Cheat sheets

How to revise for exams so efficiently it feels like you’re cheating

Study skills

This revision technique will be useful for all NCEA subjects, and particularly so for those you haven’t understood or remembered well.

This post contains a list of recommended resources. For this task you can use a combination of school textbooks, any notes that you have taken, your tutor’s help, online resources, and possibly extra textbooks. The Pencilcase Learning Centre has several reviews of different study resources – you can use these reviews to select some that will be useful for you.

A Cheat Sheet is a 1-2 page document that contains the key pieces of information that you’ll need to sit an external achievement standard or exam paper.

You should make one cheat sheet for each topic you have covered throughout the year. A “topic” is more specific than a subject such as maths. Maths includes many topics: algebra, calculus, probability, trigonometry, etc.

To make cheat sheets for each of your topics, follow these steps:

  1. Read over the material that you collected throughout the year, highlighting key points and jotting them down on extra paper.
  2. If any areas seem like they aren’t covered well, or you don’t understand them yet, refer to other resources. This might be a study guide or an online tool. Add to your jotted notes with these resources.
  3. Take your jotted notes, and type them up into your Cheat Sheet.

When you are struggling to understand content, this process might take quite a while. Don’t worry about that, just take your time.

Making Cheat Sheets is very effective because it requires you to think over the content at least three times: on first reading, when you take notes, and when you turn those notes into your Sheets.

This process is great for memorising, and the Cheat Sheets are the perfect thing to read over in the final hours before your test or exam.

Once you have made a cheat sheet for everything, you are ready to move on to exam practice. See this post for how to make the most of practice exams.