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Exam and revision techniques

Good luck to everyone taking their exams, we hope our revision and exam tips help you to feel as prepared and confident as possible.

Remember to download your revision planner below to help you organise your time.

Essential revision advice

Use these tips to help with organising and planning your revision.

Develop a routine

Make revision a routine, and avoid simply re-reading notes:

  • study a section of your notes, and memorise the essential points
  • hide your notes, and try to write down everything you can remember
  • check what you've written against your notes
  • note down what you got wrong, or forgot, and learn them
  • summarise essential points into flash cards, and make a different one for each topic

Organise

  • make a revision timetable
  • set yourself revision targets and goals
  • use a checklist to follow your progress
  • aim to have revision completed one week before the exam starts to give yourself flexibility, some rest and some extra time to focus on harder points
  • aim to balance your time between subjects you're most confident and least confident about

Use old exam papers

  • use as many old exam papers as you can to practice
  • note the questions that come up, and their themes and frequency
  • time yourself to get used to exam conditions

Pace yourself

  • use your time effectively
  • remove all distractions and structure your day
  • give yourself regular breaks to help with concentration and productivity, avoiding procrastination
  • get active during your breaks to rest your mind and keep your body moving

You are not alone

  • consider revising with other people - they may be able to help you with areas you are struggling with
  • hold discussions, debates and conversations - this can help you to remember key points better
  • encourage and help each other - share ideas, techniques and resources

Reward and look after yourself

  • Celebrate targets you have reached, good results and progress (to keep yourself motivated)
  • mark your progress on a revision plan or a checklist to visibly see what you have achieved
  • try to keep up a healthy diet and take breaks for meals
  • avoid working while you eat
  • limit your caffeine intake - tea and coffee can increase anxiety levels and make it hard to rest
  • make time to exercise - around 20 minutes, two to three times a week. This will increase stamina, reduce stress and help with sleep
  • get plenty of rest the night before an exam, and avoid last-minute revision during the night

 

 

Exam Revision Planner

Plan and organise your revision and exams using our weekly planner.

Download and print the planner and complete it to fit your schedule.

Download Planner

Have you considered your learning style?

Use your learning style

 

Coping with exam conditions

Many people find sitting in an exam hall a stressful experience, so it's a good idea to be prepared for the big day. Follow our suggestions to help you keep calm and collected.

1. Eat well

Even if you don't feel hungry, try to eat a healthy meal before the exam.

2. Trust yourself

Try to avoid discussing the course and content before and after the exam. Your coursemates comments may make you more nervous or confused.Trust your knowledge and your revision, and focus on your work.

3. Get organised

Arrive at the exam venue in good time and make sure that you have all the equipment you need. Always carry spare pens and pencils, and make sure you know in advance whether or not you need extra equipment like dictionaries or calculators.

4. Make yourself comfortable

Make sure that you will be warm enough, and that you are wearing suitable, comfortable clothing. You will be sitting still for a few hours as you complete your exam, so this is important. Don't forget to take a bottle of water if you want to.

5. Calm your nerves

It is normal to get nervous before an exam. Try not to panic, take deep breaths, sit down and drink some water. Remember to focus on doing your best.

6.  Take note of instructions

Make sure you read the instructions very carefully before you begin to make sure you understand them and know what is expected of you. Look through the questions, assess how much time you can spend on them, and allow a few minutes at the end of the exam to read through your paper to check your answers. Make sure you haven't missed any questions on the back of the exam paper - this is a common mistake.

7. Read the question

Make sure you read the questions carefully and be aware of how many questions you have to answer and how many marks are allocated to each. For example, if you are required to answer four questions, you will receive marks for each one. Don't spend all your time on two questions, as you'll never get more than 50%. Attempt to answer all questions if you can to increase the marks you could be given.

8. Be prepared

If you are asked to answer essay-style questions, spend some time jotting down ideas and a brief plan to help you to use your writing time effectively. This is something to practice as a revision technique.

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