When I was revising for exams I used to rely on re-reading my files and occasionally making summary lists. Since I started teaching though I realised that, while I seemed to have blessed with a naturally retentive memory, this wasn't either the best way to revise or indeed an effective method for many of my pupils.
Repetition of material and finding ways to access the right information lies at the heart of good revision and increasingly I prefer mind maps (often called 'spider diagrams'). Starting in the middle of a page with a core topic, lines come out breaking it down into sub-topics which are then broken into further sub-topics.
It is an incredibly visual way of presenting an area for revision which shows the whole topic and allows you to see the interaction between different areas. It also relates to how the mind stores information (from the general to the specific) so works with our preferred way of retrieving information. The best ones I have seen from my pupils have been highly colourful (different colours for different types of information or to show strengths and weaknesses of different ideas).
The prompt for this post was seeing a really good article in today's Daily Telegraph (click here). Well worth a look, and unlike The Times, no subscription required. As an example, here is a mind map summarising potential impacts of global warming.