10 Tips For Preparing For Your Exams - All You Manchester Students!

All over Greater Manchester, students of all subjects are dealing with the prospect of exams! At System One Travel we feel your pain! If you are facing a barrage of tests this spring, don’t worry, we have your educational welfare at heart with these top tips on how to prepare for everyone’s least favourite part of the learning process.

As Manchester students sweat their way towards tests, we’ve used our experience and scoured the internet for research on things that have been proven to increase learning power and reduce the stress of the whole ordeal. Take a few moments out of your hectic revision schedule (you do have a revision schedule, don’t you?) to discover our 10 tips for preparing for your exams. Who knows? You might find something that will help you on your way to academic success.  


1 Get Organised

Start as you mean to go on with a tidy desk and tidy mind. Clear your study space of all distractions and make sure you have everything you need to hand - pens, pencils, computer, calculator, relevant textbooks and notes. Turn off your phone and make sure that you are comfortable.

Everyone is different - some people work best with music, others need complete silence to concentrate or require all visual stimulus to be out of sight. If this is you, ask family or housemates to keep the noise down (if they aren’t revising too) and/or move your chair or desk to a part of the room where you don’t have a view out of a window.


2 Time To Study

Start with your exam dates and work backwards to create a revision timetable, not forgetting to block out time for travelling to and sitting the actual exams! The subjects that are testing earliest and those that you find more challenging than others should be tackled first. As your schedule clears you can add in topics from later exams. 

For the best chance of retaining information, you should space your study time over the day rather than try to cram all of your learning into one session shortly before your exam. Figure out which is the best time of day for you to study - night time when peace and quiet can inspire creativity or day time when energy levels should be at their highest. Whatever your revision schedule, make sure that you are getting enough sleep to boost your learning receptors.


3 Practice Makes Perfect

It’s no good learning all of the facts if you can’t apply them or take too long putting the required information down on paper.

Get hold of some past exam papers - your college or university should be able to help with this if you can’t find them online - and get stuck in. Don’t forget to stick to the time limit for each paper, organising your time in an exam is a skill in itself. 


4 Make Use Of Learning Aids

There are a variety of techniques that can be used to increase your learning power. As with all of the routines on this list of tips, each method will work better for some than others. Find one or two that suits you and apply it wherever you can. Some of our favourites include:

Mind palaces: imagine a building full of all the information you need. Draw it out from your memory as you mentally stroll through the recesses of your overworked brain.

Mnemonics: create a word or phrase using the initials of key points. ‘Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain’ being one of the most well known, created to recall the colours of the rainbow - Red, Orange, Yellow, Green Indigo and Violet.

Rhyming: compile vital words into a rhyme. It doesn’t have to make sense, in fact the weirder, the more memorable!

Diagrams: it’s often easier to visualise a diagram than to recall text, especially if you need to recollect a process or series of steps.

Setting facts and figures to music: we can often remember song lyrics better than other information. Choose a familiar tune or make up your own!

Experiencing things first hand: this is one of the best ways to learn. Wherever possible, seize the opportunity to get stuck into procedures, visit locations relevant to your subject or chat through theories with experts.

Smell and Taste: use a favourite perfume or suck on a flavoured sweet when revising a particular subject. In the exam, repeat this process, using a different smell or taste for each subject. This will help you to associate your senses with a distinct bank of knowledge.


5 Discuss Your Knowledge With Others

Whether in a study group with fellow students or at home with your family and friends, share your knowledge. By talking through the facts you have learned, you can get them straight in your own head and add logic as you explain them to others. 

Ask them to challenge your point of view so that you can objectively argue a case or discover holes in your knowledge while there is still time to complete your learning.


6 Take Regular Exercise

We know that panic may very well set in and you’ll want to be stuck in your books 24/7 in order to absorb as much information as possible prior to your exams, but this can be counterproductive, as we’ve already discussed. While taking a break, you might want to consider a short burst of exercise. 

This has been proven to increase brain power, pumping blood to the brain and flooding it with all the right chemicals to improve problem solving and memory. It can also keep you fit and awaken your senses, allowing you to make a fresh start on your studies when you return to your desk. Working out al fresco will allow the vitamin D inducing sunshine to benefit your noggin even more!


7 Feed Your Brain

As well as feeding your brain with information, you have to feed your body with good, healthy, thought-boosting nutrition too. Wholegrains, oily fish, tomatoes, blackcurrants, nuts and seeds have all been proven to help expand the grey matter.

Eating a good breakfast on the day of each of your tests and for at least a week beforehand can ensure that energy is released slowly so that your aren’t distracted by hunger pangs or tummy rumbles. And try to stay away from junk food, even if you think you deserve a treat - it can make you (and your mind) sluggish. Excessive coffee is a no-no too as it is a diuretic that will cause dehydration and may also keep you awake when you get the opportunity for some much needed rest.


8 Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Make sure that you take on enough water throughout your study days and exam period to keep your mind and body hydrated. Thirst can distract you in the same way as hunger and since our body is about 60% water, it seems stupid to deprive it of such a vital ingredient.

One-and-a-half to two litres a day is the recommended amount to keep your body and brain in tip top condition. 


9 Preparation Prevents Poor Performance

Studying done, your exam is imminent. The key to success now is to relax; so make sure that you get a good night’s sleep and that you’ve planned everything from buying your bus ticket to sharpening your pencils. You’ll also need to have your lucky pants washed and ready to wear, well in advance.

Ensure you have your student ID, if required for registration, and know the exact room of your exam. If it’s a long test, you might want to bring a few snacks (the quiet kind!) and a drink...maybe your favourite latte from that special coffee shop near the SU. 


10 ...And Chill.

Hard work done, exams complete, you deserve to spoil yourself. Maybe a night out with friends or a trip to a favourite destination could be a worthy reward. Try to save your treat until the end of your run of exams or you might get distracted.

It’ll be worth all of the hard work when you get your qualification and can pass on your exam preparation tips to other students.

Throughout the exam period, System One Travel is here to help. From figuring out the best route to take to your exam, to choosing the right travelcard to last until your last test, and on to your celebrations.


To make things even less stressful, tell us how you’re preparing for your exams on Twitter or Facebook using #S1ExamTips for the chance to win a FREE one day travelcard.


Good luck!

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