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Study and Exam Tips – Dos and Don’ts

We’ve all been there. You look at the calendar and see your first exam date looming. You think about how much revision time your teachers seem to mention every few minutes in class. All the different subjects, modules and topics that could be there when you open your exam document…

Let’s pause for a second to think.

You don’t have to work yourself into a pre-exam frenzy. We’ve put together some study and exam dos and don’ts, so you have the tools ready to ace those exams.


Smart study for success.

Do – Have a realistic revision schedule – planning your study in advance will allow you to prepare and cover everything you might need to know. Even if you have a shorter study window than you thought, planning that time is better than not planning at all.

Do – Break the material for each subject into manageable chunks. If you have a lot of different subjects or module material, mix them up so that you won’t be studying the same thing all day.

Try the Pomodoro 25:10 technique;  set a timer and study for 25 minutes, and then get up and take a ten-minute break – have a drink and get out of the room you’re in. Breaking up your study time will make you more productive.

Don’t – Dwell too long on anxious thoughts – channel those thoughts into helpful questions. Question: why am I feeling anxious? Answer: I have created a study plan that covers everything I need and now I just need to follow it to succeed.

Study and Exam Dos and Don'ts

Do – Pause and look over what you have learnt after you have been studying the material for a while. Can you explain it to someone else? Which bits are you struggling to remember or understand?

Do – Use a study playlist. Silence isn’t always the best option. Spotify and YouTube have many playlists of meditative, soundtrack and classical music so you can find something that works for you.

Don’t – Neglect yourself. Stop to take in some fresh air and physical activity. Eat well and don’t feel guilty rewarding yourself.

Study and Exam Dos and Don'ts

Do – Look over past exam papers or read examples of answers. This will help you to understand how questions will be structured and how to form your answers.

Do – Keep sentences shorter and to the point. Examiners will have set criteria to judge your work against.

Don’t – Stay up all night. Sleep is important for your brain to store information you have learnt from that day. You can look over your notes before sleep.


Be good to yourself.

Do – Make infographics and use Smart study apps. Relate the material to your life. Linking information can help you to retain it for longer. Use mnemonic devices to remember key information.

Do – Ask for help, even if it’s just a friend testing your knowledge or explaining a topic to them.

Don’t – Study on your bed – get out of your bedroom completely if you can.

Study and Exam Dos and Don'ts

Do – Read the examiner’s reports, they publish a document each year detailing what they want to see and what not to do.

Do – You may have had to put social events, clubs, or sport activities on pause while you focus yourself. But you should still make time to enjoy yourself, put aside some time to watch a movie or go for a run.

Don’t – leave things to the last minute, small bursts of study over time will make it easier to remember rather than cramming the night before.


Exam day expectations.

Do – Prepare properly, have a good breakfast. If you are taking the exam in person, bring water with you, if you are doing your exam from home make sure you put water within reach.

Do – Have everything that you need to take with you, plan your time well so that you don’t forget something important.

Do – Read the instructions that you are given carefully. Changes to exam procedures mean that normal instructions that you may be used to could be different.

Don’t – Forget to plan your time for each question, during the exam if you become overwhelmed or lose track of time. It’s beneficial to know how much time you should dedicate to each part of your exam. When you finish with time to spare you can then go over your answer and add to it.


And finally…

Study and Exam Dos and Don'ts

Do – Be calm and kind to yourself. It is an important time for you, but you should be able to enjoy this time and be proud of how far you’ve come.

Check out our 5 ways to train your brain and remember more blog post for more tips.

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