Tips and study techniques

A lot of people find study really difficult to master, especially those that are less familiar with examinations. While there are no hard and fast rules about studying, there are a few things that you can be aware of to help you make the most of your exam preparation. Remember that everyone is different and someone who studies well actively thinks about what is best practice for them.

  • Make sure you manage your time. You will need to make study a priority and commit time to ensure you have learnt everything you need to when working towards the exams.
  • Establish your learning priorities. This is a difficult task because the amount you could learn is seemingly endless but there are several pointers. Looking through your materials and working with your tutors is one of the best ways but don't dismiss reviewing the syllabus and checking through old exam papers. Don't discount other students and members as a resource. Talking to them can help you establish a plan of action for how you intend to tackle your exams.
  • Be familiar with past examiners' reports. These always hint at common pitfalls and mistakes that you can actively seek to avoid in your exam. Go to the Resources/Learning Resources for Students tabs on our website.
  • Practice makes perfect - try answering past exam questions and getting used to the discipline of writing an exam. These can also be found on our website.
  • Be mindful of your own learning patterns. Again, there is no set of rules for how to study. It really is 'best fit', but there are tips you can think about:
    • research indicates that study lasting more than 40 minutes is more often than not counter-productive. Plan to study for 30-40 minutes at a time before you have a break
    • whatever you do with your break time, get up and move away from your desk (a walk and some fresh air is a really good idea). You should look at having a short break before getting back to it
    • make sure your study area is comfortable and has lots of fresh air and good light
    • in the weeks coming up to your exam you will really want to make sure that you are well rested. Some studies indicate that sleep is the single biggest factor influencing examination performance.  It is generally accepted that having a routine sleeping pattern (going to bed at the same time and getting up at the same time) is the best way to achieve quality sleep.