Revise with the artistic vibes

Charlotte Firth gives us the low-down on creative revision techniques to get you through this stressful final term and guarantee success

16th May 2016

With the ever-increasing popularity of social media apps that share only photos and videos with your friends and followers – Instagram, VscoCam, Vine, to name only a few – the use of the written word on social media has massively depleted in favour of the visual arts. Where people once uploaded photos of themselves or their friends only, people now take photos of the landscape, art, and architecture and, now that exam season is fast approaching, amateur photographers around the country are doing the same thing with their revision notes (#revison #exams #needaholiday) and its inadvertently helping their learning.

The use of colours and images in revision notes and posters has long been thought of as a good strategy to revise. It makes reading and writing notes less monotonous and tedious and it means that you’re using more than one revision technique to learn – in this case, visual aids as well as writing notes. Associating facts and quotes with a particular image will improve your memory and your results, according to The Guardian in 2015. Rather ironic given that whatever bright future lies ahead for graduates, “culture and creativity” are not, as far as this government is concerned, central to it.

The use of colours and images in revision notes and posters has long been thought as a good strategy to revise 

To find that ever sought after “perfect composition” for an Instagram photo, the revision notes cannot be dull and this is where a student’s creativity kicks in.

Whether re-arranging your bedroom so that your MacBook is angle perfectly parallel to your Yo Sushi lunch and your Pret A Manger flat white (aren’t you disappointed that you’re one of many), or taking out your highlighter pens for the first time since GCSEs to make it all a little more aesthetically pleasing, you’re looking at your revision notes and methods objectively in a way that you would not have done otherwise. Students are using colour and images and creative methods and when they have bought their fourth coffee of the day, they’re drinking it next to their work instead of in the café because only the former not the latter will get them closer to that thousand followers mark.

When they have bought their fourth coffee of the day, they're drinking it next to their work

It also means that by uploading the photo, you have told other people you’re revising. This means no texts from your friends who have finished asking what you’re doing today, and that moment where you contemplate telling them you’re free when you should be doing work. You’ve put out the smoke signal when you upload your arty revision photo to Instagram, you’ve put a sock on the door and told them do not disturb unless it’s to discuss the work. It’s all a little superficial but it helps and it means that taking a break might just be editing your photo and chatting in the comments.

We all do this to look like we're doing more work than we really are and to pretend we're more arty too

I have no doubt that we all do this to look like we’re doing more work than we really are and to pretend we’re more arty with it too; but if it walks like a good student, talks like a student, and Instagrams like a good student, they might just be a good student.

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