Top tips for exam revision
Exams can be tough, gruelling and leave you exhausted - but with a clear plan and study schedule in place things can suddenly seem manageable. In a recent competition our student members submitted their tried and tested tips for maximising exam preparation. Among the ideas we hope you find some useful suggestions to help with your study. Good luck!
If you have any additional tips you'd like to share, we encourage you to email them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can continue to update the list.
Planning & time management
- Try and start revising long before exams. Weekly revisions during the semester help you in the long run
- Failing to plan is planning to fail - make a calendar style timetable that is reasonable and includes all topics to be studied. Include specific study time as well as other social and leisure activities and breaks as rewards following a study session. Try and stick to it!
- Treat your study days like a job. Wake up early to have a good breakfast and start by 8.30-9am. Stop for a 45 minute lunch break at approximately 12.30pm and stop at 5.30-6pm. Give yourself the night off before starting again the next day
- Always plan to stop study at a certain time. It helps to avoid procrastination during the session as you only have a fixed amount of time to fit it all in
- If you aren't motivated to study, don't! Do something else and come back to it
- Choose a study location where you will not be easily distracted.
- Make a blueprint of all topics that need to be covered and start from the top using textbooks, previous notes, medical websites etc.
- Before you start a day of studying, quickly review the headings and subheadings of each topic for the day. You get a sense of how important each one is, how well you know them and can devise how much time to spend on each. Knowing what and how much is ahead will calm you down, putting you in a mood more conducive to studying
- Imagine you are a lecturer on the topic you are studying and teach a friend of yours about it - encourage them to ask questions they may have. Not only will this help your preparation but it will teach you to express your answers well
- Write a song about the subject and sing it in the shower!
- Use lots of brightly coloured pens
- Don't cram at the last minute - it just doesn't work
- Use mnemonics to try and remember difficult lists and processes
- Include graphs and illustrations in your notes to aid retention of information
- Study by practising the same type of exam you will be taking - for example multiple choice, long case, written
- Do lots of cases and EMQs to reinforce the information
- As the evening progresses and you get too tired to read, listen to a medical podcast or watch a clinical skills or anatomy video
- After you finish studying a section, test yourself on the content you've tried to learn
- Make a colourful PowerPoint presentation for each topic you have to revise
- Divide and conquer! Break up your studies into smaller bite-sized pieces
- Make copies of your notes and post them on the back of your bathroom door
- When in need of a change of scenery get together with a group of your fellow students and quiz each other
- Try recording your notes onto an MP3 player and listen back to them.
Health and wellbeing
- Eat well, sleep well and exercise
- Be sure to eat well on the morning of the exam
- Listen to motivational speeches before a study session, such as those by Mandela, King or Obama. Yes we can!
- Prioritise sleep - no exceptions
- Spend some time each day talking to someone - don't internalise your stress
- Have a jog at the start of the day
- Afternoon yoga after a whole day of studying is very relaxing and clears your mind before doing more work in the evening
- Don't stress, try and relax and remember the examiners are not there to fail you
- Always have a snack at hand!
- Resist the urge to sacrifice sleep for a few hours of extra study, your retention will be poorer and you will burn out.