Exam tips

Students at desks inside an exam hall

It’s revision time. Exams can be a challenge, but with a little preparation you can stay cool. Here are our top ten tips!

1. Before you start revising, make sure you are completely clear about the content and format of the exam. Ask your tutor for advice on what topics the exam could cover and what the examiner will be looking for.

2. Give yourself plenty of time to revise and make sure you have copies of any notes or books you'll need. This way, you will feel calm and in control.

3. Ask your tutors for past exam papers and practise answering them before the actual exam. This will give you an idea of what to expect.

4. Take it easy. If you work too hard, you risk becoming exhausted. Get plenty of sleep and make time for rest and relaxation. Exams are a chance to show your talents, but your health and happiness are more important.

5. Eat plenty of nutritious food and do lots of exercise. As well as helping you to relax, this can boost your brain power.

6. Make revision ‘active’ – for example, instead of just reading text, try making short notes or highlighting key points. This will help you to organise your thoughts. Another tip is to pretend you are the teacher and you have to explain the subject to a student, or ask others to test you.

7. Plagiarism is when you take someone’s ideas, work or answers and say they are your own – for example, copying someone else's answers in a test, using an essay that someone else has written or paying someone to complete work for you. There are serious consequences for those caught plagiarising. If you are unsure about what is and isn't allowed, check with your tutor. Click here to read more.

8. Motivate yourself! At revision time, everything suddenly looks more interesting than studying. To stay on track, decide what you need to revise each day and when you reach certain targets, give yourself a treat. For example, after four hours of revision you can watch your favourite TV programme.

9. The day before the exam, make time to relax by going for a walk or seeing friends. Hopefully you will get a good night’s sleep, but if not, don’t fear! The human brain is capable of great things, even when tired.

10. If you are feeling particularly anxious or have any problems that may prevent you from being successful in your exams (for example, health problems or family problems) talk to your tutor or student advice centre. They may be able to help.

Opening your exam results… keep calm and carry on!

Hopefully, your hard work will have paid off and you will receive the results that you wanted. But if not, we can promise that it isn’t the end of the world. You might feel upset now, but you can turn a setback into a positive event.

Talk to your tutor. There may be a chance to re-take the exam or gain credits in another subject.

If not, this might open up new possibilities – for example, you could think about switching to a new course or doing another course online. The most successful people in life are those who can ‘pick themselves up’ when things don’t go according to plan.

Read more advice about studying and preparing for exams in Student tips – Studying.