How to prepare for exams: 6 Top Tips to make sure you’re ready

Whether it's GCSEs, A-Levels of University exams, these top six tips will help you get started to prepare for them!

1. Give yourself enough time to study

First things first: Don't leave it to the last minute. You may be able to get away with cramming on some shorter and easier papers but don't get too confident or you'll trip up eventually when faced with something a bit more challenging.

Start your exam preparations and revision at least a month before the exam itself, perhaps even earlier if you've lots to get ready for. Now that doesn't mean you'll be revising every day for that month, but it's enough time for you to get to know everything you need like the back of your hand.

2. Get to know the exam

Before even staring any revision, firstly you want to find out actually what your exam involves. Find out what topics you'll be tested on and the exam format: Is it an oral exam? If it's paper based, is it multiple choice? Will it involve Essay-type responses? How long do you have? Don't make assumptions, so if you're unsure, just ask! This year's exam may be different to last year's.

3. Review your notes

Start your revision casually by going back over your notes for the subject areas that the exam will cover. Don't push or test yourself here, just take it slow and read over what you've learned. It may be nearly a year since you last looked at some specifics, so just take a bit of time to rejog your memory.

Make a few remarks about what topics or areas you don't quite understand or struggle with to focus more revision time on, as well as noting down those places where you're happy with your knowledge, for your own confidence if nothing else.

4. Form a study group

Grab some friends and get together, if only once, to study. This is a great chance to compare revision notes and discuss the exam ahead. See what areas of the subject other people may be struggling or coping well with and offer a hand or ask for help yourself. Teaching others is a great way to learn yourself and far more interesting than revising alone.

5. Take mock and past papers

Once you're happy with your revision, test yourself. Grab a mock or past paper if available, or questions from a text book, and see how you do.

Don't forget to keep an eye on the time limit as well, it's no good getting full marks if it takes you twice as long as the hour you're allowed.

If possible, get someone else to go over your answers rather than yourself. You may be too critical or hard when it comes to reviewing your own work.

6. Ask questions

If in doubt, ask questions. Whether it's to you friends, teachers or even parents, don't be afraid to get help if you need it. From getting extra tuition in problem topics to checking over answers or even helping your revision, asking is always better than staying silent.

About the author: Thomas Brella

Thomas Brella is the founder of Student Hacks, starting the website in 2013 while studying at the University of Brighton to share tips and tricks on life as a cash-strapped student. He's now spent over 10 years scoping out the best ways to live on a budget

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