Exam Prep Tips & Advice

Mark Barrow

As a university student, exams are an inevitable part of academic life. The pressure to achieve good grades and succeed can be overwhelming, especially when the stakes are high. However, with the right study and exam prep techniques and strategies, you can increase your chances of success and ace your exams.

In this blog post, we will explore ten proven study techniques for university exams. From active reading to taking care of yourself, each technique will enhance your learning and help you retain information more effectively. So, let’s dive in!

1: Active Reading

Reading is a fundamental part of study, but passive reading can be ineffective. Active reading involves engaging with the material actively, rather than just reading it. Here are some techniques to make your reading sessions more active:

  • Highlight key points and take notes
  • Ask questions and summarize what you’ve read
  • Make connections between different concept

By actively engaging with the material, you’ll be able to retain information more effectively and understand it better.

2: Flashcards

Flashcards are a popular exam prep study tool that can help you memorize information quickly. Here’s how to use them effectively:

  • Write a question or term on one side of the card and the answer or definition on the other
  • Use them regularly and frequently
  • Focus on the cards that you find most challenging or have the most difficulty recalling the answer

Flashcards are a great way to memorize facts, definitions, and equations. They are also portable, which means you can take them with you wherever you go and study on-the-go.

3: Practice Tests

Practice tests are an excellent way to prepare for exams. They help you identify areas of weakness and improve your test-taking skills. Here’s how to use them effectively:

  • Take practice tests in a simulated exam environment and in the set time limits
  • Review your answers and identify areas of weakness
  • Repeat the process until you feel confident

Practice tests are a great way to reduce exam anxiety and increase your confidence. They also help you get used to the format and structure of the exam.

4: Mind Maps

Mind maps are a visual way to organize information and make connections between different concepts. Here’s how to create a mind map to help with exam prep:

  • Write the main topic in the centre of the page
  • Draw branches that represent subtopics and related concepts
  • Add more branches and details as needed

Mind maps are a great way to visualize complex information and understand how different concepts are related. They are also fun and creative!

5: Group Study

Studying with a group of friends can be an effective way to learn and retain information. Here are some tips for group study:

  • Choose a quiet and comfortable location, e.g, not The Brookhouse Pub!
  • Test each other’s knowledge, you’ll likely have different areas of knowlege and can learn from each other
  • Make sure you stay on subject and challenge each other if you start to get bored.

Group study allows you to learn from your peers and share knowledge. It also helps you stay motivated and focused.

6: The Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management tool that can help you stay focused and productive. Here’s how it works with exam prep:

  • Choose a task to complete
  • Set a timer for 25 minutes
  • Work on the task for 25 minutes without any distractions
  • Take a break for 5 minutes
  • Repeat the process

The Pomodoro Technique helps you break down tasks into manageable chunks and stay focused. It also helps you avoid burnout and stay motivated.

7: Teach Someone Else

Teaching someone else is a great way to reinforce your learning and ensure that you understand the material. Here’s how to do it:

  • Choose a topic you want to teach
  • Explain the topic to someone else, such as a friend or family member
  • Ask them questions to test your knowledge

Teaching someone else allows you to solidify your understanding of the material and identify areas of weakness. It also helps you develop your communication and presentation skills.

8: Visual Aids

Visual aids, such as diagrams, charts, and graphs, can help you understand complex information more easily. Here’s how to use them:

  • Create visual aids that represent the information you’re studying
  • Use colours and images to make the visual aids more engaging
  • Review the visual aids regularly to reinforce your learning

Visual aids are a great way to make complex information more accessible and engaging. They also help you remember information more effectively.

9: Take Care of Yourself

Taking care of yourself is essential for academic success. Here are some tips on looking after yourself while you’re prepping for a big exam:

  • Get enough sleep and rest
  • Eat a healthy and balanced diet
  • Exercise regularly
  • Take breaks and practice self-care

Taking care of yourself helps you stay focused, motivated, and healthy. It also reduces stress and anxiety, which can interfere with your academic performance.


Finally, here are some exam-day tips to help you get the grades you deserve:

10: Remain calm.

This might be easier said than done, but stay calm. Prepared students perform better than tired or nervous students every time.

  • Trust yourself. If you start to have negative thoughts, ask yourself, “did I attend the lectures?” “have I studied?”, “have I worked hard for this?”, if you can say yes then you can show yourself how prepared you are.
  • Get a good nights sleep. Cramming the night before, or worse still, the morning of the exam will raise your stress levels.
  • Start your day with a nutritious breakfast. Hunger pangs are a distraction you don’t need on the day of an exam.


Studying for university exams can be challenging, but with the right exam prep techniques and strategies, you can increase your chances of success. From active reading to taking care of yourself, each technique we’ve explored can enhance your learning and help you retain information more effectively. So, try them out and see what works best for you. Good luck!

If you need some help keeping your motivation levels, take a read of our blog – How to Stay Motivated with Coursework & Studying