In Focus

A student guide to exam revision

‘Tis the season to be jolly, however, it’s also the season to be studying for your January exams too! Bah humbug!

We know it’s tough, so with the help of our students and social media followers, we’ve compiled an extensive list of helpful tips and tricks to help make revising over Christmas, that little bit more bearable!

Tip 1 – Get organised

  • Find a workspace, free from clutter and distractions.- take your SIM card out of your smart phone, insert into a simple phone, in case someone needs to reach you. Allow yourself your smart phone back at 6pm. You’d be surprised how much you can do without the lure of a smartphone.
  • Split your revision in to chunks. Schedule in revision breaks & self care activities.
  • Prepare all of your stationary, textbooks, lectures notes the day or night before you start your revision.
  • Fill your fridge with “brain food”! (See suggestions to the right!)

Tip 2 – Look after yourself

  • Take regular breaks. Revision is important but the downtime is equally important.
  • Don’t fuel revision sessions on sugar and stay hydrated to ensure your focus is optimised.
  • Get some sleep.  Sleep is important for energy and helping you to concentrate and remember more.
  • Get some exercise-Exercise changes the brain in ways that protect memory and thinking skills. (Harvard Health Publishing)

    Click to enlarge

    Click to enlarge

Tip 3 – Learning styles

  • Find out your learning style. From that use the techniques that suit best, spider diagrams or taping yourself saying the stuff then listen back.
  • Record yourself reading out your notes and play it back with your earphones in, eventually you’ll know them off by heart.
  • Start with the easy stuff to give yourself some confidence that you know your course content before tackling the more difficult parts.
  • Write down and memorise key theorists to reference for each topic, references are key.
  • Write out thorough notes then condense them down into key points. Post-it notes are really useful for key points especially for essay questions!
  • Instead of writing notes on paper, type them out. It’s quicker and when learning essay style questions you can do it more times!
  • For heavy coursework based subjects; makes lists of things you need to complete for that day, then for that week, then for that month so that you push yourself to complete the work you have.
  • Use flashcards and assign a different colour to each topic and keep each flashcard brief with up to 5 points and learn them till you can rhyme them off.
  • 1. Read over notes; 2. Hide notes; 3. Type out what you’ve revised; 4. Repeat
  • Don’t be pulling “all nighters” before the exam, it wrecks your thinking. Use rhymes to remember lengthy information.
  • Always think ‘why’ when you read a point in lecture notes and textbooks/journals

Tip 4 – Use other resources

  • Watch the crash course videos on YouTube, really easy to follow and gives you a visual image of what your learning
  • Watch YouTube videos if you struggle to grasp a subject or concept. VERY helpful!
  • Teach somebody else your material, in order for them to understand it, you have to understand it! If you have a friend on the same course divide topics and teach other!
  • Teach someone (i.e. Family member, partner) what you are learning their interest will increase your confidence and you’ll want to learn more.
  • Make up songs with your notes and sing them in your head or put words to your fav music

Tip 5 – On the day exam tips

  • Best one from a lecturer I got: never go into an exam hungry! You have no chance of focusing if your starving!
  • Rather than panicking that you don’t know the answer learn to adapt what you do know to fit the question. It’s better to write something than nothing at all.
  • Read the exam paper over quickly so you know your timing and most important…don’t panic. Just do your best, it’s usually better than you think.
  • Time keeping during your exam is so important.
  • Always read the question thoroughly before answering it!
  • In the exam before u answer the question write down everything you know about the subject.

Good luck everyone and enjoy your Christmas!

Related Articles

© Ulster University