Life at UCB through the eyes of our student bloggers

Top 10 tips for exam success!

Top 10 tips for exam success!

Hi everyone, I hope you’re all ok and looking after yourselves! As we’re all getting back into the swing of things I thought I would share a few tips I’ve collected over the past few years on how to get through exam season.

My first tip sounds silly, but trust me, it’s probably the most important thing I’m going to say: make sure you know when your exams are!

Sounds obvious, right? But when you have a few exams they soon pile up and then you start to ask yourself ‘what day is it today?’ It takes 5 minutes to just make a note on your calendar, or even in your phone just so you don’t get a nasty shock the night before an exam!

Leading onto my next point, and it is something I’ve always done: create an exam timetable. I normally include the dates of my exams and how much work I’m going to do to prepare for the exam – if you make a timetable, make sure you also include fun things such as exercise, eating and sleeping!!

It’s all about the balance. Whether you’re trying to balance revision with lectures, or family life or a job, it’s so important to get a good balance. I’ve had a part-time job since I was 16 and it took me a while to achieve a good work/job balance. Now it depends what times I work at the weekends but they are generally quite long days and by the time I’m home from work, the last thing I want to do is stare at a laptop. Now uni is all online, I find that I’m getting a lot more work done Monday-Friday so I can give myself the weekends off!

We all have that pre-exam wobble (I do anyway). Again, this tip took me a very long time to adjust to: ASKING FOR HELP!

From my school days, this is something I was terrible at. I’d much prefer to struggle on my own and get by rather than asking someone for help, out of fear of looking silly or saying the wrong thing. I want to reassure anyone out there who is reading this blog… it is MORE THAN OK to ask for help, from anyone, whether that be lecturers, your peers or your parents.

University College Birmingham has so many fantastic facilities and people who are only too happy to help you, whether that be proofreading work or helping you get the ball rolling. CASE are amazing and have helped me so many times in the past with work! And the best thing? It’s so easy to book an appointment – just click here.

Another amazing service from University College Birmingham and probably my favourite is the subject librarians – they are fantastic (shout out Sarah). You will all have a specialist subject librarian who can specifically help you and point you in the right direction of where the best places are to find credible sources of information. Book an appointment here and make use of the library page on Canvas!

Round up, round up, gathering all friends! Maybe a little tricky now we’re not going into university as much, but whether you live in Birmingham with your friends or not, it is super easy to set up a little study group, be it in person or over FaceTime/Zoom etc. When you group up with the right people this can be amazing! You’ll find that generally, you’re all in the same boat and you all genuinely want to help each other succeed! Your ideas will all bounce off one another and this can be great in the run-up to exams.

I have mentioned this in another of my blog posts and it’s one of my favourites: highlight things! Now everyone works differently, but I find this to be very effective in the run-up to exams when I am trying to remember little facts and figures and keywords. Colour coding can be highly effective (and makes your notes look slightly less dull).

We’re talking the night before the exam now, and it’s something I’ve always done (or tried to do): prepare for the next day. Generally, I pack my bag making sure I have pens, my ID card, water and that I actually know my seat number. Don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to do this the night before, but I’ve just found in my experience that it takes a lot of stress and pressures off the next day – you don’t have to run around trying to find bits and pieces.

Easier said than done, this one… but sleep! Getting enough sleep really can make a difference in the run-up to an exam. Far too many times I’ve stayed up late trying to cram in some last-minute revision and I think that just stresses you out more than anything.

Finally, something my parents and my older sister have always told me, once you’ve finished your exam… double check your answers! I’ve also learned that by going through your paper again you generally find an answer that you didn’t attempt – even if you don’t know it, it’s always better to just guess than leave it blank.

Hopefully, these tips are helpful and if you have anymore let me know, exam tips always come in handy. Have a good week,

Millie 🙂

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