The crammer's guide to last-minute exam prep

05 Jan 2018
By Unite Students, Staff writer at The Common Room

Feeling ahead of the game, revision-wise? Nice work if you are.

But if you're doing some last minute cramming, here's some advice to keep you calm and on-track.

1) Be realistic

If your first exam is just a few days away, be realistic about how much of the syllabus you can cover.

Focus on one or two areas where you can improve your understanding the most.

2) Use traffic lights

Put your highlighters to use. Mark topics you're confident with in green, those you're unsure about in orange and those you need to work on in red.

3) Make a plan

Use your colour-coding to decide what to make a plan with goals and timings. Half an hour on this will be time very well-spent.

Be specific. 'Understand the Tennis Court Oath by 2pm' is good. 'French revolution stuff' will be less helpful.

4) Plan your meal breaks

Avoid the energy crash that comes from eating and drinking too much sugar and caffeine.

5) Get up and go

Wake up bright and early so you can get as much done as possible without having to rush or stress.

But it's not a day at the office – three or four hours of focused revision is plenty for one day.

6) Take a break

Even when emergency-cramming before an exam, your brain needs time to digest everything you're feeding it.

For every hour of study, make time for two 10-minute breaks.

7) Get an early night

Resist the urge to stay up studying the night before an exam. Instead, wind down early to make sure you're on top form in the morning.

There's a huge difference between eight hours' sleep and five or six.

8) Hit the library

In the run up to an exam, limit your social distractions by working at the library.

If you struggle to ignore your phone, try an anti-distraction app such as Forest – get rewards for staying focused.

9) Post it… everywhere

During exam season, even a toilet trip can be turned into a revision session with the help of a few post-it notes.

Who knew you could brush up on iambic pentameter mid-shower?

10) Know where to go

Minimise any exam nerves by making sure you know exactly where the exam is being held and what you need to take.

On the day, give yourself plenty of time to get there.

When the revision's done...

... and it's exam day, take a deep breath and do your best.

Just remember, there's more to you than your degree class.

Good luck.

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Staff writer at The Common Room at The Common Room