7 simple tips for exam success

Written by Matthew Roebuck

It’s exam time and as any student knows this is a time of stress and anxiety. Weeks of work are coming to an end and you need to prepare, but are you studying in the best possible way?

Here are 7 tips to help get you through this period not only unscathed but thriving.

1. Know thyself

What kind of learner are you? Do you study better in the morning or at night? When it’s light or when it’s dark? Do you learn by listening, by seeing or by doing?

Knowing what works best for you is an important part of studying. There is no point setting your alarm for 6AM if your mind can’t get going until mid-morning. Conversely, if you are constantly falling asleep by 10PM it may not be a good idea to schedule your study sessions for late at night.

You need to know exactly how your mind and body operate then act accordingly.

2. Exercise, eat well, and rest

There is a mountain of research to show the benefits of getting a good night’s sleep, eating well and getting regular exercise.

Sleep helps focus your attention and consolidates memories. Exercise gives your more energy and eating well helps you concentrate and focus on the task at hand.

Stop burning the candle at both ends, always get a full nights rest, throw away the junk food and get on your bike. You’ll thank yourself no matter your exam results.

3. Minimise distractions

A well organized, quiet space with access to the internet is better than the middle of a crowded food court.

You may be tempted to study with a partner but you should only do this if you are both able to concentrate on the task at hand. If your partner is a distraction the benefit from having them with you may be negated by the time you waste.

Research also suggests that listening to music can either help or hinder results depending on the individual, so act accordingly.

4. Set a schedule and stick to it

Map out your week. Set time limits for each session and set breaks so you aren’t studying when your mind lacks energy.

You should study every day you can. Professional athletes don’t “cram” training in the day before the game. They train every single day, week in week out, in order to achieve the best results.

Once you set out your schedule and know when you are going to study you can then decide what you are going to study and prioritise based on need.

5. Focus on your weakest subjects

The more time you spend on a subject the better you will get at it, so it’s important that you spend the most time on what you’re not good at.

This doesn’t mean you should neglect what you are good at, it just means that you need to give those subjects a little bit less time than the ones that need work.

You will improve your weaker subjects whilst still ensuring you do well on stronger ones.

6. Ask for help, or offer it to others

Lecturers are paid to help you so don’t be afraid to ask them questions. It’s better to look silly asking a question than fail an exam.  Your lecturers want you to do well, so help them help you.

Avoid asking fellow students for help unless you are confident they know what they are talking about. On that note, if you are confident in a subject it can be useful to assist your fellow students as this is revision in its own right and will likely help your results.

7. Stay positive, it really helps

This might sound like “new-age” nonsense but the evidence is in. Not only is a positive outlook associated with long-term health benefits, it is also strongly correlated with lifetime success.

This means staying positive will help you with your results and even make you more likely to find the best job, not to mention live a long and happy life.

So, don’t worry be happy, don’t stop believing, always look on the bright side of life and good luck on your exams.


About the author

Matthew Roebuck

Journalist and finder of the truth.

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