Revision Hints and Tips

Exam TipsPlease note that these hints and tips are not exhaustive - but some of them might just work for you.

Previous Examination Papers

  • Normally available from Departmental Offices or Departmental Web Pages.
  • Especially useful in finding out how a paper is organised.

e.g. Answer 4 questions
Answer 2 from Section 1, 1 from Section 2, 1 from Section 3
Multi-choice answers

  • Allows you to practise dividing up your time when sitting the paper - in other words, how much time you need to complete each section of the paper.
  • Allows you to practise reading the instructions, working out what to answer, make a plan, allocate time in a panic-free environment.

How to Revise

  • Start well before the exam period, plan some time in between your social/family life.
  • Spider/mind-mapping diagram good way of linking ideas and not simply thinking of one area only in relation to a particular question or an essay/report you have already written: allows ideas to flow and therefore be more confident about answering questions which are different from what you expected.
  • Ask yourself whether what you are revising is important and relevant. If it isn't, start again and find something else that is.
  • Make a revision timetable but don't worry unduly if something unexpected happens; on the other hand, try to find an alternative slot (even if it's only half the time you had originally planned, it's better than nothing both academically and psychologically).
  • Choose different coloured pens (and paper) for each subject area.
  • Reduce a topic or exam question to keywords, write them on a card and then practice writing all you know about the keyword.
  • Write down any quotations/quotes/other important things to remember on a card, ask friends and family to test you. HOWEVER, do not spend valuable time learning them unless they are essential or, at least, useful.
  • A way of remembering information is to play back taped notes as you are relaxing in bed. Your mind is somewhere near what is called The Alpha State (between fully alert and asleep) - and it is your most receptive state of mind.
  • If you are experiencing emotional, physical or domestic problems see your personal tutor BEFORE the exam and definitely before you reach crisis point. Remember that you will need to submit a doctor's note to cover any illness during the exam period.
  • Check what you are allowed to take into the exam. Dictionary? Calculator?

    GET THEM APPROVED by the Student Services Information Desk (SSiD) well in advance.

The Examination

  • Exam QuietCheck that you know exactly where the venue is well before the exam starts (for the start-time. Make sure that you are not using the draft exam timetable - the final version can sometimes differ from the draft.
  • Check you have everything in one place the night or morning before. Pack your bag/briefcase etc. in good time.
  • Try to get your normal amount of sleep before an exam day. If you can't sleep at night, take an afternoon nap. Sleep in a separate room or on the sofa if you're restless - you can then read something if absolutely necessary but preferably not a text or chapter you've not previously studied. Try to relax - watch a TV soap or film.
  • Don't turn up and wait outside the exam room too long beforehand - you run the risk of getting very nervous. If you're early, find somewhere peaceful to go until 5 minutes before the exam room opens.
  • Look for the key verb in the question e.g. analyse, compare, define and answer the question doing just that, since marks can be deducted if you do not follow the instructions given.
  • If you have two exams in one day, try to take a short walk in between and eat a light but nutritious meal.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Learn stress reduction techniques, or stick to methods that you know work well for you (e.g. practice breathing exercises).