So there’s no need for us to state the obvious about planning properly and avoiding stimulants, but here are some tips you might not have thought of that can help you through exams
The temptation to barricade yourself in a room with your books is understandable, but physical activity is very important - especially during intense periods of study. Physical activity increases heart rate which makes the blood circulate faster. The brain gets more oxygen which improves your productivity while reducing tiredness and stress. If you already exercise regularly, make sure you maintain your sessions during exams. And if you don’t – there’s never been a better time to start. Go for a brisk walk or a run. Just half an hour’s exercise will make a massive difference.
Make it matter
You might feel virtuous if you spend 12 hours straight at your desk, but it’s not necessarily the best use of your time. Short spurts of revision (20-25 minutes) are most effective. Your concentration lapses after about an hour and you need to take a short break (5-10 minutes).
Test yourself on what you’ve read. Recent research suggests that the two most effective revision techniques are testing yourself and spreading out your revision over time.
Make your own learning maps. Create flash cards. Ask friends to test you. Chant or make up a rap song. Find someone who knows nothing about the topic and explain to them.
Check exam times and locations
Every year, the ED unit helps students who have missed an exam because they got the time, day or exam room wrong. Check, check, and double check your exam times and locations. Make a note in your diary, put reminders in your phone, ask a friend to remind you!
You’re not alone in your revision effort. Family and friends can help you even if they don’t understand what you’re learning by testing you. Share your exam timetable with a trusted friend who can remind you where you need to be and when, and who can offer a sympathetic ear if you’re anxious. Don’t forget that ED is also here for you and can support you with any academic worries.
Make a 'cheat sheet'
For a little reassurance the night before the exam, make yourself a 'cheat sheet'. Write down a few essential facts, formulae, dates or the things you want to remember on one side of a postcard. You can look over it again before the exam as a quick refresher - but don’t forget to leave it outside the exam room!
Take a nap
Ideally, you should try to build in proper rest and relaxation during exam time. If you really can’t sleep all night, try cat napping. New research shows that a brief rest after learning something can help you remember it a week later. Other experiments have shown that a full night's sleep helps you learn new skills or retain information. Treat resting as a necessary part of your revision schedule.
Work through the Exam Checklist
It’s important to be as prepared as you can be before your exams, so the ED unit have put together an Exam Checklist for you to work through, to help you know what you should be doing, and when. Download the Exam Checklist here.
You can also find more tips on the University's website