January Exams: A Guide to Revision

A guide to successful revision

With Christmas over, and the New Year celebrated, it’s back to university, and soon, those dreaded January exams. Here are a few tips and suggestions that should help you prepare and keep those nerves under control.

Revision should be a process of consolidating lecture and textbook notes into a coherent and reasoned argument. Revision is best done in a quiet study area; here at Scape they have facilities for quiet study so be sure to take advantage of these. Remember there is no right way to revise as every person learns differently – it's best to find a technique that suits you.


The basis of all revision is to plan out what you’re going to do. Make a list of all your exams and the topics that you need to cover; creating a revision checklist for each topic will ensure that you cover it fully.

Then you can create a revision plan that covers everything; be sure to assign more time to the areas that you find most difficult, and take note of other regular commitments such as weekly lectures, seminars and essay deadlines. Remember to also include some well-earned breaks so you can refresh your body and mind. 

Eight quick tips:

  • Organise your revision notes
  • Use colour to highlight key ideas/evidence
  • Use past exam papers; plan and practise writing answers
  • Make revision cards summarising important facts
  • Make diagrams simple and easy to understand
  • Drink plenty of water and make sure to eat healthily as this will impact on your learning
  • Take regular breaks, roughly 10 minutes for every hour
  • Positive thinking is key - think what you can achieve, not what you can’t

Before your exam

During the period before your exams don’t try to learn new things, the key is to consolidate what you already know. Look over past exam papers and familiarise yourself with the layout; meet with friends who have the same exam and swap knowledge. Also working with a friend can help build your confidence and understanding of a topic.

The exam

Ensure you have all the relevant equipment the night before, and get an early night. Give yourself plenty of time to get to the exam, and try not to panic - exam nerves are natural. During the exam take your time, pace yourself, answer first the questions that you know you've prepared for. This will help you build up confidence for any you might be unsure of. Leave enough time at the end to check over your answers.

After the exam

The good news is that you’re done, and you can’t change anything now so don’t worry. Don't be tempted to rush and check your answers, the best thing is to relax and then begin the final part of your revision for any other exams.


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