Tips For Revision The NLP Way
Find a suitable, quiet and well-lit place to work in. Preferably with enough space to allow movement and where you have a table or desk and chair so you are able to do some writing as well. It is ideal if you have such a space at home but if this is not possible then studying at your local library might be an option.
First and foremost draw up a timetable. List the subjects that you have to revise and check the number of days that you have available for revision. Allocate a number of days per subject depending on the subject load and then allocate a certain number of hours per topic per subject. In NLP we call this chunking down, breaking things into bits. This is important because for you to process information it needs to be in chunks of the right size. Here is a great way to diffuse that overwhelming sensation that you have when you are faced with a huge task such as revising for your exams. When a huge task is broken down into smaller chunks, it becomes more manageable and as you work through your timetable you will finish the huge task that seemed to be overwhelming earlier, in no time at all.
Set realistic goals especially when you plan your revision timetable. Your revision plan should be something you can stick to daily. Plan in your breaks and meal times. It is important to set realistic and achievable targets each day, which you can tick as you finish. This gives a good feeling and a sense of achievement and propels you on to the next target. Achieving your small targets or set goals is motivating, adds to your confidence and this in turn puts you in a positive state, something that is extremely important in NLP as the next point will outline.
Get yourself into a positive state. When you are feeling happy, relaxed and positive, learning becomes easier and more fun. Being in an agitated and anxious state makes learning hard and you are less likely to retain what you have learnt. Using NLP to put yourself in a positive state involves using your senses. One great way is to make a future movie of yourself having passed your exams. Perhaps you are celebrating with your friends. You are both the star and director of this movie. As the director of your movie make any necessary changes to make it more powerful and compelling. Perhaps add colour, sounds and happy noises. Close your eyes and transport yourself to the future: see what you can see, hear what you can hear and feel what you can feel at the end of the successful completion of your exams. Doing this exercise is also great to get your motivation back. It reminds you of your ultimate goal, the goal beyond the goal — the benefits you stand to gain on passing your exams. This can be exciting and energising.
Peripheral vision: In life we very much see things in a kind of tunnel vision. We focus on one thing and we tend to ignore everything else around it. To understand this think of when you are watching TV, on your computer or I-pad, or reading a book. You tend to just see the screen or the page and you are totally unaware of what else is happening in the room around you. This kind of vision also goes with an inner tunnel vision where we tend to focus or get fixated on a problem or issue and tend not to notice the other possibilities surrounding it. This can often lead to worry, anxiety and even panic attacks. NLP teaches a technique that helps to expand our vision to the periphery, to what is happening at the edges. This is what we call peripheral vision. This helps to slow down negative internal dialogue, achieve a calm and relaxed state that is more conducive to learning and retaining information. This is how it is done: sit somewhere where there is movement going on around you such as a park or café. Look at a point straight ahead but without focusing. Without moving your eyes to the right or left, become aware of what is happening around you. Take in your full field of vision simultaneously. Soon you’ll start recognising the movements around you. Repeat this exercise regularly in order to improve your peripheral vision.
Incorporate your learning style. Take a good look at yourself and determine whether you are you a visual, auditory or kinaesthetic learner? A visual learner needs to see things in order to learn them. An auditory needs to hear it first and a kinaesthetic needs to feel it. If you are visual then it helps to make notes or mind maps using different colour markers. Also putting up posters with information around your room for you to look at is also useful. For the auditory learner, reciting or even recording your own voice so you can play it later might be helpful. For the kinaesthetic learner, writing down notes, which involves using your body, and walking around the room, while you recite, can help. Some people, like my daughters, find it useful to do all three. If you are a morning person then get up early and make the most of the early hours. Alternatively if you are a night person then get up later and work later into the evening hours. In any case make sure to get enough sleep, as this is necessary to integrate what you have learnt. Some people find that it helps to discuss what they have learnt with someone else. Using rhymes or mnemonics can be useful to trigger your memory.
Apart from sleep and healthy eating, physical activity is very important. Exercise offers a change of scenery to sitting down all day in your room. The fresh air and oxygen is invigorating. If you are organised and disciplined there is no reason why you can’t keep doing your sporting activities alongside your revision. Factor this in your timetable.
My last tip is directed at parents…
Help your child by creating the ideal environment in which they can revise. I personally do not host any guests during my children’s revision and exam times. I feel it is unfair and distracting to have people around when my daughters are working hard and exercising discipline. Give your kids healthy meals, snacks and fresh drinks. It is a time to pamper and not scold. Often students feel extremely stressed and under pressure so I feel that it is important as parents to make sure that our kids feel loved, understood and supported in this overwhelming time. Exercise some tolerance of mood swings. Be there to listen to their worries and help diffuse those worries by showing them a different perspective. Listen to them discussing what they have learnt as it helps them integrate it. And in those moments when they are so tired and overwhelmed, give them a shoulder to cry on and remind them that it is but an exam, not a matter of life or death. Remind them of their earlier successes so you can reinforce their positive belief in their abilities and remind them that they can only do their best and their best is good enough.