Before any thoughts of a long summer off tempt you to kick back and relax, the chances are there’s the small matter of exams to contend with. Any technique to help you study and pass the upcoming exams will be welcome – but there’s lots of advice out there, and not all of it’s helpful.
With that in mind, then let’s have a look at some of our tried and tested tips for stress-free study that will help you pass your exams…
Part 1. Before the exam, the study period
Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? But a little preparation will go a long way. Make a list of essentials: know where you’re going to sit the exam, and how long it will take to get there. Pack the stuff you need to take in advance, and remember to check exactly what you can take in with you. If you’re taking Maths or Sciences and are allowed a calculator, then don’t forget to drop it into your bag before you head off.
Don’t over-think when it comes to studying before an exam. Going over and over the same ground until you’re exhausted will just leave you wiped out. Revise what you need to – and only make notes of key points, rather than filling reams of paper.
Revise in different locations. A variation of study areas will help the brain along, you will remember different facts from the different places you have studied. Go to a library one day, stay at home the next. Sit on that nearby park bench in the fresh air to re-read that essay. Feed your mind with different backgrounds and you’ll be amazed at your powers of recollection.
Don’t Leave it too Late
If you’re frantically cramming the night before the exam then it’s probably already too late. The chances are it will just baffle your brain. Study regularly, in small segments of time in order to retain the most information.
Do Look Back
Refer back to past exams and papers as part of your study schedule. Look back at your past class notes that you took on the day, too. In all likelihood, they’re the relevant points on the subject that you now need to brush up on.
Part 2. The Day of the Exam
Do Leave Plenty of Time
Get up early. Eat a decent breakfast. Give yourself plenty of time to get there. Less rush, less panic.
Don’t Rush the Questions
Don’t be tempted to leave all the allotted time for the answers. The biggest mistake is not reading the question properly. Allow time to let the question, and the tone of the question, sink in. Your answer will reflect your understanding of this.
Do Trim your Answers
Think conservatively. Waffle and long-winded explanations have no place in an exam paper, and waste valuable time So, address the important issues and the supporting facts, and mention, but skim, the less important points.
Don’t be a Mess!
Sloppy writing, or hard to read papers will be marked down. Be as clear and concise with your presented work as you were with studying for it. If you need to go back in and make an addition or change a point then be clear where, and why. Making your paper hard to read for the examiner will make it hard on you, and the end result.
And finally… Do remember to breathe! Don’t panic – try to relax. Follow these simple but effective tips, and you’ll find studying and passing your exam will be a breeze.
Found our guidelines for how to study for exams helpful? Check out our top tips on exam techniques.