You might be in Year 12, finishing your first year of uni or gearing up to graduate. In any case, you could probably do with a few tips to get through the upcoming exam period. Read on as we share our top five exam study tips.
1. Stay organised:
If you’re not the most organised of people, it’s a great time to start. Try to store all your notes in a single place (whether it’s in a folder or on your computer), keep track of dates (including revision days or extra classes) and consider your study space. Is it quiet, tidy and free from distractions? Also think about putting together a schedule to plan out your study sessions. This is especially helpful if you’re studying for multiple exams.
2. Change up your study routine:
Don’t rely on your textbook and notes taken in class as your sole study resources. Look for study apps that can help you stay organised and motivated, and consider alternative revision strategies. Think about putting posters up around the house (a vocab list, quotes for essays or mind maps explaining key concepts), creating your own flashcards or completing practice exams. Also remember to stay up to date with the news, especially if you’re studying areas like business and humanities. And if you’re not one for studying on your own, why not form a study group with friends? So long as everyone’s on the same page, study groups can be very productive.
3. Work on your exam technique:
As you complete your final assessments or try out practice exams at home, start working on your exam technique. If you are assigned reading time, use it carefully. Start by reading questions slowly and highlighting key words, and don’t start writing until you’ve read each question in full — it’s all too easy to get carried away and miss a key instruction, such as providing a definition but not the required example. Try answering the hardest questions first, while your mind is fresh, and allow yourself to complete the easier ones later. If you have extra time at the end of the test or exam, resist twiddling your thumbs. Instead, make an effort to read over your answers to make sure you’ve answered everything correctly and provided sufficient detail.
4. Ask for help:
If you’ve had trouble understanding a topic or need extra help before exams, make time to see your teacher or tutor. Don’t feel bad asking for help — your teachers are there to support you. They’ll be able to provide constructive criticism and point you in the right direction on problem areas. Looking over old assessments can help too, as this will show you which areas you need to work on.
5. Aim for a healthy balance:
If caffeine and sugary foods are your go-to during exam periods, opt for healthier snacks like fresh fruit or unsalted popcorn. Also remember to stay active — even a quick walk around the block will help you feel refreshed and ready to tackle another study session or exam. The same goes for catching up with friends (of course, late-night partying is best left until exams are over). If you have a part-time job, it’s not a bad idea to cut back your hours but you might find that heading into work provides a welcome break from study.