Revising for Grown Ups

imageOn a cloud of confidence after my exam triumph in June, I instantly booked myself another one. The textbook arrived today and weighs in at a whopping three centimetres thick. It’s a beast and I’m afraid of it. I’m vaguely confident I’ve assimilated some base knowledge on the job but the fear spouts from my long forgotten natural inability to revise. It’s a concern.

I don’t remember being so bad at it when I was a young ‘un and I genuinely love learning new things. I’m an obsessive type who likes to read and assimilate all of the things about any subject you stick in front of me – it’s why I know lots about Fred West, dogs anal glands and what happens to the waste on a cruise liner. So why oh why does this not extend to career enhancing knowledge? I have a theory.

When I was 16 (going on 17) there was a whole wide world out there, exams then were just a stepping stone to a new adventure. Not too much pressure. I didn’t want to be the kid who had to re-take but it wasn’t the end of the world if that were the case. (FYI I was a straight A-er, no retakes here possums. Smug face). I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, where my place would be in the world and so, being the consumer of facts that I was – a bit like Francis Dollarhyde trying to turn into the Red Dragon by eating the painting. Sort of. – any new bit of knowledge was a gift, a treat without strings attached. And at 16 (going on 17) I couldn’t get enough of that. The kind kids called me ‘geek’, the mean ones ‘an expletive-that-rhymes-with-lanky-loser’.

Now? Now any new knowledge gained is in direct enhancement of my career. A career that I’ve very recently chosen. A career that superseded the one I’d spent an inadvertent decade building. And that’s a scary prospect. The pressure of NEEDING to retain something is tricky to overcome, for my perverse little brain anyway. And when that something is fairly complex, technical information, my mind tank goes into preservation mode. It powers down and hibernates whilst my body eats all of the cake and watches Netflix of its own accord. As a master procrastinator and a card carrying grown up, it also doesn’t help that my to do list outside of learning is ridiculous.

However, this next exam is a biggie so in stark contrast to my natural leanings I’ll be knuckling down, blocking out the universe and getting on with it.

I have my post-it’s and a selection of jaunty pens, my monster revision guide and will be attempting to take my own advice which is:


The end.

Any foolproof techniques for shutting out adulting and learning stuff? I’m open to all suggestions.

Being a Human Being
Being More Dog
  • Saskia

    Oh God, I fear we’re in this together. I have 2 exams in a month and I have barely..done..any..revision. I think it’s harder when we’re adults because 1. no parents, 2. there’s no other kids to compete with, 3. revising in libraries as an adult is just wrong.

    Techniques? Rewards. Lots of rewards for minimal revision. Half hour done? Whole cake. One hour done? Piece of clothing. I’m going to be a very fat, very fashionable person by the end of this.

    Saskia /

  • It’s so hard isn’t it? I know what you mean completely. I was pretty bad at revising as a teen, I think everyone is. I’m going back to university in October so I’m with you on all of this.

    I do have a tip though, that I found really helpful for NaNoWriMo. Stickers. Stickers still motivate me today like they did when I was 6. So when I met my word count for the day, I would put a sticker on the calendar. It’s amazing that dinosaur stickers make you actually want to write 1,500 words a day. So I’m going to get myself some funky stickers for revision and keeping on top of things.

  • Kerri

    Dollarhyde died though, didn’t he? According to the Hannibal season finale he did.

    So I guess this means once you’ve absorbed all the info you will be struck down my an axe wielding cannibal.

  • Rachael

    I’m not looking forward to having to revise all things American for whenever I get around to applying for citizenship. A goldfish has a better memory then me at times …

  • completely empathise here, I have a deep suspicion that my procrastination is borne out of some subconscious fear of failure, so that should it happen I claim not to have really tried my hardest anyway. Or maybe I’m just easily distractible! good luck with the new textbook! x

  • I’ve got nothin’. I am supposed to be studying sparkling (wine, although other sparkling things would be more fun) and here I am doing some long overdue blog reading.

    I really do want to know what you do, there can’t be that many techniques associated with beard trimming of just the one man…

  • Jesska

    Make a game for it! Any exam I’ve done well in is all because of one thing…making quiz cards. You learn by writing them out, you learn by getting them wrong then increasingly more right, and they stick in your head! Tricky for points that need loadsss of explaining, but at least you can bullet point the main bits. Helps if you get someone funny to ask you the questions, the humour makes it stick in your head more! xxx

  • Bloody right you are too, I need a parent to tell me what to do. Almost constantly I think.
    I’m liking this reward system though, we can be oversized, over-clothed geniuses together.
    Good luck to you lady (and happy London living!)

  • Oooh what are you studying? Very good luck to you m’lady.
    And yes, yes, yes – I NEED STICKERS! On it.

  • Aaah but did he really die? (Yeah, he did).
    Good point. Well made.

  • I firmly believe that our brains just go to mush and we should stop learning stuff at 21. 22 at a push.
    Good luck on knowing all things US of A. I desperately want it to be questions like: if you get sent to prison for a nickel, when will you get out? But i suspect it will need you to know more than what you can assimilate from crappy American TV. Sad times.

  • Thanks lovely Katie, I’m a hundred percent certain my procrastination is fear related…that doesn’t make it easier to overcome!
    M x

  • Blogging is the absolute scourge of the reviser. The Reviser – that would be the WORST tv show in the world!
    And I’ll have you know that the knowledge required to trim the bearded one is both deep and intricate.
    Super good luck with all things winey.

  • I MUST DO THIS! Need to rope in a comedian.
    Making the quiz cards would be fun though, I have so many coloured pens and a desperate need to do anything but the thing I should be doing. Bonus.
    M x

  • I’m going to be studying Forensic Science 😀

    Stickers are the best, especially if you can find some sparkly ones.