Studying and preparing are vital to success in exams. It is, however, difficult to know how best to manage your exam preparation period until you have some experience.

This blog, therefore, offers some ideas, based on experience and expert opinion, to help those still quite new to exams.

Some of these tips sound like common sense and relate to the importance of looking after yourself. Others are more about how you do your studying.

Both types are important and will help you improve your studies and perform better in exams.

Start your revision early

There is no substitute for starting early with revision.

You need to give yourself enough time to review everything you have studied and ensure that you understand it (or to read the subject or ask for help if you are struggling). Last-minute cramming is much less productive.

Ideally, review each subject as you go, and ensure you fully understand it, as this will make revision much easier. Ultimately, the best tip is to study hard and know your subject; starting early is the best way to achieve this.

Organise your study time

You will almost certainly find some subjects easier than others. You will also find that you have more to revise for some subjects than others.

It is also helpful to consider when and how long you plan to spend studying each day. How much time will you be able to manage each day? What other commitments do you have during your study period?

Plan your revision to ensure you use your time to your best advantage. When is the best time of day for you—morning, afternoon, or evening? Can you do more reading at particular times? This will help you plan what you intend to do, although you should always make sure that you leave it flexible enough to adapt later if circumstances change.

Look after yourself during study and exam time.

You will be able to work better if you eat a healthy diet and get plenty of sleep.

This applies both during your exam preparation and when you are revising. Surviving junk food is not a good idea. 

It is also a good idea to do regular exercise when studying. A brisk walk, or more vigorous exercise, will get your blood moving and ensure that you are better able to concentrate. 

Know your exam

Make sure that you have looked at past papers and done practice exams.

This will ensure that you are prepared for the type of exam you will be sitting for, whether multiple-choice, short answer, or essay.

Know what you are expected to do: for example, how many questions from each section will you have to answer? Of course, you still have to read the instructions on the paper itself and ensure that they are the same, but this will help you feel comfortable with what will be expected.

More importantly, ensure you have practiced the right questions and know what ‘good’ and ‘bad’ answers will be expected.

You all have different ways of working, including preparing for exams.

As you get more experienced in taking exams, you will find the best ways for you and learn how to prepare. In the meantime, these tips should give you a good starting point for studying.