Student Blog

Our 10 exam revision tips for 2019

Christmas is long over, and those exams that seemed so far away are now in the not too distant future. In the meantime, you’ve got lessons to go to, a busy social life to maintain, and revision to begin – and it’s easy to see how the pressure builds up. But it doesn’t need to if you prepare early.

Holly Keevil, an English and Psychology tutor and an undergraduate at Durham University, shares ten simple ways to get ahead.

Top 10 exam revision tips for 2019:

  1.  Sleep well. Establishing a regular sleep pattern will give your brain the best chance to recharge and cement the knowledge you’ve learnt during the day. If you start in January, your brain will be in top form by the time exams come, and those 9.30am papers won’t be such a strain.
  2. Catch your teachers now. Your teachers, too, will be stressed and busy around exam time, so catch them now for extra support if you need it – and then you can make sure you really understand your material before you start to revise it.
  3. Get your notes in order. Once you’ve spoken to your teachers and you’re clear that you understand everything, start making revision notes. When you get closer to exams, you can optimise your use of time by learning these and doing practice papers.
  4. Make timetables. Get into the habit of making work timetables, including breaks. You’ll be used to following them when your exams approach and regular breaks will be second nature.
  5. Find out how long it takes you to learn. While you have time, work out how long it takes you to learn a page of French vocab, or its relevant equivalent. Then you can plan your revision timetable accordingly.
  6. Work out how you learn. Practice different methods of revision. Get friends or family to test you, condense notes – and even teach others. Eventually you’ll find the way that suits you best, and this is the style you should stick to.
  7. Practice doing homework under exam conditions. Whilst you may not want to do this for every piece you’re set, once you’re comfortable with a topic, doing homework under exam conditions will expose the holes in your knowledge. It will also give you an idea of how much you can write in a limited time. Don’t forget to include planning time.
  8. Revise even ‘small’ tests properly. There’s no such thing as small tests from now on – everything counts. Revising properly for every test now will make it easier to retain knowledge for your final exams.
  9. Get used to putting your phone down. Phones are the ultimate procrastination tools. We flick ‘quickly’ through Facebook, and hours inadvertently pass. Even when we’ve put our phones down, it can take several minutes to switch into concentration mode – so we’re losing a double dose of precious work time. Get used to the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ rule – turn your phone off 5 minutes before you start work, put it away, and save it for breaks.
  10. Remember food. Don’t forget to eat – and to eat well. Your brain doesn’t focus effectively when it’s hungry, so make sure you keep your fuel topped up. Avoid the processed, sugary snacks that will give you an energy dip after the initial surge. Instead, try snacking on fresh fruit and unprocessed foods – they’ll maintain your energy levels for longer.
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