Improve your chances with these 5 last-minute exams tips

As the exam season looms Aileen O'Leary has some helpful tips on how you can stay on top of things

Don't be overwhelmed. Start by drawing up a timetable and structure you thoughts and your study.Photograph: iStockphoto/Getty Images

Don't be overwhelmed. Start by drawing up a timetable and structure you thoughts and your study.Photograph: iStockphoto/Getty Images


As the semester comes to a close and final assignments are due, it’s understandable to be under pressure at the moment, with impending exams as well it can be hard to manage everything. However, there are a few tips and tricks that can make this process easier. Here are my five top tips for getting organised and making the most of the next few weeks.

1.Make a timetable:

With final assignments due and study as well you’ll need to prioritise your time over the next few weeks. The easiest way to start is to make a timetable, if like me you’re working part time you need to make a timetable that will work around your schedule. For me, I try to get all my college work and assignments done during the week and leave my weekends free for work, meeting up with friends, catching up on my favourite shows and getting out for walks. So I make it a priority to get as much work done before Friday as I can. Try to schedule in some study time in between classes and lectures, if you’ve got an hour to kill maybe try the library and get a start on your revision or use the time to tackle those last few paragraphs for your final essay. Make every day count.

2. Map out what you need:

I’ve always found that writing down what I need to cover took some of the stress and panic out of revising. Most lecturers will have exam prep slides, and usually give a broad enough range that should be covered before the exam. Take a sheet and list out your subjects, modules, and topics. Take a sheet for every topic and list out what you’ve covered then divide what you need to know. Try to mix up what you cover each day, for example spend an hour covering a topic in history then take a quick break and switch to English for an hour to keep your mind active and avoid any repetitive slumps.

3.Keep a clear space:

When you’re studying or writing an essay avoid the clutter. I find it easier to write or revise when I’ve got room to write notes down from my laptop or move around a bit. Also let in some fresh air every now and then, leave your window open for half an hour while you study so that the space doesn’t feel warm or tight after a while. Also try to keep all your supplies, so paper, pens, highlighters, folders etc in one spot on your desk or wherever your studying so they’re within reach and you can get what you need easily instead of rummaging through drawers for twenty minutes looking for stuff.

4.Walk away from it:

The best advice I could give when it comes to assignments or revising is to walk away from it. I’m not saying avoid your work or anything but I always find that getting out of the house or the library even if it’s just to grab a coffee or stretch my legs helps me get essays and notes done a lot faster than just sitting there waiting for motivation to get work done. Try to get a walk in as often as you can, even if it’s just to the shops or to the park or something. Release some of the stress, maybe take an hour to hit the gym or go for a swim. Get out of your head space for a bit anyway. An app that I use to meditate is called Calm its available for free on the app store and google play as well. It’s also really good for helping with sleep insomnia and stress, so definitely worth checking out.

5. Exams aren’t the end of the world:

The best tip I could give is simple, don’t put so much pressure on yourself. While it is important to pass your exams and hopefully most of you will, if you fail or have to repeat one or two it isn’t the end of the world. You’ll learn from your mistakes and hopefully never have to repeat them again. If you find yourself struggling to understand a topic or subject get help from your tutor, speak to a lecturer or attend their office hours. There is an entire support system available so please use it.

This article was first published in May, 2017.