Exams – how to pass without (much) stress (4 / 4)


4.   Drill-rehearse-practice

Find different ways of testing yourself. A really good way of doing this is to create flash cards with a question on one side and the answer on the other. You can then test yourself.

There is something odd about physically writing something down that means it tends to be learned. I recommend that you write out the theories and the facts you are learning and do this again and again. If you are struggling to remember certain parts, a useful trick is to have the information you need surrounding you. So have it written on large post it notes and stuck on your bathroom mirror. Or buy flip charts (you can get them now with post-it type glue already on them so you can stick them right on the wall) and write out the theories you are learning. Many people use mind maps to summarise subjects and this seems to be a really useful aid to recall. And get your friends and family to test you. The more frequently and the more different ways you do this, the better the memory trace and so the easier it will be to recall the information in the exam.

I have some tips about the actual exam in my next blog but I will leave you with this final piece of advice. Try to stay calm. The prospect of sitting an exam can be stressful but the best way of performing as well as you can is to put the work in before hand. Regardless of how late you leave your revision, there are still things you can do.

And that’s it. Most of all you need to get going! Even if you think it is too early or too late, make a start. Direct your efforts into preparing for the exam and try not to waste energy on worrying.

I have written a book which gives more details about this and everything else you need to know about studying at university.


Now stop reading this and get on with it!


PS – the photo is of Bruce Springsteen rehearsing with the E Street Band. It was way before they were famous but what they did was to make sure they were the best the could be technically even when relatively few people were coming to see them. I’m using it to illustrate the prep work that went into their massive success!

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