Exam Preparation and Revision
10 steps to preparing for your exams:
1. Find out everything you need to know before your exam
Ask your teacher to discuss the course outline with you to ensure you are revising the relevant course content.
2. Collect all of the materials your need to revise
Including notes, handouts and books. You should also make sure you have caught up on any lessons you have missed.
Get familiar with the exam format and any additional information that may be given to you as part of the exam.
3. Get your stationery / Make revision interesting
For those of us not fortunate enough to possess a photographic memory, at some stage we need to write down some notes. Where possible, get hold of paper, coloured pens and sticky notes. Try to get stationery that will make revision as entertaining as possible.
4. Get hold of an exam timetable
Most schools and colleges will provide you with a personalised timetable, if not, you can download our key dates document and create your own.
5. Draw up a revision plan
Only you can decide how much time you need to spend revising each subject. Calculate how many days you have left before your exams and plan enough time to revise each subject.
6. Bite the bullet: start revising
Now that you have collected all your revision material and chosen a location, the only thing left is to revise. Here are some revision methods:
- Make notes on all work carried out in class and any other supporting material, or condense existing notes.
- Make flash cards or key points, setting out important dates or things you have problems remembering.
- Make brightly coloured wall charts.
- Don't overload, plan regular breaks. Working for hours on end becomes counter-productive and you won't be able to retain what you have covered. Regular and shorter revision periods are more beneficial than one longer period.
- Re-visit work that is difficult for you. The saying, 'practice makes perfect' is true.
You can always test and trial a few methods and then choose the method which appears to be most effective for you.
7. Don't forget: your teachers are there to help
If at any stage during your revision you become stuck on a particular topic, contact your teacher. Remember, it is never too late to ask. Don't feel afraid to ask a teacher for help up to the day before an exam.
8. Healthy body equals healthy mind
- Avoid drinks with high levels of caffeine such as tea, coffee and fizzy drinks.
- Ensure you have the recommended 8 glasses of water a day as this can prevent dehydration and raise concentration levels.
- Eat healthy foods, such as: fruit, vegetables and fish.
- Get plenty of sleep to help you focus and concentrate.
9. Stay Positive
You may have periods when you become overwhelmed with how much you have to learn, put pressure on yourself to succeed or become disheartened from talking to friends. Reassure yourself of the following things to stay positive:
- How good it will feel when all your exams are over
- How pleased you will feel when you get good grades
- How much you have covered so far rather than how much you have left to go
Give yourself incentives, for example, go to the cinema or socialise with friends after a good revision session.
10. Exam day: plan ahead
In order to avoid any last minute stress, plan the exam day down to the very last detail.
NB: It may be an idea to avoid discussing the upcoming exam with your friends before entering the exam hall.
Make sure you are aware of the rules around the use of mobile phones in the exam room. This JCQ video offers guidance: