Studying Effectively
Students studying together

Revising for exams

Our top tips to help you prepare for your exams and feel confident

You can find information on looking after your wellbeing during exams and assessments on the Healthy U webpages.

1. Blocking your time  

Divide your day into three periods of 150 minutes and revise for two of them. Don’t forget to include breaks in each of these 150 minutes.

Try using the pomodoro technique to help you maintain focus and to remind you to take breaks.

Our Learning Development team host Study With Us sessions using the pomodoro technique every Wednesday from 11am on Microsoft Teams.

Download our revision planner

We've created a Studing effectively planner to help you plan your time. Download a copy today.

Some copies will also be available in our libraries from mid-December. 


2. Try dual coding 

If you are preparing for in-person exams and need to revise and retain information, try making use of dual coding. This means using both words and visuals to help you review information.

It doesn’t matter if you think you ‘can’t draw’, you don’t have to be a great artist!

Here are a few ways you can make use of dual coding.

  • Make timelines of key dates and events you need to learn 
  • Create diagrams with labels and then speak through each part of the diagram out loud
  • Use mind-mapping to link together concepts and show hierarchies of information



3. Set yourself tests and quizzes 

This can be a great way to check-in and test the information you’ve learned. You can do this by writing out full answers in essay form, by making flashcards or using digital platforms such as Quizlet.

Stick to one question on each card, with the answer on the other side. The more simply you present the information, the more effectively you’ll remember it.


4. Organise your notes 

If you have take-home exams, you will probably be able to use your notes while you complete your exam. Spend time organising your notes around topic areas so you will be confident to access them easily during your exam.

You could use OneNote if you make notes digitally, or coloured ring-binders if you make notes by hand.


5. Practice papers to time 

If you have in-person exams, try to complete some practice papers using the timing of the exam. 

This will help you to get used to the time limit, understand how much time you have available to plan answers, and will help you to get used to writing by hand if you haven’t done it for a while.


6. Factor in rewards for your progress 

Revision for exams can seem tricky, especially if you are working alone.

Planning your rewards – as well as your revision – can help you feel motivated to carry on even when your intrinsic motivation to study is low. 



7. Look after your body and mind 

Whilst studying it is equally important to look after your health and wellbeing. Don’t forget to eat regularly, drink water and get plenty of sleep and fresh air.

It’s important to take breaks too – whether it’s taking time out to watch your favourite series, read a book or meet friends for a walk or to play a game.


8. Find the right environment for you 

What environment helps you focus on your work? Silent spaces, coffee shops with background noise or at home in your room?

If you find yourself getting distracted in one location, maybe try somewhere else. It can also help to mute your phone notifications and listen to your favourite study playlist. There are various apps available to help you focus.

If you prefer to study in the library - you can book study space for up to six hours a day, seven days in advance using Click and Study. Alternatively, just drop-in to use any available non-bookable space.




Studying Effectively

Kings Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5151
fax: +44 (0) 115 951 3666
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