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Help! My exams are coming up and I am not ready

It’s exam season and you know what that means: stress! Don’t worry, though; we’re here to help you make it through this challenging time in your life and still come out on top by offering our top tips on how to cope with exams at university.

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” - B. Franklin

Make a revision timetable and schedule your breaks

Make a realistic schedule that you will stick to, you can find loads of resources online to help you with this, like the one from The Student Room. Planning and breaking revision down into small chunks will help you to feel less overwhelmed and taking breaks every 45-60 minutes will allow what you have read to sink in and will help with retaining information. It will stop you feeling so tired and help with your concentration.

Customise your notes to suit you

Colour coding can be really helpful to enable you to find key pieces of information to go over. Notes on flash cards or diagrams could also help – do whatever you feel will help you!

Make sure you understand everything

If there is anything you don’t understand or aren’t clear on, do some extra reading or find an alternate source of information. If you are still unsure, don’t be afraid talk to a classmate or tutor to help you make sense of the information.

Look at past exam papers

Familiarising yourself with the layout of exam papers or the questions that could be posed could really help prepare you. If you set yourself a timer when completing past papers this could improve your exam technique!

Take a break!

Studying for too long without a break will make you tired and your concentration will suffer. This could end up hindering your progress! Instead take a break every 45-60 mins, step away from the computer, make a sandwich or dance around to your favourite tune… whatever it is give your eyes and brain a rest from the screen.

Treat yourself!

Watch your favourite show or film, have a long relaxing bath, take a walk with a friend, grab your favourite coffee… whatever you do treat yourself – you will have earned it!

Keep active

Hunching over books and computers won’t do your back any good, when you aren’t revising, move around and do something to get your heart rate up. Exercise is great for keeping positive, taking your mind off your stress and could help you sleep better.

Get help

If you’re feeling stressed it is important to talk to someone, a tutor, student support, a friend, a family member, you could even reach out to an organisation like Student Space. Don’t be embarrassed and don’t suffer in silence. You are not alone!

What to do on exam days

Be prepared – Start off by eating a healthy breakfast and give yourself plenty of time to get to the exam hall. Set out everything you may need for the exam the day before; including pens, pencils a water bottle and tissues – just in case.

Read all the questions first – Give yourself some time at the beginning of the exam to read through the questions. This way you will know what is coming and there will be no surprises.

Plan how much time to give to each question – if you get stuck leave it and come back to it. Make sure you give yourself enough time to check your answers at the end.

Once the exam is over – forget about it! If you follow our advice you will be as prepared as you can possibly be and you will have done your very best. Don’t keep going over the questions, focus on your next exam!

Good luck to all taking exams this term!

Written by Laura Cunningham, Social Media Manager

4th January, 2022