Revising and Studying

Revising and Studying

Exam and test preparation can seem challenging and overwhelming. However, viewing your preparation as a set of strategies and smaller goals can make the overall task less daunting. Being well prepared and planning purposeful study sessions is key to managing stress.

Exams and tests are often a major part of assessment periods, and therefore allowing sufficient time to prepare for them is essential.

Five top tips:

  1. Be proactive - work steadily across several weeks to prepare. This will make the assessment period more manageable overall. 
  2. During trimester, revise class notes, readings and resources to keep the information fresh in your mind. If there are areas that you are unclear about, approach your teachers to clarify information.
  3. Use your unit outline and class notes to create a visual overview of the unit. Remember to highlight key concepts and the connections between concepts.
  4. Divide study blocks into achievable, realistic chunks. Also divide the time up equally between the subjects you are studying, and then between the selected topics within each subject. 
  5. Make a personal study timetable, and ensure that times and breaks are realistic. Consider the following when planning and preparing a study session: 
  • When do I study best? Morning, afternoon, or evening?
  • How do I like to study? Listening to recordings, reading over notes, discussing information with peers, looking over diagrams or charts?
  • How long do I want to study for? A short burst or a long session?
  • Is my study space free from distractions and do I have everything I need?


Purposeful revision strategies:

  • Reduce your class notes and readings to key headings and points. Select the most important theories, references and evidence for each topic.
  • Overview your topics and make easy reference cards or an A3 Mind map.
  • Write out or record on your phone what you have learnt. Cottrell (2008) suggests writing notes and checking their accuracy THREE times to build up your memory.
  • Work out answers to a range of possible questions for your exam. Practice answers to possible questions. 
  • Sit your own ‘mock’ exam and actively check your own learning. Like most things, exam performance improves and anxiety diminishes with practice.
  • Build up your writing/typing speed and accuracy. Markers are looking for quality answers that are coherent and concise, not quantity.