Exam support

Exam support

Worried about exams? Here are a few tips and resources to help you prepare, feel well and relax!

#LookAfterYourself

Be prepared: student top tips!

  • "Make an exam revision plan & set achievable goals."
  • "Go to the Library early. Read books from your reading list and scan essential sections ahead of the exam prep rush!"
  • "Ensure you have spare pens, rulers and other essential stationery. Buy your stationery well in advance, as before the exam diet shops often run out of stock!"
  • "In the days before your exams, find the rooms, sort out your pencil case and make sure that you have covered everything on your checklist, so that you don’t need to worry on the day of the exam."
  • "Plan in breaks. By having them on your study timetable, you don't feel guilty for taking time off, and so are more likely to go back to the work after."
  • "Start your revision well in advance by listing all of the topics covered in each module."
  • "Always revise your notes the following day. The process of memorisation requires repetition."
  • "Draw up weekly and daily revision tasks; this promotes focus and raises awareness of the nature of the area of study."
  • "Break your revision into manageable chunks and have at least one item to be ticked off every day - it gives you a sense of accomplishment that keeps you going!"
  • "Set manageable goals, that give you enough time to cover each topic prior to the exam."
  • "Regroup your lectures and reading notes per topic and make synthetic notes of your notes."
  • "Try and talk to yourself when you're revising/recalling information before an exam."
  • "Eliminate distractions: don’t check your social media or email. Put your phone on “flight mode” or try distraction apps which block your favourite sites for a period of time set by you."
  • "No distractions! If you think of something you need to do, write it down and do it later. Then have a 5 to 10 min break. Do 4 rounds of 25 min and after that have a longer break - 30 or 40 min. You deserve it."
  • "Refer to past papers. While no year's exams are exactly the same, you'll often get a sense of the tone and general areas of study you should be focusing most on."
  • "Use past papers throughout the year - not just at exam time. Answer questions on them as the topics are brought up in lectures."
  • "Always repeat all you have learned in classes. Focus on the content of course using literature which is given in course guides."
  • "Speak to the staff! If you have any doubts, talk to your tutor and the support staff: they're there for you."
  • "If you're stuck, ask for somebody else's perspective on the problem. A new pair of eyes can be pivotal."
  • "Attend any drop in help sessions available for your course."
  • "Use student forums to share and gain knowledge."
  • "Meet other students to ask questions. Asking and explaining are two excellent ways of learning."
  • "Prioritise studying the things you don't know, rather than the things you find easy. You have limited time to study, and have to make the most of it."

Study: student top tips!

  • "Study throughout the year - don't leave it all until the last minute."
  • "Make a realistic study plan and set monthly, weekly, and daily goals."
  • "Stay on top of work throughout the year. There are 24 hours in a day - even if you only spend 2 hours of those 24 doing some work, it all adds up!"
  • "Rather than focusing on how long you will be studying, write a list of daily goals instead and tick them off as you achieve each. This motivates you to go further."
  • "Look at the course on the Course Catalogue. Make sure you understand the Intended Learning Outcomes."
  • "Make flashcards throughout the year and study them daily. When it gets close to exam time, go through them all, hardest to easiest."
  • "Use flashcards. Try forming questions from your lecture slides and go through them a few times a day."
  • "Study with your friends. Ask each other questions, and reflect on how to improve your answers."
  • "Set rewards for yourself once you complete a certain amount of studying. Whether it be a chocolate treat or an episode of your favourite TV show, they can really help motivate you to push through those long lectures!"
  • "Make a summary sheet for each sub topic. Include only the essential knowledge and try keep it to less than 1 page."
  • "Find the studying technique that works for you. Try repetition, colour coding your notes, making mind maps or diagrams, watching videos or listening to podcasts."
  • "Reflect on over-arching themes of the course and pursue wider reading of multidisciplinary works that could be pertinent (if there is time)."
  • "Study for your own good! Broaden your horizons. Be naturally curious. Have fun. It's important to have fun and enjoy what you do."
  • "Connect and understand your knowledge. The more you can link new concepts to other things that you have learned previously, the easier it will be come to answer a question."
  • "Go to all revision sessions. Teachers often give away hints on what could probably appear in the exam, or at least, they will direct the session towards a topic that they think will be useful to know for the exam. Also, make use of all apps, quizzes, recommended videos."
  • "Be aware of your weaknesses and work on them. Do not be afraid to look back on your notes, refer back and ask others until you understand it."
  • "Revise and read around the area in any possible way: the more you know about something, the better you will understand it."
  • "Don’t study on the day of the exam or the night before. Get a full night sleep!"
  • "Throughout the year listen for clues from teaching staff." 
  • "Find a place that facilitates concentration. Try out different locations and find out what suits you best."
  • "Find the place where you feel you optimise your learning. Whether it’s the silent library levels, cafe, or perhaps the comfort of your own home.
  • Organise your study space! Tidy desk = tidy mind."
  • "Switch up your study space. Studying in the same environment all of exam season is boring!"

Relax: student top tips!

  • "Take regular breaks for exercise and relaxing and time with friends. Clearing your head can allow you to focus more, and take more in."
  • "Go for a walk. Take a break and get some fresh air, even if it's just 5 minutes round the block. Stretching your legs after sitting down for so long gets the oxygen pumping and brain working!"
  • "Make sure you're eating well. Instead of sugary snacks, it's better to provide your brain with healthy fats and fibre."
  • "Always have mental breaks! Even runners stop for a bit to take a breath, so let your brain have one as well. Try the “pomodoro” technique. Set the timer on your phone for 25 min and study."
  • "Meet with people. It's extremely easy to isolate yourself during exam time because you are so. Try to set up study groups and question each other on topics. Go for a walk in the botanic garden or just have a nice cup of tea on the grass in the quadrants."
  • "Set a routine. Have a set time to get out of bed, set meal times and a set bedtime. Get a solid 8 hours of sleep."
  • "Do not lose your routine because you don't have a university class timetable to follow. It might help to create your own timetable to maximise your time."
  • "Add social events to your timetable to allow you to have an outlet and keep your spirits high."
  • "Exercise! A healthy body equates to a healthy mind. It’ s also a good way to relieve exam preparation stress."
  • "Speak to your peers, friends, classmates, lecturers, family, shopkeeper, bus driver, next door neighbour. Tell people how you're getting on. Take advice."