Top 10 Study Hacks for Exam Success!


I am well aware that the exam period can be an extremely stressful and exhausting time of the year. 3 months left until exams? Plenty of time. 2 months left? Plenty of time. Soon enough you realise that your first exam is only a couple of weeks away, leaving you feeling fairly overwhelmed and slightly anxious. Having just completed my second year at university, I have learnt a whole lot about exam preparation and thought I would share my top 10 study tips for any fellow students out there!

study exams organisation revision advice

  1. Stay positive! - whether you have just started to read through notes or you are half way through revision, it is so important to stay positive. There is no use looking back at the time you have wasted or worrying about how much time you have left. All you can do is think about how to use the remaining time efficiently. This leads on nicely to my second point..
  2. Revision timetables - by no means do you have to create a very structured and rigid timetable (although this can work very well for some people) but it can be useful to have at least some idea of what topics you would like to study each day. I like to write down all of the topics that I need to cover for each exam at the very beginning of my revision. This allows me to see how long I have left to spend on each topic and I can also tick off the list as I progress.
  3. Revision technique - everyone has a different way of revising and you need to find what works best for you. Whether it is note-making, revision cards or posters, think about what you will find most beneficial. Personally, I usually like go through lectures, tutorials and textbooks to highlight key points and then I write out notes summarising the important information. Later on in my revision I might condense these notes further to make revision cards. 
  4. Study space - your study space is a very important factor. Whether you work better in the library or in your room will depend on own your personal preferences however it is important that your space is free from distractions. If you choose to study at home, ensure that the area is clear, clutter-free and well-lit. It is also nice to have natural light during the day so try sitting close to a window if possible. 
  5. Use colour - when making any revision notes I always have a bunch of coloured pens and highlighters at hand. I'm not sure if I'm alone on this one, but I find revision much more enjoyable when my notes are colourful and organised. Highlighters are very useful in helping you to quickly identify key points in your notes and textbooks - I would highly recommend using them if you don't already :)
  6. Take breaks - it is so important to take regular breaks during your revision to keep you focused. When you start to feel overwhelmed and stressed, taking a short break (even if it is 5 or 10 minutes) away from your textbooks can be very helpful. Try to get some fresh air and perhaps grab a healthy snack to refuel. 
  7. Look after yourself - many students drink endless amounts of coffee and energy drinks during the exam period and stay awake for the majority of the night attempting to cram before an exam. Doing this will leave you feeling drained and tired, which is the last thing you need when you are sitting in the exam hall. Ensure that you start revision early enough to avoid 'all-nighters' which will only impair your concentration. It is also important to eat nutritious food and drink plenty of water. You want to have as much energy as possible during this stressful period and fast-food is just not going to cut it! Stock up on as much fresh fruit and veg as possible.
  8. Group work - not everyone likes to study in groups but sometimes meeting with your course mates (even if it is for an hour or so) can be very helpful. Not only can you help each other out on tough topics but it may lift your spirits knowing that others are in the same situation as you.
  9. Ask for help - Don't be afraid to meet with your lecturers/teachers/tutors during the revision period to clarify anything which you may have difficulty with - they are there to help! Even sending out a quick email may clear up any confusion, just make sure that you don't leave it too late.
  10. Past papers - Past papers are a very useful source of revision. Not only can you familiarise yourself with the layout of the exam but you will also have a better idea of the type of questions that may appear. I wouldn't use these as your only source of revision though. It is never a good idea to gamble and skip topics that haven't appeared in the previous papers!

Whether you are in the midst of exams or you are preparing for a new academic year, I hope you found these tips useful. Whenever you feel stressed just think about your end goal. Working hard now will pay off in the future so don't give up!

Good luck,
Amy ♥

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