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Exam tips to maximise your potential

By Janet Williamson

It is never too late to increase efforts and to improve revision techniques in order to improve on one’s previous best.

The transition between grades can be the difference of one mark. The process of preparation and revision is not complete until the examination is over and so last minute increased efforts do still count. There are two key concepts to remember and to apply in the final stages:

“Proper presentation prevents poor performance” and “To eat an elephant is one bite at a time” – hence the concept of “bite size” revision. There are a number of actions you can take to maximise your potential.

  • Update revision timetable starting with your weakest subjects, to allow time to revisit your work – you will have more chances of recalling work if you revise it more than once. Establish a revision routine – where you revise, how your revise, what you wear and what you eat.
  • Where?; Have a ‘space’ you can work in at home, in school, library, relatives house.
  • How?; Do not go for quick fix, eg, recording work on a tape to be played as you sleep – you need to do the work – work out bullet points, mind maps (not for everyone), repeat key words out loud (extremely effective, even if friends and family worry for your sanity).
  • Wear?; Revision is not a fashion statement: be comfortable and relaxed to revise
  • Eat?; Essential to maintain energy levels – the exams are not a short, sharp burst – again no quick fixes; eat sensibly, drink water, snack healthily in between exams and, if appropriate take vitamins and fish oils (recommend Paradox oils).

Finally, keep it simple – repeat the key concepts, dates formula, words and once you find a system that works for you, stick to it – your revision style and strategy does not have to be the same as your friends.

Janet Williamson is the principal of Royal Belfast Academical Institution

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