Exam Revision and Exam Techniques Improving Concentration
- Prepare a timetable, start each study session on time.
- Your place for study should be a quiet room, free from distractions and interruptions.
- Ensure good posture, sit comfortably, with your chair and table at a good working height.
- Keep your workspace free from clutter and distractions.
- Work in a good light, to avoid tired eyes and check ventilation and room temperature before you start working.
- Undertake demanding tasks when you are at your best - usually early morning or early evening. Do more straightforward tasks later. It's better to get up earlier than stay up late.
- Clearly define the task you are going to work on and complete each task within the time allocated. Do not daydream.
- Be active, rather than passive; e.g. make notes and read critically.
- Review each task for a few minutes before moving on to the next.
- Put away your books and papers before starting work on the next task.
- Take frequent breaks of 5 or 10 minutes, longer as work goes on. As a minimum, take a few deep breaths, stand up, flex your arms, walk about.
- Try to get other anxieties out of the way before settling down to study.
- Don't procrastinate and don't cram. Give yourself plenty of time to revise (6 days per paper is a good rule of thumb).
- Revise more topics than you think you need (5 topics for a 3 question exam; 6 topics for a 4 question exam).
- Plan your study in 20-40 minute blocks - include time for rest and recreation.
- Schedule your study sessions for the time of day when you are most alert.
- Set up study groups - studying with other people can maintain motivation.
Give yourself enough time to get to your exam. Don't arrive too early at the exam hall - waiting around in an exam environment can be unnerving. 10 minutes should be plenty of time.
- Don't hang around with other people who are panicking - it can be infectious!
- You already know how many questions you are expected to answer and time available and have prepared a schedule in advance.
- Allow 10 minutes reading and choosing questions.
- Allow 10 minutes at the end to read through and add or correct details.
- Divide rest of time available equally between the questions. Marks tend to be allocated equally between questions so there is no benefit in spending more time on one than another.
- It may help to write a short plan before you start to answer, listing the key points. If you run out of time gives the marker a better idea of what you know and they may take them into account.
- Find you desk calmly and arrange your pens, rulers, etc.
- Read through the whole paper thoroughly and choose the questions you want to answer.
- Don't be fazed by people around you who look confident and cool when you feel that you are staring into thin air. You may have missed them coping with their own panic a moment earlier.
- Don't overdo the amount of caffeine you have (although a small amount can help to give you the extra energy that you'll need during the stress of the exam).