‘Don’t revise in bed’: Your survival guide for exam season

03 Dec 2021
By Joy K., Student at Robert Gordon University

Exams are fast approaching and no matter how much you want to avoid them, sooner or later you are going to have to drag yourself to the library and get some revision in.

Without a doubt, exam season can be a stressful time so I’ve produced this handy revision guide to help get you through.

Plan your time

I find it helpful to create a revision timetable that also includes everything else I do, like sports and your part-time job. Doing this helps me to effectively manage my time. I find it easiest to count back from when the exam is and then list what I have to revise, slotting it in over the various days.

I always start revising early so that I don’t have to rush. Revision can be stressful enough without feeling you don’t have enough time. I find planning helps me to be more productive and ensures I get more done.

I always find it best to revise in the morning, as I am more focused, and it means I can relax in the evening. Most importantly, don’t forget to schedule yourself some breaks, otherwise you’ll burn out. I tend to study for one hour and have a 15-minute break.

Read more: ‘I recommend colour-coding’: How to plan and manage your time at uni

Find your revision method

There are dozens of different ways to revise. You should find what works best for you. I find spider diagrams really helpful for outlining the main parts of a topic and then I write more in-depth notes for the finer details.

Don’t just write pages and pages of your lecture notes again. Break them down into manageable chunks. I find it super helpful to use lots of different coloured pens to organise my notes, as it always makes them look more appealing.Hopefully it will encourage you to revise more too. Some people like to use flash cards to revise. These are handy because they are more portable, so you can bring them on the bus with you for some last-minute cramming.

Read more: Not sure how to start revising? Steal this plan from Grace

Get help from technology

We all spend so much time on our phones, and yet we see them as a distraction rather than a help to our revision and work. But they don’t have to be. Google Docs/Google Drive is a fantastic help, as it saves your work as you go. This means you’ll never have to worry about losing work again.

Trello and Google Calendar are also really helpful when planning out your work and making to-do lists. Meanwhile, apps like Cold Turkey are great for trying to shut out the distractions of social media.

Read more: 14 Apps and websites that get me through revision and exams

Study somewhere that works for you

Find a revision environment that works best for you. Make sure it is somewhere quiet and don’t revise in bed (you will be way more productive sat at a desk). I personally use music to revise, but I listen to chilled, calming music (Spotify has some great revision/focus playlists). If you feel music would distract you then stick to the sound of silence.

Also, don’t be afraid to get someone to ask you questions. Talking aloud can also be a great way to help you memorise facts.

Read more: How to stop procrastinating and get your work done


Exam time can be stressful, but I find that exercise is a great way to destress and it also gives me a chance to escape from books and screens. Try to eat well and get enough sleep so you are more productive. It can be a stressful period so stay calm, reward yourself and remember to breathe. I like to relax with a facemask and a bubble bath. Remember to talk to someone if you’re feeling overwhelmed.

Read more: Meditation: How just 5 minutes left me relaxed and peaceful

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A Northern Irish, caffeine fuelled, food-loving photographer and aspiring journalist, who likes to think they're funny. Political fan, dog enthusiast and music lover. Expect sarcasm, puns and bad jokes.