Exam Advice

Exam advice, from the revision period to the exam day <br>And a friendly reminder: Do not bring your phone!

Exam advice, from the revision period to the exam day
And a friendly reminder: Do not bring your phone!

Exam Advice

It’s that time of year again – exam season is here and the pressure of summer and final exams are here. It’s always worth taking a bit of time before your plunge in to the deep end of your revision to understand who you are as a person and how you learn. Taking just 15 minutes to get to grips with your revision style will save hours in the long run and make you a more effective learner.

See our tips before you start studying:

We all learn in different ways and that affects how you can learn or revise. There are different methods for learning so see our top tips below to get the best out of your time over May and June.

Take the test now to find out what type of learner you are.

  • Auditory (Listener)
    • Listen to audiobooks
    • Watch YouTube videos
    • Read your notes outload
    • Record yourself talking and listen back to it
    • Use Echo306 recordings to hear key words from an expert

See other tips for auditory learners. 

  • Visual (Reader/Writer)
    • Copy out your notes
    • Read over old notes and notes of friends who have taken the course before
    • Try to write out points from memory and test yourself
    • Re-word key points
    • Try to summarise paragraphs in your own words

See other tips for visual learners.

  • Kinaesthetic/Tactile (Doer)
    • Test yourself while exercising at the gym or on a bike
    • Build things that resemble key messages or structures from the content of your course.
    • Carry out an activity while you revise
    • Arrange flashcards in groups
    • Trace words with your fingers to learn spellings

 See other tips for kinaesthetic/tactile learners.

Make a detailed revision timetable and stick to it. Outline what topics, books, articles you need to read and plan in time to do so.

  • Set regular alarms and go to bed at a reasonable time (you need sleep to learn)
  • If you miss a revision slot from your won calendar, pencil in a new one to replace it
  • Limit your nights out (this will save you sleep, money, and time recovering from a hangover); it’s only for a few weeks
  • If you go home over summer to revise, don’t get distracted by home friends
  • Look online for some digital revision planners or make one yourself and pin it to your notice board/wall (if your landlord allows it)

Planning should absolutely be the first thing you do before you start working.  

  • Use a checklist (with tick boxes) to follow your progress
  • Set yourself realistic revision targets and goals
  • Balance your time between subject you’re most confident and least confident with
  • Arrive to the exam hall with plenty of time
  • Do NOT bring notes or writing on your person in to the exam


Testing yourself under exam conditions can be a great way of practising. Use old exam papers from ELE or on iExeter and complete them alone under time in a silent room. You can use Revision spaces on campus, in town, in the Library etc.

Note the types of questions that come up, their frequency, the questions you got wrong, and email you lecturer if you’re unsure of the answers after checking your notes.

REMEMBER to become familiar with the instructions on your exam. Are you answering all the questions or just a selection? Are you able to use a calculator? Is it open note? This can make all the difference on the day.

Stress and pressure can seriously detract from your learning. Try online mindfulness sessions each morning to take control of your breathings and thought processes – planning your day and setting achievable targets can go towards building confidence.

Remember to exercise during revision and stay active as much as possible; stimulate your body as much as your mind. As part of this, don’t forget to take regular breaks and to remove yourself from distractions.

As part of the planning process and achieving your goals – remember to reward yourself with breaks, snacks, or shopping. Make your progress visible so you can track what you’re doing.

Don’t worry – we’re not going to ask you to do that dreaded group project. Working with friends or people on your course can be great for getting quick answers to simple questions. Everyone has strengths in different areas so hold discussions, debates, or conversations around key topics. 

Your health comes first. Make sure you’re taking care of your body and wellbeing over the exam months as a drastic change in routine or behaviour can throw you off-guard.

  • Keep a health balanced diet and take breaks for meals
  • Don’t eat while you’re revising
  • Eat/sleep in a different place to where you revise
  • Limit your caffeine intake; coffee/tea can increase levels of anxiety and make it hard to rest
  • Reserve time to exercise; even if it’s a 20-minute run or a walk around town
  • Drink plenty of water and get plenty of rest; avoid last minute revision late at night

Check out how to maintain a healthy lifestyle during exams.

The best place to leave your mobile phone on the day of an exam is either at home, or with a friend you trust. Be careful when taking one in to the exam hall that it is turned off and in your bag. If you realise one is on your person during your exam, raise your hand and pass it to an invigilator as soon as possible.

We hope these tips will help you better understand who you are and how you learn. Our contact details are on the Advice Unit’s home page. You have a 24-hour window before and after an exam to apply to mitigation.



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