You are here

Exam Preparation: Ten Study Tips

Exam Preparation: Ten Study Tips main image

Preparing for exams? Give yourself the best chance with these top ten study tips, and try not to let the stress get to you! Remember: you've got this

Give yourself enough time to study

Don't leave it until the last minute. While some students do seem to thrive on last-minute cramming, it's widely accepted that (for most of us) this is not the best way to approach an exam. To help sort out your time management, set up a timetable for your study. Write down how many exams you have and the days on which you have to sit them. Then organize your study accordingly. You may want to give some exams more study time than others, so find a balance that you feel comfortable with. 

Organize your study space

Make sure you have enough space to spread your textbooks and notes out. Have you got enough light? Is your chair comfortable? Are your computer games out of sight?

Try and get rid of all distractions, and make sure you feel as comfortable and able to focus as possible. For some people, this may mean almost complete silence, for others, background music helps. Some of us need everything completely tidy and organized in order to concentrate, while others thrive in a more cluttered environment. Think about what works for you, and take the time to get it right.

Use flow charts and diagrams

Visual aids can be really helpful when revising. At the start of a topic, challenge yourself to write down everything you already know about a topic - and then highlight where the gaps lie. Closer to the exam, condense your revision notes into one-page diagrams. Getting your ideas down in this brief format can then help you to quickly recall everything you need to know during the exam.

Practice on old exams

One of the most effective ways to prepare for exams is to practice taking past versions. This helps you get used to the format of the questions, and - if you time yourself - can also be good practice for making sure you spend the right amount of time on each section. 

Explain your answers to others

Parents and little brothers and sisters don't have to be annoying around exam time. Use them to your advantage. Explain an answer to a question to them. That will help you to get it clear in your head, and also to highlight any areas where you need more work.

Organize study groups with friends

Get together with friends for a study session. You may have questions that they have the answers to and vice versa. As long as you make sure you stay focused on the topic for an agreed amount of time, this can be one of the most effective ways to challenge yourself.

Take regular breaks

While you may think it's best to study for as many hours as possible, this can actually be counterproductive. If you were training for a marathon, you wouldn't try and run 24 hours a day. Likewise, studies have shown that for long-term retention of knowledge, taking regular breaks really helps.

Everyone's different, so develop a study routine that works for you. If you study better in the morning, start early before taking a break at lunchtime. Or, if you're more productive at nighttime, take a larger break earlier on so you're ready to settle down come evening.

Try not to feel guilty about being out enjoying the sunshine instead of hunched over your textbooks. Remember Vitamin D is important for a healthy brain.

Snack on brain food

You may feel like you deserve a treat, or that you don't have time to cook, but what you eat can really have an impact on energy levels and focus, so keep away from junk food. Keep your body and brain well-fuelled by choosing nutritious foods that have been proven to aid concentration and memory, such as fish, nuts, seeds, yogurt and blueberries. The same applies on exam day - eat a good meal before the test, based on foods that will provide a slow release of energy throughout. Sugar may seem appealing, but your energy levels will crash an hour later.

Plan your exam day

Make sure you get everything ready well in advance of the exam - don't leave it to the day before to suddenly realize you don't know the way, or what you're supposed to bring. Check all the rules and requirements, and plan your route and journey time. If possible, do a test run of the trip. If not, write down clear directions.

Work out how long it will take to get there - then add on some extra time. You really don't want to arrive having had to run halfway or feeling frazzled from losing your way. You could also make plans to travel to the exam with friends or classmates, as long as you know they're likely to be punctual.

Drink plenty of water

As a final tip, remember that being well hydrated is essential for your brain to work at its best. Make sure you keep drinking plenty of water throughout your revision, and also on the exam day.

Good luck!

Want more content like this? Register for free site membership to get regular updates and your own personal content feed.

This article was originally published in February 2008 and was updated in May 2017.

Related categories:

Angeline L, Vinal J & 23 others saved this
QS Staff Writer's profile image
Written by QS Staff Writer

Want to leave a comment?

Please login or register to post
comment above our articles

33 Comments

Oh man, look at those gifs hahaha

Also here is my entry for my Pakistani students http://www.taleemwala.com/

Hope you will like it.

very useful and informative tips. I am ytuber and upload videos of educational topics for best videos sub my channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBlKxR0XFmn-Ok7msVsB3Ow

Thanks for those world of wisdom ...common but easy to miss

Get latest education news https://www.gettopinfo.com/

Apart from using flowcharts and diagrams, one great way to visualize information is through mind maps. Unleash the power of your brain’s hippocampus by mind mapping in 3D with augmented reality. Create ideas and dive into concepts that mirror how your brain processes information through Mind Map AR by ScapeHop. Visit https://www.scapehop.com/ to know more about this application soon to be available on ARCore.

Thanks for the last tips. I always ignore it
Thanks for the last tips. I always ignore it !

I like that you recommend to drink plenty of water. Also, it might be a good idea to do this a couple hours before the test so that you don't have to get up to go to the bathroom. Some teachers won't even let you leave.

All great ideas!!! You should just add some modern touches to your list... Anyways. Good luck guys.

Thanks

Very helpful tips for students, appreciate that. The most important among them is to find yourself a quite place where you can study and no one can disturb you. Some additional tips students can found here https://scoundrel1776.info/student-info/health-and-support/exam-preparation-ten-study-tips

who's the author in this article?

Just say wow,thanks

nice write up and a cool piece of help for students wanting to come out successful. Additional hints on students success could be found here http://aftaclass.com/how-to-prepare-for-an-exams/

What happens if you have been in college before for a short time and you want to go back to school only doing in a different country? I am 50 and want to finish a bachelors degree. Any advice on what I have to do to try to get into school in a different country?

Gifs are really funny, you explained every thing in way of fun. i have some more tips for which help with assignment writing:
1. Get a good start in class. Pay attention and take good notes.
2. Study in a quiet room. Turn off electronic devices. Only play music if it helps you.
3. Stay organized. Write a study guide. Review previous tests and assignments.
4. Start as soon as possible. Adjust your methods to suit your learning style and the subject.
5. Stay motivated. Take breaks every 20 to 30 minutes. Consider working with others.
6. Get enough sleep the night before. Eat a healthy breakfast and bring a snack

Hi Hannah, The tips you have shared here are very useful for the aspirants, especially the 4th & 5th one. What i like the most about this post is that, the gif images explains the tips effectively and are easy to understand.

Thank you!!

Very excellent TIPS! I believe in two words, don't give up and build the confident on the way as you are going. thank you.

Good tips indeed. Everyone should follow this to make their effort more fruitful.

thanks to tips

One thing to include, you require an approach to quiet down in case you're excessively focused! Something I learn and discovered exceptionally helpful is that calculating your eyes up when you think about, and doing a half grin makes you less pushed. On the off chance that you feel your breathing and pulse too for around a moment that all quiets you down a considerable measure.

Hello,
I am Vikash from India has completed my MSc(CS) in 2014, i want to apply for MS/PhD Program in these top 100 universities. Please tell me that what i have to do for admission ?? and how can i will get notification for admission in these universities???

Hi Vikash - please see my response to your question here.

Thanks for sharing.Exams often form a big part of your academic assessment. As well as studying your course materials, there are many ways that you can prepare for exams to increase your confidence and help you take the right approach. Here you will find guides on the different types of exams you may encounter as well as tips on how to study for them, surviving exams and how to interpret clue words in questions.

Thanks alot that might just work

There is also free tools around that will help you to leverage your exam preparation, for example the application described in this post "http://www.doepiccoding.com/blog/?p=407", in few words the application is a very convenient tool for students of any level, with Chiron you can upload a set of questions completely designed by you into your Android device to get ready for your hardest test, you should be able to study anytime anywhere you want if the test is that import to you, Chiron also helps you to keep the information that you care the most around for a while easily, thanks to its reminders mechanism that pops up random questions of the exam in the Notification Bar of your device during the day. It is extremely convenient, hope it helps you too guys...

I've found this really good book called "How To Get A First", a friend recommended it to me and I ended up devouring it. Just finished exams and feel pretty good about them for the first time ever.

that is good,but I think it depends on everyone to be comfortable with what method

<p>Please be very careful. Last-minute studies does not help. Neither does revising until 12AM before the examination day.It will just make you weary and you will lose concentration. Remember, concentration is the key.</p>

And we are prapairing in groups. Think it help more)

This is really great, thanks. I disagree with some stuff though. Like Organising your study space. Actually that's great, but I sometimes found I took way too long doing this to avoid work!

"Use Flowcharts and Diagrams" is the main one. Your advice about explaining to friends does this to an extent - I find that useful.

One thing to add, you need a way to calm down if you're too stressed! Something I learnt and found very useful is that angling your eyes up when you study, and doing a half smile makes you less stressed. If you feel your breathing and heartbeat too for around a minute that all calms you down a lot.

Oh! Something connected to point 8! You can't get by just eating brain food, you also have to avoid brain poison! Don't eat stuff with artificial colorant, sweetener and 5h1# like that. They screw with your concentration so it's just as important that you avoid the bad as get the good.

<p>this post is very important for students... thanks</p>

who wrote this