Exam tips


Set up your study space

Everyone has their own idea about the best place to study. Find a space that works for you and set up. Here's a few things to think of before you get set up:
  • Do you prefer to study in silence or listen to music?
  • Do you work better alone or with other people?
  • Do you like to study at home or at school/uni/library?

Be organised

Make sure you have all the materials you need in your study space before you start studying. Getting up to look for a calculator or pen and paper will break your concentration, make you frustrated and waste your time.

Clear your mind - feel the flow, feel the energy...

If you’ve got a lot on your mind, take a moment to write yourself some notes about what you're thinking about and put them to the side. This will help to clear your mind and focus on studying. You can come back to what you where thinking about during a study break.

Set yourself goals and get motivated

Set yourself clear goals such as what grade you want to achieve. This will help motivate you to study as you want to achieve what you have set yourself. consider what goals would be appropriate to set yourself, it may be getting into a particular course or a particular university you want to go to.

You should think about how you will feel if you achieve the mark you wanted. If you set yourself goals and keep the end result in mind it will help you stay motivated.

Plan your time (and stick to it...)

It helps to plan when you will study and how you can make the most of your study time. Use a calendar or a list of dates to help you keep track of exam dates and plan ahead.

Be sure to space out your study time for the term or lead up to exams. Don’t try to cram it all in the night before!

Do the hardest work when you’re feeling your best. Save the easy stuff for when you’re tired.

Know your learning style

Most of us have a preferred way of learning. Get to know your learning style and study in the ways you learn best. Here's a few different learning types below, see what one might apply to you:
  • Auditory learners - learn by listening. If you’re an auditory learner you could try reading your notes aloud and discussing them with other people. You might like to record key points and play them back.
  • Visual learners - learn by seeing. If you’re a visual learner you could use colours in your notes and draw diagrams to help represent key points. You could try to remember some ideas as images.
  • Tactile/kinesthetic learners - learn by doing. If you’re a tactile/kinesthetic learner you could use methods like role-playing or building models to revise key points.

Use your notes

Taking detailed notes in class will save you lots of time later on. Re-writing and adding to your notes is a great way to revise what you’ve learned.

Make your own study materials

Think up some practice exam questions, create your own flash cards to help you study or check out previous exams. This way you'll be able to apply what you have studied to practice questions which may have appeared in previous exams.

If you prepare your own study material you'll learn what you have studied twice: once when you make the study materials and again when you use them to revise.

Test yourself

Don’t wait for an exam to test your knowledge – test yourself first. Get a friend/group or family member to quiz you on key concepts or offer to help other students with their work. It’s a great way to get confident with what you do know and find out what you still need to learn.

Take time out and reward yourself

You study better when you're feeling good so make sure you eat well, stay hydrated, exercise and get enough sleep. The key to study/exams is balance. Make sure you achieve a balance between studying, catching with friends, eating well and exercise.

Allow yourself some breaks when you study. It's good to have a break every 45 to 60 minutes when you’re studying as this will help you study more effectively. You’ll study better if you take care of yourself.

Reward yourself for studying. This will get you keep motivated to continue studying to achieve your personal goals.

Last reviewed 08 April 2019
Last updated 08 April 2019