Exams and Assessments: Top tips to make the most of your study time
With the Easter break over, you’ll likely be looking ahead to your upcoming assessment deadlines and end of year exams. The Brighton Student Skills Hub has lots of useful advice and information to help you strengthen your study techniques.
If you want to get some more personalised guidance, you can get in touch with your Student Support Guidance Tutor, Personal Academic Tutor or book a one-to-one tutorial with the designated academic skills tutor in your School.
1. Tips for successful exam revision:
Understand your learning outcomes
It is important that you understand the marking criteria, so that you can be as strategic as possible in revising content that is directly linked to your module learning outcomes. If you are in any doubt, check your module handbook or contact your module tutor.
Read it together
Once you understand your learning outcomes, you’ll need to put in extra work on these areas and ensure you have completed all the key readings for your module. Why not get together with people on your course to look over these, and revise by asking each other questions about the contents and key concepts?
Practise writing essay plans
An essay plan should take about 10 minutes to write and will help you think about how you would answer potential exam questions. A good essay needs to be well structured – plan out what to include in the introduction, the main body, and your conclusion, as well as the definitions of key terms or quotes that you will need throughout. Look at your course notes afterwards to see how you might improve your plans in the future.
2. Manage your time effectively:
Plan properly for peak performance
Draw up a realistic timetable, factoring in your fixed commitments and outstanding coursework deadlines, and then allocate enough time to work on each project, prepare for your presentations, or study for each exam. Make sure you allow time for fun – sports, club activities, coffee with friends – and leave some free time so you have flexibility, too.
Create good study habits
It can be helpful to study at the same time or in the same location each day, so that it becomes a habit. If you don’t have a suitable space or you are just struggling to concentrate at home, why not visit one of our four campus libraries for quiet and focus instead? You should also be realistic about how long you can study for and consider switching up the task or topic every 45 minutes. Plan in regular reviews to test your learning and switch up your technique if it isn’t working.
Make a daily to-do list
At the end of each day, get organised and make a schedule for the next day. Include routines, errands, and study time. Make sure you set your priorities – there’s always more to do than you have time for, which can be overwhelming. Sticking to a list can help you focus on a manageable number of tasks.
3. Dealing with stress
Stop and think
Procrastination or poor planning can lead to stress. If you feel yourself getting overwhelmed, take a step back and reassess – are you trying to take on too much? Are you looking at too many topics at once? Try to break your work down into more manageable chunks and focus on each small piece at a time. You can also speak to your Module or Course Leader, or your Personal Academic Tutor, for advice on prioritising your tasks.
Remember your goals
The actions you take today will plant the seeds for your long-term success. If you need motivation, why not think of the actions you can take today that will contribute to your success. Go over each action and ask yourself, “What positive things might happen if I make this a top priority? What negative things might happen if I don’t?” Use these questions to help balance your priorities and to decide how much time and energy to invest to achieve your goals.
Look after yourself
During busy periods, it is even more important that you make sure you are looking after yourself – eating well, staying active, chatting with friends, getting enough sleep and cutting down on late nights. If you are struggling to find the right balance, Young Minds has some great tips for dealing with exam stress.
Talk to someone
Don’t internalise your stress, talk about it. Your Student Support and Guidance Tutors (SSGT) are always on hand to listen to your concerns and help you with any issue that might be impacting your studies, wellbeing or overall experience with us. You can also book a one-to-one tutorial with the designated academic skills tutor in your School, to get personalised study skills support.