EAsy revision: Glossaries

Lots of subjects have a lot of key words involved and you may be given a glossary at the start of the term/ module of these. Using the right methods this can be used effectively for your revision.

What are glossaries?

Glossaries are basically just a list of key words and their definitions. Sometimes you will be given a specific list, or there might be one at the back of your text book. Other times however, you might need to make one yourself if one isn’t provided.

Why use glossaries?

A glossary, especially if one is provided for you is a good way to make sure that you know what key words you need to know and also can be useful for keeping track of what words you know/ don’t know. (However, even if you are provided with one it can be a good idea to make your own which will be discussed more later). They are also useful when doing general revision as if you come across a word you don’t understand you can quickly check the glossary to find out what it means which is often quicker than looking through your notes/ textbook.

What types of information are they good for?

Glossaries are good for subjects with a lot of key words, such as geography, psychology etc.

How to use glossaries for revision

Even if you are provided with a glossary, you might find it helpful to make your own one, as the process of writing definitions in your own words will help you to remember them better than just reading a definition someone else has written (plus it is always a good idea to write things in your own words…). You could make a glossary for each sub-topic so that when you are revising each topic you can have a separate glossary for it. Or as you get nearer to your exam you could make a glossary of the words you find the hardest to remember their definitions so that you can just focus on these. You might also find it helpful to add examples or diagrams/ pictures to your glossaries. It can be helpful to use the glossary you are provided with when making your own to check you don’t miss any words out (and get the definitions right!). When you are making your own glossary you might find it useful to make it in two distinct columns so that when you are revising you can cover up one column and try and remember either the definition or the key word for the side you can see to test yourself. You should also develop a system for checking which key words you know. You could test yourself/ get someone to test you are make a list of words you don’t know and then focus on them before re-testing yourself.

You can test yourself on your knowledge of key words in other ways, such as using flash cards (although this will be discussed in more detail next week so keep an eye out for that post…).


I hope you have found this post helpful – leave a comment to let me know if glossaries are something you will be using for revision in the future 🙂

Ellen Allsop

Hello! I'm Ellen Allsop, the creator of EAsy :)

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