Tips to be prepared and confident going into exams

It’s that time of the year again and SpunOutter Joanna gives her tips on surviving your exams.

Written by Joanna Siewierska


As exams approach and stress levels rise, being able to manage your time and to prepare properly is vital to achieve your  best and for all your hard work to pay off. Here are some tips on how to stay on the ball during this time.

Don't compare yourself to others

Don’t compare yourself to how everyone else is getting on. Studying is very personal so follow a plan or timetable that’s tailored to your own study needs.

Choose the right study environment

Look after yourself and your environment. Try not to pull too many ‘all nighters’. Eat well and take care of yourself. Don’t forget to study in the right place; some people need comfortable and quiet surroundings, while others prefer some background music. 

Mix it up

Use different methods. When looking over notes don’t just bury yourself in pages of text. Break it down into short notes and revise them, stick them on your wall or just read them out loud. Find a study method that works best for you.

Take breaks

Clear your head. Head to the gym or just go for a walk with a mate. It’s important to give your mind a rest, so chill out regularly in between long study sessions.

Be positive

Positive people = positive you. Sticking to happy and positive people rubs off on us and helps us to stay calm and focused, so keep as many smiley people around you as possible.

Don't bottle things up

Work on your stress. If you’re feeling like you really can’t handle the exams, talk to someone. It’s okay not to feel okay so don’t be afraid to ask for help. Lots of people around you have been there and done that, your friends, family or college counsellor are sure to help.

Turn up at the right place

On the night before the exam confirm the time and location of it. Relax before you go to bed for about 30 minutes, watch some telly or listen to some music and make sure you get enough sleep before hand. Don't spend all night cramming.

Be prepared

On the day of the exam make sure you arrive at the right hall and that you have all your stuff packed (stationary, water, watch, student ID).  Before you leave the house, look over how many questions you have to answer for each section and how much time do you have?  Get some food into your system, even if it’s a morning exam. A good, slow energy release breakfast and water can really help you do your best.

Take deep breaths…

Take a deep breath as you open the paper and read through it before you start. Mark the questions you’re going to answer and remember to keep an eye on the time as you do them. Don’t give up, if you have a problem then skip it and move on to something else. Most importantly, leave some time to read over at the end. Some of our best ideas come from reading over our work.

Don't forget if something goes wrong you can contact your Students' Union

If you arrive late, don’t panic. See if you can be admitted in a bit late and if there’s a problem, contact your department office or students' union. If you’re too sick to go to an exam then just contact your department or students' union. Be sure to keep your doctors notes, as they might be required. If you have an issue with the paper, contact your lecturer and have a chat about it. If you feel like there was something wrong, it’s best to wait until you get it back, so hold on until you get your results before you take action.

Don't bottle up your stress

For more advice, talk to your mates, your lecturer, students union or college counsellor. You can find more support services at,,,
Best of luck in your exams!

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