How To Make a Portable Revision Book (The Open University style)


I have decided to take a break from studying this afternoon, just to blog about studying instead. I get a lot of hits on my site from people interested in The Open University, and as I am now in my final year, I thought I would share with you one of my top tips for exam revision. I have learned over the years that when it comes to studying, planning is key. And revision preparation ideally needs to start as soon as possible to make those daunting revision weeks before the exam as stress-free as possible.

I’ve discovered that there are two things to successful revision.  1. learning what is required and 2. being able to access your notes anywhere. This is where the revision book comes in handy. It covers only the learning outcomes relevant to the course material, and you can take it with you anywhere on your portable devices. Here is the how-to in 8 simple steps…

You will need:

  • Index cards
  • Pens and colouring pencils (get creative!)
  • Open University course materials
  • Access to a scanner
  • A computer and portable device (Kindle, iPad, etc.)


Step 1 – Write out learning outcomes & questions onto revision cards


A good time to do this is right at the beginning before the course officially starts. Most online modules allow access to the module material a few weeks prior to the start date, and course books are usually sent through the post well in advance. If you are short of time, you can always write each question out as you progress through the course.


Step 2 – Read course material & complete revision cards



Instead of waiting until the last few weeks to make revision cards, start as soon as possible! This will save you a lot of time and hard-work at the end of the course, and it is pretty useful if you are studying more than one module at once.


Step 3 – Scan revision cards onto computer

Documents Library

When I reach the end of a unit, I scan the cards onto the computer. It is handy to keep them organised into folders to avoid confusion later on when you scan in tons more!


Step 4 – Insert files into Word document



Copy and paste the relevant learning outcome or question into the document followed by the corresponding revision card. You can even get a bit fancy and make a cover and contents page, so when revising you can navigate through your document quickly and easily.



Step 5 – Save as a PDF to read on portable devices

Save as PDF


Your saved file should now be in PDF format.

PDF file


Step 6 – E-mail the file to yourself

E-mail attachment

Attach the file to an e-mail and send to yourself so that you can open it on your portable device.



Step 7 – Download the file


Find your e-mail on your Kindle, iPad, etc and open the attached PDF file.


Step 8 – Read, revise, anywhere!



Now you can take your revision cards with you anywhere you go. All you have to do now is learn them… (Note: I use a Kindle Fire HD tablet, I am not sure of the compatibility of PDF files on other Kindles or devices). 

Hope this is helpful to my fellow OU students. Let me know if it works for you!