies enter the stress response we can’t think straight. So to have an effective strategy already in place is invaluable.

Here are some ideas for just that.

1. Take a deep breath!

Seriously! No one can focus when they’re stressed. A few minutes spent taking deep breaths in through the mouth and letting them out through the nose, will help calm you down and make the best of the time you’ve got.

2. Write a revision to-do list

Make a broad-sweep list of all the topics you have to learn.

Group the items in the list according to their themes. You can look at the table of contents in your course manual, to see an overview and help you do this.

This process will allow you to see the size of the challenge. Also, as you begin to pick off the topics and learn them one by one, you’ll be keeping track of your progress. And that feels good. It’s always a good motivator, when you can tangibly measure your success. And of course then you will indeed be able to keep calm and carry on revising, won’t you!!

3. Prioritise

Some of the topics will be more important to learn than others. Maybe you’re less familiar with them and have more work to do, to understand and learn the material. Or perhaps they have a greater weighting in the exam. Or perhaps there are some topics you know for sure will come up in the exam.

Devise a scoring system or order them according to their level of importance.

4. Take action

Picking off one or two of the quicker and easier topics, learning them and then marking them off on your topic list will encourage you to keep going. This is especially important if you tend to procrastinate under pressure.

5. Kick the tough one into touch

After knocking off a couple of easy topics, tackle a more difficult one. Make up your mind to get stuck in – and don’t stop until you’ve finished. You’ll feel great and what’s more, you’ll be motivated to see what’s next.

6. Remove distractions

Make sure you set yourself up for success. Take yourself away from the usual distractions: the TV, telephone, other people, Facebook etc. You know what they are. Save them for later.

7. Reward yourself

Keep calm and carry on revising - image of cartoon elephantTake the time to acknowledge what you’ve achieved so far. This sends a very powerful message to the unconscious mind that you’re on track – that this is the positive direction you’re going now.

Once in a while, give yourself a little treat – an incentive – so you can look forward to enjoying it when you’ve completed the next revision assignment.

When you’re faced with an enormous task just remember: How would you eat an elephant?

One bite at a time!




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Lysette Offley

Genius Maker & Founder of Genius Material and The Genius Principles. Working with professionals who need exceptional academic & professional development.

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