Top 6 things to do to prep for exams


Studying for exams can sometimes be stressful and overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be. With a realistic study routine and time set aside to look after yourself, you can make sure to go through this period with peace of mind and confidence that you will succeed.

Biomedical Science student Aimee Work shares her top tips to prepare for exams.

1. Organise your time

Schedule your study time into doable time slots to help maintain focus and concentration, making sure to leave time for relaxing.

Divide your available time during the week into study blocks. After you do this, you can go and assign your blocks to a subject.

  • The trick to creating a study schedule is to plan to study at the same time every day so you actually have a schedule you can memorise without constantly checking. By creating a routine, you’ll build a positive study habit.
  • Check if there are times or days of the week you can always study during. For example, you may be free 3-4pm every Tuesday and Thursday. If possible, try to schedule your studying then, because a regular, set routine can help you get into a studying mindset more quickly.
  • Schedule study sessions in 30 to 45-minute blocks. Shorter time blocks are easier to find and to schedule than longer blocks.

Take short breaks and stick to them. Make sure to take one break during each study block. One of the most important elements of following your study schedule is to make sure you abide by your schedule and only take the allotted amount of break time. Taking extra breaks or prolonging breaks can and will undermine your schedule and sabotage your plans for studying success.

  • Take one 5 to 10-minute long break during your study blocks. Don’t exceed 5 to 10 minutes.
  • At the start of your break set an alarm that will go off when your break is over.
  • Use your break wisely. Make sure to refresh yourself. Take a stretch, go for a short walk, eat a small snack, or listen to some music.
  • Avoid distractions that could prolong your break.

2. Set realistic goals

It will be easier to create and manage your schedule if you know what you want to achieve at the end. This will also help you identify areas that you need to focus on, and what revision to prioritise first.

  • Short-term goals might include finishing a piece of coursework in two weeks or passing an exam. For these projects, break up your tasks by day.
  • Long-term goals might include passing your year at university or even graduating. For these, break down your goals by week and month to make them more manageable.

Make sure you know exactly how much time you have for each of these goals. Write the end date down and calculate how many days, weeks, and months are left. For example, when are your exams? Most importantly create targets which are realistic for you to achieve. Be kind to yourself!

3. Get a good night’s sleep

Establish an evening routine to help you to relax and unwind before bed. This could be making sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature, removing electronic devices, such as TVs, computers, and phones, from the bedroom. Also creating a relaxing atmosphere, whether lighting a candle or listening to a podcast, can help to clear your mind before bed.

Setting a time to go to sleep each night and waking up at the same time each morning will help to establish a sleeping pattern and ensure you get the rest you need to recharge for the next day of study ahead!

4. Eat well

It may seem obvious but a good diet is particularly important when you’re studying, to make sure you’re fuelling your brain for all the learning.

A good diet will help you feel your best, this means eating a balanced, high fibre diet, including a variety of foods, in the right proportions. To help balance your busy workload, try batch cooking. That way, on the days you need to spend time studying, you can have food ready waiting in the freezer!

5. Take time to exercise

Tiring your body as well as your mind will improve sleep, and not only will exercise improve your physical health but the release of endorphins can boost your mood too and set you up for the day!

I find it really important to move my body in between long study sessions of sitting at a desk, just to refresh and go back to the books feeling more energised! With our free student gym membership at RGU SPORT and access to exercise classes, it’s easy to stay active.

Details on how to activate your membership:

RGU SPORT free student membership.

6. Create “you” time

We spend so much time in the day doing things for others, that we forget how important it is to do the things we love. It’s important to have some you time and switch off from the stress that we all know come with studying, and do something you enjoy!

Whether it’s spending some time with family and friends, getting outdoors, or watching your favourite tv show, try to incorporate some relaxation time into your routine.

You can also try to start a journal to document events and feelings from your day to clear your head and relax your mind before bed.

Aimee Work

What are your tips to prepare for exams without stress? Let us know in the comments!

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