There are many ways to revise and you will find out what works best for you. Exams can be an extremely stressful time, but so long as you revise well and avoid feeling stressed on the day, you should be able to succeed. Here are some tips to help you:
1) Learn and revise your subject – the basics
Don’t study late into the early hours on coffee or the latest stimulant. Studies have shown that you will remember things more clearly and effectively if you revise when you are fresh. Practise bursts of revision. This can mean as little as ten to forty minutes revising. Time yourself and have a ten minute break. It’s not always about quantity of revision, but also quality.
Don’t drown yourself in a subject, but take it one step at a time. Think about what type of questions the exam paper is likely to ask. Practise with past papers and make sure that you know how wide an area the scope of a subject an exam will cover. Posters, post-sticks and flash cards can also play a vital role in revising.
2) Discussing and revising with other students
If it is the case of making a point, argument or giving proof of why you think something, then think an answer out loud to a friend to improve your recall and train of thought. At this stage, it’s a simple way of testing how much you know and to see if you can string a logical answer together. It doesn’t matter how bluntly you put it.
Let your friends or fellow students prompt you if you get stuck and prompt them on theirs, if they get stuck. Try not to use the textbooks unless the exam says to use them. If you both get stuck on the same part, then you will have identified a particular area where you both need to be stronger in and you can help each other revise.
Using your flash-cards with a fellow student is another great way to test yourself. If you don’t have good self-control, you can find yourself continually turning over the card for the answer rather than trying to do it more infrequently and learning it. Again, a friend might be able to prompt you or help set a trigger in your mind, so when you think of a question you can more readily associate it with the right answer.
3) How to look forward to the challenge
Gain more confidence. No, it’s not a stubborn confidence you want here. Each time you get something right, you should feel good about yourself and more sure about the individual answer. Your confidence should reinforce this and make the task more enjoyable. If you have pitted yourself against possible exam questions, fellow students and revised your best, then you should look forward to the day when everything you have worked so hard for should come to fruition.
4) Techniques for remaining calm on the day itself
Go to your exams early. Usually, teachers or exam officers advise you to be there ten or fifteen minutes before. Arrive with the right essentials. Your teacher or lecturer should tell you what’s necessary beforehand.
Don’t chat to every person you know who is also taking the exam. Exam nerves can be catching and you can feel more nervous beside someone else who is feeling anxious. If you are waiting before going into the exam room, take out a good book to read for a few minutes and just ease the stress away.
You could try a few of your flash-cards, but don’t get yourself flustered. Nerves can make it more difficult to recall. Try a few gentle breathing techniques if you find your breathing starts to get out of control.
Don’t be distracted by anyone else inside the exam room. This is your exam and at the end of the day it’s going to be your results that matter to you. Put your hand up and inform an officer if anyone is being particularly distracting. Relax and answer as many questions as you can. If you have time left at the end, go over them and check spelling or punctuation.
Try not to give into the temptation to discuss what you wrote with your friends or fellow students afterwards. If there is something you missed, it will only nag you and make you feel less confident in your abilities for future exams. Smile, you made it through.