The secret to success in exams: 5 Top Tips


How do you succeed in exams? 

Unsurprisingly, this is probably the most frequently asked question from students. They want to know the secret to success. Of course, in many ways, the answer is simple and straightforward…

If you work hard in lessons, do your homework, and revise regularly (not just for a few days before an exam!), it stands to reason that you are putting yourself in the best position to succeed.

The problem is that most people find this very hard to do. To be honest, it is difficult to maintain a strong level of consistency all the way through a course.

But don’t panic – even if you haven’t been a ‘model student’ all the time, you can still succeed!

It’s also true that even those students who have done everything they should have done still need to make sure that their revision is focused and effective if they want to reach their potential in exams.

Is there a secret to success in exams?

Well, these 5 top tips will keep you on the right track:

Secret to success: Put some space between your practice

You are bound to have heard the advice not to ‘cram’ your revision before. It’s common sense really. Trying to desperately cram everything in at the last minute is never going to work. That much is obvious. But it’s worth looking at how the brain works too here.

Take something that you might do a lot that you get better at over time – a new Xbox game, for example.

Research shows that people who play on a new game 5 times and then leave it alone for 24 hours before playing it again will do better on their next 5 plays than a person who continues to play for 50% longer.

Putting some space in between actually helps your performance. The same is true for learning and revising. So, space it out rather than cramming it in!

Don’t be afraid of getting things wrong

You may have heard the saying ‘Nobody gets better by getting things right all the time’. It might sound a little weird, but it really is true. Getting things wrong every now and again can actually help you to get better over time.

This is why you should never avoid or ‘put off’ the questions or topics that you struggle with the most. Tackle the toughest bits head on!

Obviously, you don’t want to deliberately get things wrong. But if you do, don’t worry about it – you can learn from the experience.

Spending too much time revising the stuff you already know is not the best use of your time. Instead, always start with the topics you find the hardest.

Be active in your revision

It’s important to do something with your revision material. You could have the best set of notes in the world but if all you do is read through them then they won’t be much help. You need to be active when you revise. 

And the best way to be active is to…

Practise exam answers

Doing well in exams isn’t just about showing off your knowledge or remembering information, it’s about knowing exactly what is expected from you in every single question. You need to know this inside out. 

The skill that is being assessed in a question is more important than the content on your answer.

Rest and sleep

It’s a natural reaction – especially if you are stressed – to spend more time revising, if you are worried about how you are going to do in an exam.  But there are only so many hours in a day.

It is better to have frequent breaks, days off, and a good night’s sleep every single night than to stay up late every night trying desperately to catch up. 

Rest and sleep really is a major part of the secret to success.

Our friendly and expert tutors can help you make sense of everything and get you exam-ready.

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