Exam Survival Guide | Selby College
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Exam Survival Guide

Some tips to help with those dreaded exams!

It’s that time of year again, and yes it can be a pretty scary experience, especially if you go completely blank the moment the invigilator tells you to turn over the paper, but don’t panic! Here are our top tips to exam success.


1. Make a realistic revision timetable. Work backwards from the exams and divide your revision up week by week to ensure you have plenty of time to cover all the subjects you will need to know inside out in the final exam. Remember to allow extra time for unexpected delays.

2. Try to revise at the same time every day and let everyone else know when this is. That way you’ll get into a routine, nobody will disturb you and you’ll be less inclined to watch that Netflix series or scroll through Insta!

3. Edit your class notes down until you have just a handful, or better still just one sheet, of key facts/notes for each subject, that way you’ll be able to take your notes with you and refer to them during any quiet time e.g. on the bus or in the car on your way to or from school/college. Don’t be afraid to use pictures and diagrams or mnemonics (where you create a word/saying to help remember important information e.g. Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain – each initial letter of the saying represents a colour and it’s order within the rainbow).

4. Test yourself regularly. There’s no point simply reading and re-reading your notes without checking how much information you can actually remember. Try organising your notes into two columns, one with questions and the other with answers. Cover up the answers and test yourself to see how much you know (don’t cheat!), this will not only give you a boost when you get them right, but will help identify any weak areas. Get your family to help test you too!

5. Revision can be dull so studying with friends can help break that cycle and motivate you to work harder. Just remember you’re there to revise not catch-up on Love Island gossip (that can wait until after your revision session)!

6. Make sure you eat a proper breakfast or lunch, even if you feel nervous. Energy is important!!


1. Keep ploughing through your revision hoping something will stick. Schedule yourself a 10-15 minute break every 90 minutes or so and make sure you get up and move away from your revision space.

2. Revise with the TV on, it’s far too easy to get distracted. If you really need some background noise try listening to some music.

3. Allow your phone to distract you. Our lives may be ruled by gadgets, but don’t fool yourself into thinking you can have a quick flick through Snapchat etc, these are rarely brief and will not help you get through your exam. Resist temptation by putting your phone on silent or give it to someone! Instead, set yourself revision targets and then treat yourself for reaching your goals.

4. Lounge in bed until lunchtime if you’re on study leave, there will be plenty of time for this after your exams. Better still, get up early and head to the gym or for a quick swim and then get revising, you’re more likely to absorb information in the morning.

5. Do any late-night work the evening before the exam. Your time will be better spent relaxing and getting an early night so that you are nice and refreshed for the exam the following day.

Finally, remember to get everything ready the night before so you know what you are wearing in the morning and have all the equipment you need in your bag so you're not rushing!

Good luck and think positive :)