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Advice: Preparing for Exams


No matter what type of exams you’re taking this season; GCSE’s, A-Levels, university exams or professional qualifications, we know it can be a stressful time.

Nobody is a fan of exam season. And contrary to popular belief, exams don’t stop after education. It can be a time of nervous tension and stress – but it surely doesn't have to be.

To help you get yourself organised, we've been practical and provided some useful tips you could use to get you prepared for your exams.

Plan your time

Being efficient with your time is a key element to a good revision session.
Break your revision up into smaller, digestible time scales. Revision is more about quality rather than quantity – by this we mean, it’s better to spend less time and get more out of that time than the other way around.

It may help to break your day up into; morning, afternoon and evening. Set your revision time table and stick to it.

Set out goals you’d like to achieve within the time frame – this will help you carefully structure your session and motivate you to want to achieve these goals in that time frame.

Find out how you revise best 

What type of learner are you? Do you learn better by listening, looking or doing? Or maybe even a combination of the three?

It’s important to adjust your revision to suit your learning style.
If you’re a visual learner, you may revise best by using colour and imagery to accompany your revision notes.

If you learn best by listening, you could listen to lectures or other educational recordings and take notes.

Whatever method you chose, embedding your learning type into your revision plan will help you get the most out of your revision session.

Do past papers

Past papers are a great help when revising. You can use them to test your knowledge and exam technique. You can find a lot of examining bodies past papers online.

Test yourself against the clock when doing a past paper to make sure that your timing is precise. Time can go so quickly in an exam, you need to get used to thinking and writing quickly. Make sure you know how to organise your thoughts in order of importance.

Ask for help 

Revising with others can be a great help. You can discuss ideas and thoughts that you may have never considered before.

You can meet up with some friends on your course and discuss some of the topics or even go through a past paper and make notes on how you’d answer the questions.

Be confident

Don’t doubt yourself or your ability. Once you've done all the revision do the best you can to keep calm and be well rested for the day.

Tell yourself that you can do it. Tell yourself that you will succeed and tell yourself that you have everything under control. Say it out loud and say it with passion. This is called positive affirmation and is a technique that has been proven to calm your nerves and help you feel more confident.

Now all you have to do is get out there and tackle those exams. Keep these tips in mind when you're studying, whether for that final year bachelor’s exam, PhD viva presentation or for a professional qualification. Let us know which ones work for you. Remember, your mind is a pretty powerful tool, so use it to your advantage.

Remember, qualifications from a-level standard all the way up to professional certifications, can make you so appealing to employers throughout your career. They show a motivation to further your knowledge and skills, so knowing how to tackle them without the hindrance of nerves is invaluable.

Good luck from the team here at Nationwide. Let us know how you get on @nbs_careers and pay our jobs section a visit to plan your next step in life.