Beat Procrastination: How to Ace Your Exam

Your exams are just around the corner. Those deadlines are fast approaching and it’s really time to knuckle down and get on with the mammoth task at hand. But don’t worry.

Over the next few weeks your room becomes a comfortable place for revisiting earlier work. With just five tips you can make the whole thing much more manageable. So read on and everything will be okay. We promise.

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Ease into revision

The internet is chockablock with revision tips. We’ve read most (some) of them and here are the five best:

1) Work with your mind in mind

Your brain is a complicated piece of work. And because it’s so clever you should know a little bit about how it works so it can work for you. Namely: water and consistency.

Stay hydrated. Scientists say that drinking lots of water is good for thinking. In the last year alone a paper in the important-sounding “Frontiers in Human Neuroscience” said that preventing thirst can help you solve problems up to 14% quicker than before. Obviously crucial for those exams!

Another way you can keep in control of the mind is to exploit its desire for consistency. Tell yourself, your friends and family that you’re in a revision period and you’re way more likely to stick to it.

2) Start in good time

Sometimes all you need is time. The sooner you can start on your revision process the better, as so much of the process is getting all that amount of information to absorb in the mind. In fact the experts think this is right too.

When the Guardian asked a Sergio Della Sala, a professor at the University of Edinburgh who knows loads about the brain, he said “The best revision is continuous revision, started as early as possible.”

And we believe him.

3) Break it down into chunks

You’ve eaten a pizza, right? So you’ll know that a pizza is way too big to just eat in one go. You have to cut it up into little slices so that it’s manageable (unless you calzone it, but that’s cheating).

In this same sense, break up your study topics into digestible chunks. Module — Topics — Examples is one way you could think of it.

For example a literature student might have: Victorian Lit – Authors – Charles Dickens. By breaking your subject down in this way you’ll have a clear idea of what you’ve learned and what you could brush up on. Along with the next techniques, you’ll be ready to ace your exam.

4) Memorise memory techniques

Get to grips with one or more of these techniques:

    • Flash cards – you write the facts you want to learn on real or digital cards (see study blue and memorise) then test yourself as regularly as possible.

 

    • Visual maps and post-it notes – many students learn faster with visuals. If you’re this kind of person then notes, mind maps, flowcharts and other visual prompts around your room can help you to take in the information.

 

  • Memory palace – Sherlock Holmes is supposed to have used this technique. It allows you to use the brain’s knack for remembering stories to your own advantage – and store facts into locations in your imagination.

5) Create exam room strategy

You’ve probably heard the maxim “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” And on top of that we’d like to add that you should also plan to plan. Let’s explain.

Imagine you’re in the exam room and you have no idea what’s coming up, or how you’re going to answer the paper. This means you have to figure it all out under the pressure of the clock.

Way better then, to check the type of exam you’re sitting, and how long you have for each question. In many cases this will be in your course handbook. But if you’re confused or a little bit worried then see one of your tutors – after all they’re the ones setting and marking the paper!

Good luck

Now that you’re aware of your mind, memory techniques and how to break down a strategy you have given yourself the footing you need to ace your exams.

Over this time we imagine you’ll be cooped up in your student accommodation. We hope you’re with us. And if you would like to live in amazing halls (from Cardiff to Edinburgh) then you should say hello today.

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