Top 10 Revision and Exam Tips for Undergraduates

  1. Start your revision as soon as possible

It goes without saying, the sooner you start your revision, the more time you have to retain information ahead of the upcoming exam. That being said, if you are starting a couple of months before the exam it is important to always go back and revisit the start of your revision to ensure you haven’t forgotten that set of information.

2. Draw up a realistic revision timetable

Following on from the previous point, it is equally as important to create a revision timetable to organise your time and keep track of your learning progress. However, one of the most common mistakes is to be overly ambitious with your revision timetable. It needs to be realistic enough that you will complete the tasks you have set for yourself. By making the timetable realistic it helps to prevent revision stress due to it being less overwhelming.

3. Find the right study environment that works for you

You often get told to find the “ideal study environment” but it is important to remember, just because somewhere works for someone else doesn’t mean it will for you. Its important to find an environment to meet your individual needs to optimise your revision. At the end of the day, your friends can’t take the exam for you…

4. Do past exam papers – OR at least look at the layout!

For some individuals a helpful way to revise for an exam is to do a timed past exam paper. This allows the individual to test their knowledge in an exam-like condition and provides a clear indicator for knowledge gaps. Even if this technique doesn’t work for you, it is always useful to look at the past paper; paying close attention to the wording of the questions, style of questions, and layout. This could also applies to mock examinations provided by lecturers.

5. Read textbook chapter summaries

If you have difficulties with learning from reading lengthy textbook chapters or you feel you have run out of time, read the textbook chapter summaries instead. A lot of the key information from the chapter is summarised making it easier to skim read or turn into revision card facts.

6. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different revision techniques

If you have got to the point where you feel like all of your revision techniques aren’t working for you anymore try mixing it up with some new ideas.

Why not try some of these:

  • Revision cards with questions and answers
  • Past / mock examination papers
  • Mindmaps
  • Re-watch past lectures
  • Re-write lecture and seminar notes
  • Test yourself with a partner
  • Write practice answers

7. Use the network of people around you

Make good use of the people around you! If you need help or advice ask your course peers, friends and family. Book an appointment to see your academic advisor or module lecturer to help fill your knowledge gaps. Enquire about student mentoring services your university may provide to get a different perspective.

 Incorporate a variety of resources into your revision

Not only is it important to use a variety of revision techniques, it is equally as important to use a wide range of study resources too. Resources include things such as lecture slides, textbooks, study videos, one-to-one discussions, online journals and many more. SAGE Publications provides an inclusive range of study resources that can be found here.

9. Don’t let the stress of revision get too much

Many undergraduates will experience a time of pressure surrounding examination periods. It becomes very easy to get consumed by stress as a result. If you are feeling overwhelmed with stress it is extremely important to discuss this with either a member of academic staff or welfare support. University is meant to be an enjoyable experience that aids your learning, if it is causing you mental health concerns speaking to someone will allow you the opportunity to make reasonable adjustments to support you.

10. Do what makes you feel most comfortable on the day of the exam

Everyone handles exams in different ways, it is important on the day of the exam to find what makes you most comfortable. For some this could be cramming up to the last minute whilst for others it could be taking the day easy and not looking at revision. As long as you feel as calm, confident and comfortable as you can be thats what matters.

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