How visual learning can enhance revision

11th April 2017 at 16:00
Let pictures help your pupils remember more than words with this familiar and effective visual learning revision technique

Using visual learning as a revision technique may not be the newest kid on the block, but it’s a tried and tested method for many topics when it comes to revising.  

For example, the sciences are full of complex equations, formulas and processes that have to be remembered – which can be quite the challenge when it comes to exams.

There are, of course, many different ways of learning and then revising these parts of the respective courses. I’ve found replacing keywords with images is a brilliant way to help students retain chunks of texts and processes.

It may take some time to get used to but a lot of my students use it for science revision – and even enjoy the process.

How exactly should they do this?

  1. Find a paragraph of text and highlight the main keywords (avoid highlighting every other word in the paragraph)
  2. Find or draw images that represent the words that you have highlighted
  3. Replace the highlighted words in the text with the images. Display multiple versions of this around your house or revision area – on the stairs or even in the bathroom. You will be reading and remembering the paragraph and the importance of the images
  4. After a few days of having the information displayed around your house, remove all of the words and just place the images next to each other in their respective place in a line
  5. Display the images around your house again, but this time 'read' the images out loud
  6. Close your eyes and visualise the order of the images. 'Read' the paragraph out loud multiple times each day
  7. When you are in the exam just close your eyes and remember the images in order. The words will come to you easily and you can breathe a sigh of relief as you ace the question in the exam paper


It may sound time-consuming but this method of revision works really well, especially for kinaesthetic and visual learners.

The trick of breaking down large chunks of text into images lies in the simplicity of the task. Personalising the information, and only using images that are associated with the words or sentences, is a great memory technique for science revision. Marketing companies rely on images and association more than words for a good reason: it sticks.

Just remember to break large chunks of text into smaller paragraphs and don't try to remember too many words that aren't essential to the process or formula.

You can view an example of this visual learning revision technique here.

Tom Franks is a science teacher from London currently teaching at an International school in Spain.

You can see more of Tom's resources, which include help with physics, biology and chemistry, here.

Visit our revision hub and wave goodbye to stress during exam season. It’s packed with tips, tricks and techniques that can help set your students on the path to success.