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Study Skills

Exam Preparation

Studying for and taking exams can make you anxious or stressed, but there are steps you can take to be better prepared and hopefully reduce feelings of anxiety or stress before and during exams. Check out the following tips and videos for more information on preparing for exams and reducing exam anxiety.

Tips for successful revision

Revision is key to succeeding in your exams. It can sometimes be daunting looking at what you have to revise. Review the tips below to help with your revision.

  • Make a plan or a timetable so you don’t get side tracked or procrastinate.
  • If possible try and start your revision six weeks before exams and draw up a revision plan for each week.
  • It is easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of revision you need to do, so try and break up what you have to revise into categories or sections, starting with the topics you are finding the most difficult.
  • Try alternating revising hard topics then topics you find easier.
  • Set realistic time limits of study each day.
  • Plan breaks. Take a 5-10 minute break every hour.
  • Find a nice quiet place to study that is free from distractions.
  • Turn off your internet if you can, to stop yourself from checking social media.
  • Ask your lecturer if there are past exams you can look over. When you are feeling confident, try to simulate an exam environment and complete the past exam.
  • Don’t panic, just breathe. Think about what you can achieve, not what you can’t achieve. Having a positive mindset can make a key difference!

Active revision

Some people find it difficult to revise and absorb their material, and for them, an active approach might be better. Active revision pushes and re-stimulates your learning, and can be achieved through the adoption of a questioning approach rather than an absorption approach.

  • Condense your notes into brief summaries of the main topic.
  • Write down questions of anything you are unsure of.
  • Once you have a list of questions, go through and find answers for them.
  • Set up a card system which summarises key points.
  • Use diagrams to summarise information on a topic. Try mind maps, flow charts or timelines.
  • Practise answers to questions from past papers or exams.
  • Try writing the answers to the past exam in a timed condition.
  • Work with other students in group revision sessions. Discuss topics and share information.