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Tips for getting prepared for your exams!

Written by: UPSU

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Over the next few weeks, a lot of you will be undertaking exams either online or in an examination room on the University of Plymouth campus. 

Whether you are a first-year who is still getting use to sitting exams at University or you are a final-year completing some of your last exams, we are here to offer some tips to make sure that you perform the best you possibly can on the day!



Exams can be a daunting experience, and the pressure to perform well can lead to anxiety and poor performance on the day. However, there are ways to increase your chances of success during an exam. Here are some tips to help you achieve success on test day:


1. Know the format of the exam!

Knowing the format of the exam can help you prepare more effectively. Find out the type of questions that will be asked, such as multiple choice, short answer, or essay questions. Also, be aware of the time limit and any other instructions provided by your exam coordinator.

2. Read the instructions carefully.

Before starting the exam, read the instructions carefully. Make sure you understand the directions and requirements for each question. Don't lose points because you misread the instructions or didn't follow them properly.

3. Try to stay calm and focused.

It's normal to feel nervous before an exam, but try to stay calm and focused. Take deep breaths and visualise success. Avoid distractions and stay focused on the task at hand.

4. Review your work.

Before submitting your exam, review your work and check for errors or omissions. Make sure you have answered all the questions and provided sufficient detail where required.

5. Don't panic!

If you get stuck on a question, don't panic. Take a deep breath and move on to the next question. You can always come back to it later if you have time.

6. Trust and believe in yourself.

Finally, trust yourself and your preparation. Believe that you can succeed and don't let self-doubt get in the way of your performance.

We know you can do it, but remember if it all doesn't go your way on the day, we will be here to support you.  


Still not on top of your revision? Here are our top techniques to get lots of study in as quickly as possible:

Cramming for an exam can be a stressful and overwhelming experience and it isn't recommended. However, due to the busy nature of student life, exams can sneak up on you and you may be forced to cram a lot of revision time into a short period. Here are some tips to help you effectively cram for an exam:


1. Start by organising your materials.

Before you start cramming, organise your notes, textbooks, and other materials. Review the syllabus to identify the topics that will be covered on the exam. This will help you focus your studying on the most important information.

2. Use active learning techniques.

Instead of just passively reading through your notes, use active learning techniques to help you retain information. These include writing summaries, creating flashcards, and practicing problem sets. Engage with the material, and use different methods to help you memorise and understand it.

3. Prioritise your studying.

You may not have time to study everything in depth, so prioritise the topics most likely to appear on the exam. Review any notes or study materials provided by your instructor to identify the most important concepts.

4. Take short breaks.

 Cramming can be exhausting, and it's important to take breaks to recharge your brain. Take regular short breaks, and longer breaks to eat, exercise, and get some fresh air. This will help you to stay focused and avoid burnout.

5. Stay focused by eliminating distractions.

 It's easy to get distracted when you're cramming. To stay focused, eliminate distractions like social media, phone notifications, and background noise. Find a quiet and comfortable study space, and use tools like white noise or instrumental music to help you focus.

While we don’t recommend cramming if you haven’t got on top of your revision, camming for an exam can be an effective way to retain information and perform better. It's important to have a plan, organise your materials, use active learning techniques, focus on the big picture, take breaks, practice self-care, and stay focused.



From timetables and regulations to the help and support available to you, you'll find all the information you need for a successful exams period on the University of Plymouth webpage here. Please remember that it's your responsibility to ensure that you are aware of all of the information in these web pages before you sit your exams.



Do you need help and support for your exams?

From modified assessment provisions to what to do if you have an injury during your exams, find out more here.



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