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Whether you’re in your first or final year, exams can be one of the most daunting aspects of university.
With exam season fast-approaching, it’s important to start thinking about how to manage, plan and utilise your time effectively.
Check out our 19 top revision tips to help you minimise stress levels, maximise revision time, and set yourself up for success in your upcoming university exams.
You can’t rush effective revision. By starting early on, and spreading out the workload for each exam, great revision strategies will help your brain to retain information, and ensure that you feel less stressed along the way.
Spending time with friends and family is important - so planning your free time, revision strategies and prioritising your tasks will help to ensure that you maintain a productive work-life balance.
Once you know where your free time is, create a detailed (but realistic) revision schedule, that includes a breakdown of what you need to do and when. More importantly, try to stick to it as much as possible.
The satisfaction of writing a list of tasks to complete in a day, then ticking them off one by one, will help you to stay motivated and feel on top of your revision timetable.
For each thing you tick off your to-do list, reward yourself. Whether it’s with a break, a coffee or a snack, having something tangible to motivate and reward yourself with will help to keep you going.
What better motivation to get studying than with some shiny new stationery?! It might seem trivial, but having new pens, notebooks, highlighters and sticky pads to make revision notes can really boost your focus and motivation pre-exam.
If you’re serious about using your time effectively, taking regular breaks is absolutely essential for boosting energy levels, focus and brain power. Try cycles of one-hour study sessions, with a 15-minute break.
It’s easier said than done – but when you are revising, try to remove all distractions (like watching a film “in the background”). Keeping your study time and your relaxation time separate from each other will make your revision much more effective, and leave you with more free time to do the things you enjoy.
While you’re around friends, family members and university lecturers, why not seek their advice? If you have an uncle who works in a bank, for example, and you’re interested in graduate jobs in the Banking & Finance sector, ask them questions about their experience and the path they took to get there – preparing for your future career still counts as uni work, right?
It might not count as actual revision, but reading up on tried-and-tested study techniques, strategies and related content can help to boost your motivation and the effectiveness of your revision.
Make a checklist of things to complete, and for each one you tick off, reward yourself. Whether it’s with a break, a coffee or a sweet treat, having something tangible to motivate and reward yourself with will help to keep you going. Also check out our revision checklist for help with this.
Being creative about your revision is a big part of keeping yourself motivated. Whether you learn well from designing colourful flash cards, revision notes, or writing a song, try out some fun and memorable ways to revise for each exam.
It’s all well and good setting out a plan, but actually completing your revision exactly as laid out on your revision timetable is always going to be more difficult. We’ve all fallen victim to procrastination at one time or another - but if you’ve been realistic with your schedule, be strict with yourself about the times you do have to spend studying, and then reward yourself for your hard work.
Resisting the temptation to gorge on junk food to reward yourself for revision isn’t easy – but eating only salty, sugary and high-fat foods will only make you feel sluggish, and damage your concentration. Find out more health tips to keep you energised and motivated.
If your housemates or family members are milling around your house, and you’re finding it hard to focus, taking yourself to a local library or a nearby coffee shop will help you to concentrate without any disturbances.
Studies show that exercise can have a hugely positive impact on concentration and energy levels – so try to do some physical exercise every day you set aside to revise.
There's always the tendency for this to become unproductive, but it is possible to study with friends in an effective way. Why not try teaching a friend the information you need to remember. If you can teach it to them (and they understand it), chances are you know it!
Try to set yourself a cut-off time every night. Whether this be 5pm or 10pm (maybe you like to start earlier, maybe you hit your stride in the late afternoon), make sure to stop at the time you have set, and take time to relax and wind down from there. Working endlessly into the night will not be productive – making you more tired, sluggish and less likely to retain key information the following day.
Presuming that you have managed your time effectively, it should be feasible to take at least one or two days off completely before exam season. If you’re revising over Christmas, this will likely be Christmas day, if it’s Easter, take off Easter Sunday, and so on.
With exam season approaching quickly, it’s time to take the plunge – so keep your goals and revision strategies in mind, understand how to focus on revision, and follow our top revision tips to help you prepare for exam success.