We hope you have been enjoying all the UniSkills #ReadySetRevise activity so far this week. Our Student Advisors are mixture of undergraduate and postgraduate students and between them bring together a wealth of knowledge from studying at Edge Hill. This makes them ideal candidates to pass on their wisdom, so join them as they share their reflections on their own exam experiences, how they’ve overcome any challenges and their tips for revision success.

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Darren – 2nd Year Teaching, Learning and Child Development

Student Advisor Darren

Over the year I have sat in many exam halls, in school, sixth form and even university and I have to admin they are not the most pleasant experiences within my academic life, but they must be done to achieve my goals and have aided me to get me where I am today.  

Reflecting upon them I did find them challenging as the questions can be unpredictable, although I felt that using past papers and attending revision sessions really helped me to develop my knowledge in preparation for the exam, ensuring that I achieve the best possible outcome. The earlier I started with studying the better my understanding was and the less pressure I felt walking into the exam hall.  

I also ensure that the night before any exam I get a good night’s sleep and have everything ready to go so that I am not stressing before the exam.  Top tips from me are to start revising early using your time effectively to gather any information you don’t understand in advance of the exam.  Not everything that helped me will work for you but do try it out and find your best way to revise and study for exams to relieve the pressure when in the exam hall.  

Maya – 3rd Year Film and Television Production

Student Advisor Maya

On the approach to exams when it was vital to allocate my time to revision, the main thing I struggled with was time management and focus. As a person I get easily distracted – when I need to revise, I go and get food, I watch videos on TikTok, I end up online shopping… that’s just a few examples!

I find what helps me pull myself into gear the most is strict plans. I make hourly revision timetables for each topic & for each day, and I stick to them religiously. This way, I know I only have a limited time in which I need to revise & afterwards I can online shop all I want! Although it may sound like the opposite, it actually takes a way a lot of the pressure of revision, as it allows my brain it to shove all of its unimportant thoughts to one side for later. Edge Hill’s weekly planner template is brilliant for planning revision hour-by-hour & I definitely recommend giving it a go! 

Callie – 3rd Year History and Politics

Student Advisor Callie

The biggest challenge I have when revising for exams is always wanting to look over the things I already know, and avoid the things that I am not so sure on. I will try and do anything not to go over things I don’t know and I can get easily distracted, especially when I am at home. When this happens I have to go to the Catalyst to continue my prep as there are less distractions there and it makes me focus on the topics I need to revise. I then use the Pomodoro technique to revise different topics, even ones that I want to avoid, that way I am spending 25 minutes on each topic and covering more areas.

On the UniSkills webpages there is an Exam Preparation Checklist. I use the Study Techniques section of this checklist to help me use effective study methods. I would also really recommend booking and attending one of UniSkills Effective Exam preparation workshops to help gets tips on what ways are best to ensure that the prep that you are doing is effective and worthwhile!

Emma – 3rd Year Creative Writing and Film Studies

Student Advisor Emma

Despite being someone who has typically always done quite exam-heavy subjects, I absolutely hate exams. I get incredibly worked up and the pressure can feel so intense, but with practise I learned little ways to stay calm, feel more relaxed and focus better during exams seasons.

I think the most important thing to remind yourself is that all you can do is your best. Don’t stress too much about the grades, just put the work in and try as hard as you can- it’s the best you can do for yourself! Secondly, revision doesn’t need to be boring. Make colourful posters, mind maps and flashcards and put them up around your room so you can see them regularly and move around your room to revise, instead of sitting in one spot and reading a textbook over and over until your head hurts.

And finally, make sure you maintain a balance of revision and everything else. Don’t let the fear get to you and convince you to be revising 24/7. Eat regular meals, drink lots of water, take breaks and spend time with family and friends, and get plenty of sleep. A little tip you might want to try is some gentle yoga the night before the exam, if you’re into that kind of thing- it always helped me to feel grounded and calm ready for the day ahead!

Good luck, and remember, you should always be proud of yourself for how hard you’ve worked!

Laura – MA 19th Century Studies

Student Advisor Laura

As a Literature student, my Undergraduate exams were closed book. This meant students were not allowed to take texts into the exam. This called for a lot of memorisation, which can be nerve-wracking if you are not prepared. One thing I found helpful was identifying quotes that would complement different essay questions. I would write the quotes on Post-It notes and stick them on the wall behind my desk. Seeing the quotes on a daily basis helped me to memorise them naturally.

Try jotting down bitesize revision notes and popping them in places where you would regularly see them, e.g., on the fridge door, on the computer, or inside your phone case. Another great tip for memorisation is voice notes. Try recording yourself as you read your revision notes aloud. It may be cringey to hear your own voice, but it really helps! This also means you can listen to them when you’re on the go. 

Alex – 3rd Year Geography and Geology

Student Advisor Alex

Exams are a stressful time. It feels like everything is ending and your future is being decided in that moment on that paper. The thought can ruminate in your head and become quite daunting. Just remember the most you can do is your best, try to study as much as you can, avoid staying up all night stressing, you’re just depriving yourself of sleep. Personally, I’ve always found it helped me to enter an exam hall with the calmest head you can conjure, there’s no point in stressing during the exam what will be will be. Don’t worry over things you can’t change, and you never know, you might find that being calm and collected actually helps you to recall information better than you thought you could! At the end of the day, exams are important and you should do all the preparation you can, but a healthy mindset is also if not more important and you’d be surprised of the positive academic effect it can have on your examination period and your life in general!

Try not to stretch yourself too thin. Make revising the most enjoyable experience you can, maybe with a snack and some nice drinks? And don’t drive yourself crazy worrying about anything, I genuinely don’t believe I would have done half as well as I did in my A levels if I walked into the exam hall sweating and anxious. Some apps such as headspace are good if you feel you are somebody who worries a lot, breathing exercises can calm you down more than you might expect!

Paula – 3rd Year Psychology

Student Advisor Paula

May should be the most wonderful month of the year, everything in nature is new and exciting, fledging’s are leaving the nest and summer is just around the corner. There is one thing though that drags May down into the depths of hell for me and that’s exam season. I’m a mature student so exams should have been over and done with when I left school, but no – they just followed me. First, I did vocational courses, then I had to help my children through their exams, then just as that was over, I took a job in a school and May is the busiest time of year for school admin. Now I’m at university so obviously May is going to be a stressful time yet again.  

So things to remember during exam season are: self-care, you are going through a tough time, treat yourself well, don’t give yourself any pressures that can be avoided. If you want to start a diet or exercise plan, leave it until June. Don’t agree to go places you don’t really want to go, but don’t cancel anything that you will truly enjoy. Let those you love know that you are under pressure, they will be able to help ease unnecessary burdens at this time. Spend as much time as you can outside in nature, if your revision is reading, read outside. Most of all though remember, you can only do one thing at a time and as long as you try nothing else matters.  

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading all our Student Advisor reflections and that they have inspired your own revision.

Good luck with your assessments!

2 responses to “#ReadySetRevise: Exam Reflections from your Student Advisors”

  1. Tips for exams for English Literature? There are no exams for English Literature! English Literature students are assessed differently now, we don’t have closed book exams, or any exams at all.

    • Hi Anita, thanks for the feedback. If you do not have exams there is still lots of support available from UniSkills including workshops, 1-2-1 appointments for academic writing and information skills and online via the UniSkills web pages. If you need any further support with your assessments please email [email protected] and we can arrange an appointment for you. Thank you