Welcome to our section on exam tips where we have put together useful advice and ideas to help you with revision, overcoming nerves and all those other aspects of successful exam preparation.
Do set yourself a revision timetable, although don't spend so much time obsessing over this that you eat into your study time. You should plan well in advance so that you can fit everything in and aren't trying to cram an entire year's exam revision into two days. Write down which topics or areas you will be studying each day, and how much time you will be spending on them - this is important, otherwise you could find yourself spreading your time unevenly. Tick off items on your revision timetable when you have finished them; this will help your motivation and show you how far you've come. Reward yourself when you have completed particular blocks of revision.
Remember that exam revision is just that - reviewing what you should already know, and fixing it more firmly in your mind with the purpose of using it in an exam. Don't spend too much time reminding yourself of parts of your course that come naturally to you, or that you really enjoyed and took great interest in. Start off with the more difficult bits; the parts that you can't seem to get to grips with or that you find dull. If you do these first, you will not only be fresher, you can reward yourself with revising something more interesting later on, and end the day on a high note. Test your revision, maybe at the end of each day or week. Ask a friend or family member to test you on key concepts, get hold of some past exam papers and do some sample answers or jot down an outline essay plan.
Revise in your 'best' time, whether that's in the morning, afternoon, or the middle of the night. Take frequent breaks, and don't revise for hours on end until your brain goes numb - you will not find it easy to remember what you've learned, hence the importance of allowing plenty of time for your revision.
Prioritise what you need to learn and spend your time accordingly. It is often impossible to learn everything you need to know in sufficient depth, so focus on key dates, theories, models and quotations; this way, you will always have something to hang an answer on, even if you can't remember all the finer details. If there are two similar theoretical frameworks you could use, devote your time to learning one thoroughly; similarly, if there is one really versatile model or quote that you can refer to in several answers, make sure you know it inside out.
Timing is everything in exams. You should know roughly the format of the exam you are about to take and how the marks are weighted. Spend your time on questions according to the marks allocated to them - don't be tempted to waste time writing reams on an answer just because it interests you or because you can remember more about it. At the beginning of the exam, work out how much time you should spend on each question and stick to this - it can be helpful to practice using past papers.
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