Exam time can be stressful, especially when living away from your family and usual support network. Here are our top tips for staying cool, calm, and in control while studying.
1. Set up a study area that is free of distractions
This will help you focus. Don’t study with the TV on, put your phone aside, don’t open your emails or internet browser, and let your friends or housemates know you need time out to study.
2. Schedule study time into your day
Start early in the semester, so you have plenty of time and get a set routine. Follow the routine so you don’t need to cram for exams at the last minute. You know yourself best; study when and where you will be most effective.
3. Plan your study sessions
Write a list of things you want to get done during your study session. This will help to make each session more manageable and less overwhelming.
4. Understand how you learn
Use methods that work for you to improve your ability to recall course material. Some people find it helpful to use flashcards, post-it notes, or talk to someone who doesn’t know much about the topic - this can be a great way to grow your confidence in what you’re learning.
5. Take regular breaks
Get up, take a walk, have something to eat or drink, chat with a friend or exercise. Make sure you take a 15-minute break for every hour of study. You will retain more information if you are well rested and relaxed.
6. Limit coffee and energy drinks
It can be tempting to drink lots of coffee or energy drinks to stay alert while you study. However, consuming more caffeine will only make it harder to concentrate once the caffeine wears off, and it can leave you feeling irritable or anxious.
7. Remember to eat
Take breaks for proper meals and stay hydrated. Keep healthy snacks at your study station to keep performing at your best. Nuts or dried fruit are great snack options and easy to take with you.
8. Find a study buddy
Arrange to meet up with a friend or classmate to study. If you’re preparing for the same exam, you can share ideas and test each other. Even if you’re working on different topics, the moral support and company can go a long way towards making studying a more pleasant experience.
9. Ask for help
Learn to recognise when you need help, and don’t be afraid to ask for it. Speak with your lecturer or tutor if you are having trouble understanding the course material. If you are feeling overwhelmed, let someone know and make an appointment with an advisor – they are there to help you succeed. Share your concerns with a friend or family member. If balancing study and work
becomes difficult, talk to your manager about changing your hours to fit in with study and exams.
10. Know the details of your exam well in advance
Avoid exam anxiety by being well prepared and double-checking essential details such as the day, time and location. Another tip is to work out how much time you need to take to commute to the exam location and arrive early to give yourself time to prepare and feel at ease.
Looking for more study tips? Check out other helpful articles on our Work and Study Hub.