As we get further into April, the dreaded ‘assessment period’ gets ever closer.  Exams can make Spring indefinitely more stressful than it has any right to be. However in this post, I hope to impart some top exam tips to hopefully make this time a little more organized and a bit less stressful!

Tip 1: Schedule!

In my opinion scheduling your revision is the single most helpful thing for your stress levels. However this doesn’t mean that you go ahead and schedule ten hours of revision every day until the end of May – you’d never stick to it! The best way to approach this is to be honest about how you spend your time. If your best friend’s birthday is during the revision season, make sure to set aside time for it!

So after putting in any deadlines, events, and revision sessions, etc., divide your exam into different topic areas that you want to revise, and spread them evenly across your schedule.

Make this plan as realistic as possible – if you can’t get up before noon then don’t plan to tackle anything at 9am! Allow for rest and time for friends and hopefully the next month and a half will look less scary.

Tip 2: Your ‘Zone’

Your study zone can be just as important as a good schedule. This is where you identify the best environment for your revision. If your bed is too tempting then maybe studying in your bedroom isn’t for you!

Again you must be honest – if you know you just want to catch up with your friends then group study won’t help. On the other hand, teaching others can be a very successful revision tactic so if you know you can stay on task then give it a try.

Your study zone also refers to your mind-set. Having a positive and encouraging attitude will definitely help with your anxiety levels. If you get nervous, try and catch yourself by refocusing your thoughts. By focusing on your study tasks and your revision schedules, your exam will start to feel less daunting.

Tip 3: Past papers!

Past papers are an invaluable help to any revision session. Past papers will help you both practice your answers and lessen anxiety levels during the actual exam. If you’ve done a few past papers before then you’ll understand the structure of the exam – is it essay based or multiple choice? How many questions? What style of questions?

Through this the exam will not be totally alien to you on the day. It will also allow you to practice your knowledge and see if there are any gaps that you might need to focus on next time you revise. Even if you do not have access to any ‘seen’ questions, similar topics or styles may come up on the day. This will help you devise the right technique for tackling these questions.

If your professor has not put past papers up on Canvas then they can be found in the library.

Good Luck!

Overall, while exams are to be taken seriously and will likely be slightly nerve-wracking regardless of what anyone tells you, I hope these tips will help you be more prepared. There is less here about revision tactics because those differ for each person but if you need any help then don’t hesitate to contact the academic skills department – they are incredibly nice and have a number of useful things for students who come in. Remember: don’t panic, be prepared, and good luck!

About the author

Jenny is currently in her third year at Winchester and studies Politics and History. She regularly contributes to @wuhstry, the University of Winchester’s History Blog. For more from Jenny follow her on twitter @JennySlavin

Posted by: Elena Pearce