Revision tips

Exam season is always a stressful time of year, but revising effectively can reduce your anxiety and boost confidence.

We've put together some top revision tips to help you through this year's exams. 
  1. Timetable
  2. Start early and break your revision down into small chunks. Make yourself a timetable so that you know you've got time to go through everything you need to. There are some great tools online that can help you, such as  

  3. Take breaks and relax
  4. In a study published last year, researchers from the University of Sheffield demonstrated that taking long breaks from practising improved performance overall (albeit the study was about playing an online game....but the principle still applies!). Make sure you give yourself time to relax and digest the information – don't overload yourself.

  5. Repetition
  6. There is much research to support the theory that repetition strengthens a memory. The rehearsal of a memory (whether it is a fact, task, or event) consolidates it and increases the neural connections associated with it.  

  7. Find a place/style that works for you
  8. Revision is individual to you. You need to work out when, where and how you learn best. Do you need silence in order to concentrate, or do you prefer music or quiet chatter? Is it more effective to work with some friends, or will they distract you? Are you more efficient in the morning or the afternoon? Focus on the more challenging subjects when you know your concentration is at its best.

  9. Revision technique
  10. While everyone learns differently and you need to find what works best, revision that requires active thought is more likely to be effective than passive techniques like copying notes. Try doing some practice questions, make links between subjects, test your knowledge without notes, or explain a subject/concept to a colleague. 

  11. Get an early night
  12. You'll no doubt know this already, but sleep is really important for consolidation of memory. Not only will you feel better for being rested, but recent research has also shown that your brain rehearses what you've just learnt when you're asleep (see tip 3)!

Don't forget to look after yourself while you're revising; make sure you eat well, exercise, and stay positive. If you are struggling, don't hide away; contact your university for help and support. If you know you get anxious and panic in exams, you could try practising some relaxation techniques so that, if you get a bout of nerves when you enter the room, you can calm yourself down and concentrate. 

All that's left now is to wish you good luck!

This page was correct at publication on 27/03/2015. Any guidance is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.