(this is how I’d pitch the importance of revision to teenage boys)
Rather than seeing revision as the sort of menial task forced upon you by the epitome of discipline and unrelatability that is a teacher, you could make it so much less daunting by casting it as a testosterone-fuelled endurance test, to see which of you and your friends can use the most soul-crushing tactics imaginable to obtain those all-important capital letters on a bit of paper; for the record, I think this is how students at Eton prove their ‘manliness’.
1) Tattoo important definitions to the insides of your eyelids, you every time you want to rest and take a break, you’ll be reminded of the difference between tentative disadvantages, and partial disadvantages.
2) Wear a t-shirt emblazoned with your essay’s topic sentences to a book shop; if the intellectual badasses in there can’t understand your argument from your shirt alone, your essay is now humiliatingly bad.
3) To help you revise characters for an English essay, write out revision notes for each character, and drink a large vessel of alcohol for each individual, so that whenever you think of takin a drink, you’re reminded that Lear’s downfall really is, fundamentally, his own fault. Extra points are awarded if you drink yourself to unconsciousness, at which point you’ll start revising the definitions tattooed to your closed-over eyelids.
4) When you’re doing bicep curls, count them not in numbers, but in the scenes of a play or chapters of a book you’re studying, and with each curl, outline the plot and key themes of that section of the text. If you can do this for Middlemarch, you’re a bigger man than I am.
5) Play the Maths Drinking Game: every time you read a question and say ‘What in the Hell does this mean?’, take a drink. Then, don’t leave until you complete that paper; if you can scrape through a paper drunk, you can ace it sober.
6) Make notes on a wall using an assault rifle to make bullet-holes in the shapes of letters; they way, you’ll see the notes every time you go past the wall, and will be reminded of the subject.
7) A day or so after finishing a timed essay at home, and before giving it into your teacher to mark, type it up; this will force you to re-read the essay in its entirety, and you’ll feel so embarrassed that you thought that was a credible idea that you’ll work even harder next time.
8) Complete a practice paper using a pen you know will run out soon, forcing you to either give up the paper halfway, or power through by cutting your finger open and writing in blood, in scenes that may resemble the private school version of the Saw movies.
9) For every mark you are below your target grade, remove one digit, starting with the little toe on your weaker foot, and leading up the the thumb on your stronger hand; you’ll be more encouraged to not suck as this process continues, as you’ll be increasingly out of digits to take the final exam with.
10) Put a Pope’s hat on a bear and challenge it to a fistfight; your resulting anger at and fear of anything Pope-shaped will help you understand the extent of Monticelso’s rage and hypocrisy in act three of The White Devil.
11) Write a key concept or idea on each item of your clothing, then stand by a cold river and scatter them to the winds; as a result, you will have to swim through ice water to find your clothes, and so you will associate hope and security with revision topics, rather than fear of the unknown.
12) Learn to play the solo from Through The Fire and Flames on guitar, and for every mark you miss your target grade by, cut off a string, and try to play the solo with the remaining strings. This will get difficult to the extent of impossibility should you screw up too many times.
13) Find another bear, and anger it by poking it with a stick. Then try to calm it down by rhyming at it in Middle English; its inevitable ripping of you from limb to limb will reinforce the idea of the ultimate weakness, seen in Chaucer’s The Wife of Bath, in the difference between her linguistic desire for maistrie, and the reality of her evenly-matched fight with Janekyn.
14) Go skydiving strapped to an instructor who insists that their parachute has broken, and you’ll die. Then, get the instructor to shout formulae at you, until you’re two feet from the ground, and they pull the chute, which was really working fine the whole time, saving you. Your mind will be forever etched with the idea that the area of a triangle is half base x height.
15) Guilt yourself into revising more by writing another blog post about school, as opposed to working for school.