Exam Preparation

Here are some ideas. Are there some things that you hadn’t considered?

A regular place to study

Is the study environment good?


Does it have good light? Good temperature? Fresh air/well ventilated?


Have you cleared away everything except what you are working on?


Is it distraction free?
Do you have a list of common interruptions you get/may get?


Do you have a strategy for interruptions? Are there ways to avoid them?


Do you have all the materials you may need readily available?


Do you have a clear idea of exactly what you will do each session?


Time Management

Start revision early.


Have you developed your study timetable? (If no, look at the online guide to time management).


Divide large jobs into manageable tasks.


Write down the specific task you wish to accomplish, and the time you wish to accomplish it in.


Divide your work into short study periods, 15-40 minutes, then have a break for 5-10mins. This helps maintain focus and helps with retention of knowledge.


Consider setting a reward for completed tasks. This can be motivating.


Are you aware of what time of day you learn best? Timetable your study for these times.


Keep yourself OK

Have you scheduled time for plenty of sleep and exercise? (both help with learning/memory and retrieval of knowledge).


Have you organised to eat good foods? Some foods slow your metabolism and interfere with your ability to study and learn.
Some foods/drinks overload or exhaust your system. Be careful. Remember to drink some water.


Do you have a way of identifying your stressors [the things that cause you stress and worry]? Have you worked out what you can do about them?


Do you talk to yourself positively and confidently?


Do you know ways of keeping yourself relaxed and calm?


Be familiar with the exam format

Are you able to obtain copies of previous exam papers?


Do you know what the format of your exam will be? How long will it be? How many sections are there? Are all questions compulsory or will there be a choice? Will it be multiple choice/short answer/ or essay?


It is important that you know how much time you can afford to spend on each question. Do you know how to work this out?


Know and use your learning style

Refer to the learning style guide.

Organise to keep yourself stress-free
  1. Pack your bags the night before.
  2. Get a good night’s sleep.
  3. Eat breakfast.
  4. Arrive in plenty of time.
  5. Avoid conversations with other students.
  6. Talk positively to yourself.

Exam Room Tips
  • Read carefully before you begin.
  • Allocate time according to the value of each question and keep to your schedule.
  • Attempt all questions.
  • Begin with the easiest question.
  • Aim for clear presentation of your ideas
  • Read the question - Note there is an online guide [Instruction Words] to common key words used in assignments and Exams
  • Jot down all relevant points
  • Put points in order
  • Cut out any repetition
  • Write the answer on your exam paper. Write legibly and clearly using short sentences. Clearly put a line through material to be ignored
  • Clearly label each question and leave plenty of space between your answers

Multiple Choice Tips
  • Read all the test before you begin. Sometimes an answer, or hint to help answer one question will be found in a question further on.
  • With longer questions find and underline the key words.
  • Read all the choices. There may be two answers that are similar but one is better or there may be an “all of the above” option.
  • If you are sure one of the multi choice answers is incorrect put a line through it and do not look at this option again.
  • Choose neither or both of two options which imply the correctness of the other.
  • Choose neither or one of 2 statements one of which, if correct would imply the incorrectness of the other.
  • Keep to your time allocation for each question. If you are not sure about the answer to a question put a mark beside it and move on. Reconsider it if you have time later on. If you do not have time to rethink the answer make a guess.

Common Key Words used in assignments and exams