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Rhee Helliwell | Jun 12, 2017

Last-minute revision tips for exam success

Categories: Summer, Teens, Education, Children, Tips, Performance, Testing

Exams can be the most daunting time of year even for the most hardworking students. With multiple exams to revise for, a busy school schedule alongside lots of nerves, the weeks during exams can be extremely overwhelming, so much so, that it can have a negative impact on exam performance. At Tutor Doctor, we know how crucial the week before an exam is, especially with feeling prepared and knowing what to cover. We’ve put together some last-minute revision tips to ensure exam success and help students feel calm and collected during this high-pressure period.

Know the Syllabus

Our number one tip for exam success is knowing what’s included on the syllabus for the particular exam you are studying for. Often teachers will have a basic set of objectives their students are required to achieve. Ask them if they can provide you with a copy or see if they can provide you with specific syllabus details. This will help you narrow down the key areas that need to be studied, meaning you can focus on revising topics that are going to be in your exam rather than material that isn’t necessary.

Past Papers

Past papers are going to be your new best friend during exams. Often schools have these in abundance, so ask your teacher if you can have a couple from previous years. Complete them under timed conditions, this way you become familiar with the format, are aware of the time constraints and get used the type of questions that are going to come up. It’s great practice for identifying areas you may be struggling with as well as confirming how much you actually know. This makes it much easier when doing last minute revision as you can spend more time studying the things you find trickier. When it comes to completing past papers, always remember to read the question carefully as the way a question is worded can easily confuse students. If you’re struggling to understand, break the question down or come back to it later.  

Talk about what you’ve learnt

It’s important to schedule in verbal revision discussions in the weeks leading up to your exam. Whether this is with your friends, family or a teacher - just half an hour explaining a subject out loud with no notes gives you a fantastic opportunity to test yourself and consolidate your revision. From here if there are areas that you’re not quite sure on, you can easily adapt your revision to cover this, meaning when it comes to the real thing, you’ll ace it! Another top tip is to not talk about what you’ve learnt with friends in the corridor 5 minutes before heading into the exam. This will only send you into a panic worrying about all the things you don’t know, when in reality you know so much more than you think.

Exam Technique

Remember, exam technique can be just as important as having great subject knowledge - in fact it can make all the difference between getting a good and great grade. In the weeks before, it’s always helpful to practice and perfect your exam technique. Areas to focus include carefully reading questions and instructions, as well as considering timings and roughly how long you have to spend on each section. Many students run out of time during an exam, meaning they miss out on crucial points. For more tips to boost exam performance, check out our blog post here.


Don’t overdo it!

We know that in the days leading up to your exams, revision is going to be priority. However, it’s important to not overdo it, as this will only cause exhaustion, stress and overload your brain which isn’t going to help. Remember to take regular breaks, try 50 minutes on, 10 minutes off. Scientific research indicates that doing this means you have a much higher chance of remembering what you’ve just been studying. It’s also a great idea to take an hour off to relax- try going for a walk, reading a magazine, meet up with a friend for a chat or just spend time around the house with family members. You can then return to revision with fresh mindset!