Study Tip – doing effective revision

Effective revision is an essential element of an effective study program. No matter how well you have summarised and understood a topic, without revision you will have forgotten 95% of the information within a month.

Therefore, your study timetable needs to have time allocated to revision. It is recommended to revise a new topic at “one hour, one day, one week, and one month” to limit the rate of forgetting. This is represented on an Ebbinghaus curve, below.


You need to have an organised system for doing this. Various methods are used, for example: an excel spreadsheet, coloured tabs on your index cards, or even just ticks on the top of your study notes.

Revision needs to be more than just passively looking over your notes. You need to actively engage with the material. Doing some SAQ’s is an excellent method, because this not only requires that you retrieve the knowledge from your long term memory, SAQ’s also ensure that you apply / use the knowledge in some way. Solving a problem is a great way of actively learning!!

Another (under-recognised) way of doing revision is to talk about primary material in theatre every day. We are surrounded by pharmacology, physiological alterations, and technology – so there is no excuse for not finding something to talk about … and revise!

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