The Three Layer revision technique is my own expansion of prof Dunlovsky’s “Distributed Practice” (Note: I highly recommend you read “The Most Effective Revision Techniques – How to Study Smarter, Not Harder!” before this blog)
Layer One (Between 4-2 months before exams) – Understanding
In layer one we aim to really understand and get to grips with our subject. We might use techniques like “Elaborative interrogation” and “Self-explanation”.
Layer one can look like:
- Rereading all your topics in as much detail as possible
- Reading and researching beyond the curriculum, especially in the areas that most interest you
- Group discussions and explaining concepts between classmates
- Creating notes – especially mind maps, posters and models
- Spending long amounts on a single topic to really understand your subject
- Researching real-life examples to theories
- Making flash cards, quizzes and Kahoot to use in later layers
Layer Two (Between 2 months – 3 weeks before exams) – Memorising
Layer Two is more about getting the key facts, figures and concepts into your head. This stage replies heavily on active learning and “practice testing.
Layer two can look like:
- Using active learning techniques like mnemonics
- Do closed book questions and marking them
- Writing down everything you know about a topic and fill out what you missed in another colour
- Peer testing and marking
- Actively using the flashcards and quizzes created in layer one
Layer Three (Between 3 weeks before the exams) – Practicing
At this point, you should be in a good place with revision. Layer three is your last effort to get extra marks.
Layer three can look like:
- Full, timed closed book practice tests
- Read the examiner specifications
- Rereading old essays and improving on them
- Looking after your health and getting some rest!