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Exam Revision – Which strategies really work?

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An in-depth look into the work of Professor John Dunlosky:

Up and down the country, students are now busy revising for their forthcoming exams (or parents and teachers hope they are). In my conversations with students, I have found that the majority simply state that ‘I have no idea how to start revising’. A rare few will say that they have a strategy.  Yet evidence suggests that even those students, who do have a plan, don’t use the revision strategies that science has proved most effective. Worse, much of the research finds that the techniques which students do commonly employ, like re-reading and highlighting, are among the least effective. The scientific research evaluating these techniques stretches across many years of experiments and articles. Fortunately, a team of five leading psychologists led by Kent State University professor John Dunlosky, have examined thousands of studies and have rated each of the most popular revision strategies on the basis of the evidence they’ve collected. Their findings are in some cases, rather surprising.

This blog brings you a variety of access points into the work of Dunlosky and his team, from a BBC radio interview to his complete research paper. I hope that you find it as helpful and informative as I did.

In this BBC interview, Claudia Hammond discusses revision methods with Professor John Dunlosky:


Q & A:


Complete research:


Dunlosky talking at the McMaster Symposium on Cognition, Learning and Education:



MADE specialises in giving students, teachers and parents, the most relevant and effective strategies for independent learning and revising. We work hard to ensure that our workshops are up-to-date and in-line with current best practice. It makes us proud that the findings of this research validate the methods we propose.

Call us on 0800 2707660 to find out how we can help your students.

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