How to Rock Your College Exams - 10 Top Learning Tips

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Study advice






Study advice

Ugh, exams are coming up soon, and that means you need to start your revision. Here are our tips on making your learning as painless as possible!

1. Start revising early

It's super tempting to leave your revision till the last minute – you won't remember anything if you start revising more than a week before the exam, right? Nope, in fact revising early will help you to remember more and it'll make you less stressed. Start planning revision sessions around a month before your exams.

2. Be organised with your revision

Spend a bit of time planning out what you need to learn for each exam, and noting down any areas you're particularly concerned about. Make sure you cover all the possible material that might arise in your various exams - that way you can be sure you won't miss anything important.

3. Draw up a calendar

Get yourself a paper or electronic calendar and plan out how long you'll spend working on each subject in the weeks leading up to the exams. Use a different colour for each subject and colour in blocks of time for revision, so you can see at a glance what you should be working on.

4. Treat your revision like a job

It might seem like you can fit revision for your exams into your existing schedule easily enough, by squeezing in a few sessions in between lectures, regular commitments, and social events. But revision is hard work, mentally speaking, and you'll struggle if you don't allocate enough time for it. So block out your calendar for a few weeks, cancelling plans or taking time off your usual commitments like sports teams if you can to give yourself plenty of time to work.

5. Take regular breaks

Seriously? We're telling you to work less? Well, yup, because you won't be able to learn well if you're tired, distracted, and struggling to pay attention. Realistically, most people can only work on one thing for a maximum of 45 minutes to an hour before they need a short break. Plan for 5-10 minutes per hour during your revision sessions to make a cup of tea, take a quick walk, or chat with friends.

6. Find a written note system which works for you

Some people like to use bullet points for their written notes, while other prefer prose or highlighting key terms. Try a few different systems to see which you find most effective for your learning. You might want to try out an electronic system or app if you prefer to work on the computer rather than on paper.

7. Also try non-written methods

If you're more of a visual learner, you might like to use sketches or pictograms to help you learn. Other people like to use mind maps to make a visual representation of all the information they need and to see how different concepts are connected to each other. Once you've created a visual representation of your notes, you can stick it up somewhere in your room so you see it regularly and will remember its contents more easily.

8. Swap notes with your friends

If you're studying the same subject as your friends, it can help to see someone else's perspective on what you're learning. So once you're done with your notes, swap with a friend and see what they wrote down that you might have missed.

9. Focus on understanding the principles, not memorising facts

There are times when you'll need to memorise information such as formulae or dates. But on the whole, what you really want to focus on is understanding the structure of your subjects and the principles which are important. So don't stress too much about making yourself remember everything, but instead focus on trying to understand the information. That'll serve you much better when it comes to writing an exam.

10. Don't pull an all-nighter

It's the day before the exam and you're worried that you don't know enough – but trust us, you don't want to stay up all night trying to cram. This will just make you tired and dopey in the exam. Get plenty of sleep the night before and you'll be in a much better frame of mind.


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