While studying for my IB exams, jumping straight into practice questions was more valuable than taking notes beforehand. It was a strategy that worked particularly well for my science subjects, HL Biology and HL Chemistry.
I started my determining topics which were weaknesses for me. Next, I would find as many practice questions as I could find in the textbook/workbook/study guide/online resources. For example in Chemistry, organic chemistry and spectroscopic techniques was one of my biggest challenges. After having practised many questions, I gathered a large question bank. this not only helped me revise but also aided me in understanding the exam-question pattern better.
If I felt that I was doing well with certain types of questions I would do fewer examples. If I came across difficult questions, I did many more examples. For tricky questions, noting down the process using sticky notes/coloured pens helped me. In this way, my practice became my ‘notes’ which helped save time.
After I felt comfortable with a topic, I reserved some past papers for untimed practice – where I would do targeted questions related to that topic. When determining the correct answer to an MCQ, think about how you would explain it if it were a long answer question. Similarly, clarify why incorrect responses are incorrect to yourself. I would sometimes jump straight into past paper questions, but if I was having trouble, I would check the textbook questions or study guide. When revising, it was also important for me to consult a study guide. This is because the dense material in your textbook may also feel overwhelming at times.
Overall, I chose to choose practice papers as a revision technique because I feel that practice can be used as notes! Try to focus on analysing your mistakes from practice questions and using the corrections as notes. I hope this article helps you broaden your list of possible revision methods, good luck!