1) Look after yourself
- Try to be well rested and well nourished in preparation for exams. "Drink plenty of fluids, eat a good healthy breakfast," advises Professor Sarah Moore, co-author of The Ultimate Study Skills Handbook. "The fresher and more energetic you feel, the more it will support your ability to tackle the cognitive challenges."
2) Plan your work
- Some people concentrate better at night, others prefer to be up with the larks. Stick to a consistent working pattern so your mind and body can adjust, and take plenty of short breaks.
3) Know your examiner
- Unlike GCSEs and A-Levels, where examination papers are formulated by matriculating exam boards, at university, course lecturers often set the questions – which should help when trying to anticipate them. "The strange thing is, the examiner who sets and marks the paper is a familiar figure," says Kate Williams, editor of Palgrave Macmillan pocket study skills. "It's the same person who designed your course or module, whose lectures you've attended." Hopefully …
4) Be on top of the practicalities
- It is easy to forget practical details, so be clear about simple things like start times, venue, equipment, material you can or cannot bring, and so on. "Being on top of all these can make a huge difference in your poise and performance and will help avoid unnecessary last-minute jitters,"
5) Don't despair
- Even if you feel underprepared, you can do a lot with the short time you have left. "Night-before notes can be an active way of capturing, condensing and summarising your exam material," says Moore. "Sketching out short signposts is a great way of gaining last-minute command over some of the trickier aspects of your studies."