University Life

/ 1 year ago /

 Article by Lydia Wilkins

How to use colour to ‘up’ your revision

If you’re like me, when it comes to revision you’ll use a lot of colour. At college, I was the student who’d arrive to lesson arrayed with a variety of highlighters; my Filofax, the ultimate organisation tool, was colour coded within an inch of its life. Be it appointments, blog posts, revision slots, when homework was due, it was bright and colourful. How can you ‘colour up’ your revision, to learn better? This can hopefully be used to avoid five exam pitfalls.

The key words and statements

Are you the type of learner who starts with the basic key words and statements? Same here.

When speaking to a spokesman from Pilot Pens, he indicated that although there is no official research “using different ink colours to highlight key words and statements definitely helps in remembering key points. Vibrant colours such as orange, violet and green provide a strong visual indicator that you are looking at a key point and will help in remembering it.”

Like a traffic light, colour can draw attention to the details that you need to know (green? Good to go!)

colour revision

Colour code the topic

When it came to my A-levels, I adored all the topics I had decided to study. The problem was with the different units; German history was ‘my thing’, but who really cared about the Tudors and their taxes?

I’d take a unit at a time, and colour code it with my packs of highlighters. The parts I didn’t understand as well would be highlighted in the brightest colour – I personally liked red the most – to go over it, again, and again, and again. The parts that needed reinforcing were my ‘amber’, the bits ticked off the ‘green’. It ultimately helped me be more productive, too.

Recommended buy: pastel highlighters from Paperchase.

Go by mood

These days, I also use the same tactic in a way to do with mood. Revision is not one of the most enjoyable things to do – and it can be so boring! These days, when there’s something like that, I use my favourite colour to highlight; that way, it seems almost like a reward for when I’ve finally ‘got it’. It also makes the experience of getting rejected as a writer almost enjoyable. Putting a gummy bear on each section makes it more of an enjoyable experience, too.

Papier had this fascinating piece, exploring the psychology of colourful stationery; we all know how green can be associated with jealousy and envy, but maybe this particular use of colour could help your revision?

Use it to recall dates

Dates are not my thing. Surely we should be looking at the bigger picture after all? Unfortunately, sometimes exams rely a lot on knowing the dates of things. If you write your notes out to revise, consider having a particular colour for a particular section for dates; maybe colour code dates you need to know particularly.

Recommended buy: Stabilo fine-liners, available from most retailers.


Use it in lectures

Lectures can be… well, challenging at times. Enough so that we have a list of stationery perfect for lecturers; they’re sure to make it far more interesting!

When it comes to note-taking, when we look back at notes from months ago, it can seem really off-putting; besides, we may not necessarily understand our handwriting, what we meant at the time, etc.

If you have a variety of differently coloured pens, this can sometimes make note-taking a lot more specific, as well as tidy. (Or is that just me?) It also makes the notes look far more interesting; when you come back to it, revision may seem a lot less boring.

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