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Keep calm and beat exam stress

Tuesday 27 May 2014 Exam Tips

The end of the academic year is fast approaching bringing with it dreaded exams. Prospects have you covered so there's no need to panic. A little bit of preparation goes a long way.

Whether you're a fresher or a final year student your exams are equally as important and the advice is the same - be prepared and be calm. Surely all you have to do is revise and make sure you know your stuff, right? Not so much. The problems start with how you revise.

The common misconception is that locking yourself in a room under a mountain of books and not venturing out until you can recite the notes backwards will guarantee exam success - for most students this is not the case.

Get yourself organised

Set out your work space and differentiate between the areas where you will study and the areas that you will relax in. Once this is done the next step is to make a revision plan where you allocate more time to subjects you are unsure about or did a long time ago. Be realistic about what you think you can actually get done in a day and don't overload yourself. Make sure your plan takes into account any other commitments that you might have during that time.

Find what works for you, stick to it

There is no right or wrong way to revise, it's all about finding what works for you and using those methods to their best advantage. Some students use their notes and make mind maps and diagrams to help remember key facts, others use cue cards and keywords; while a lucky few just read their notes straight through and remember the information.

Take a look at past exam papers so that you can see the format. Answer some of the questions so that you can get a rough idea of how long it takes you. Most universities will run revision classes and workshops around exam time and so you should take any help that is given to you.

Be realistic

It would be impossible to know every fact on every subject in every module so be selective about what you do know. It is still a good idea to have a basic knowledge of everything so that you could answer a question on a certain topic if that was your only option.

Identify your strengths and weaknesses before you look at which subject areas to revise and how to break them down. Don't spend a week revising subjects that you already know well because while this will probably make you feel more confident, it won't help you when it comes to the exam. It is also a waste of your precious revision time.

Take care of yourself

Staying up until 2am doing ten hours of straight revision is probably going to be detrimental to your success. Just because you spent more hours revising doesn't mean you know more than your friends.

As well as studying, take time out to do other things that you enjoy, eat well, drink plenty of water and - though it might sound ridiculous - don't over-revise.