Exams put extra pressure on even the calmest of students. But, with a little preparation and a well-planned revision timetable, you can achieve the grades you deserve.
The British Council has a range of useful tools and resources for you, whether you’re a student or teacher. And we can help you with the following simple tips:
Two months before your exams:
Now is the time to think seriously about your revision timetable. You should:
- check the most up-to-date syllabus for every subject
- find out about the exam (for example, are questions multiple choice or essay-based?)
- prepare a revision timetable.
Some revision tips:
Try to schedule revision for your most productive times during the day. For example, if you feel fresh and alert in the morning, make sure you do most of your studying early. You should also try to:
- prioritise exams that make up a large percentage of a subject’s grade
- take regular breaks to refresh your mind
- use a variety of study tools to revise – including books, audio guides and online video summaries
- highlight important points in your study notes
- ask family and friends to quiz you on each subject
- sit past papers so you get a feel for the questions and timings
- make time for relaxation with family and friends.
A month before your exams:
If you’re a school student, your exams co-ordinator should provide you with a Statement of Entry. If you are a private candidate, you will receive an email and an SMS from British Council to collect your Statement of Entry. Please remember to collect your Statement of Entry before your exam starts.
Your Statement of Entry will tell you exactly when your exams are being held so you can make appropriate travel arrangements. You must remember to bring this form with you on exam day.
For more information on what to bring and to view your exam timetables, see ‘Your Exam Day’.
In the meantime, continue with your own revision timetable – but remember to schedule breaks so you don’t get too tired.
Exam quick tips – on the day
So, you have revised and prepared for the big day. Don’t worry if you feel a little nervous – that’s only natural. Follow a few more simple tips to stay relaxed and get the best possible exam results. Try to:
- stay calm and take deep, even breaths
- read the exam paper completely before you start
- plan your time
- move on to the next question if you get stuck
- read the questions carefully and make sure you answer each one properly
- sip fresh water throughout the exam
- check each answer, particularly if you finish early.
For essay questions, remember to structure your answers with a beginning, middle and end. The beginning introduces the essay, the middle explores the topic in more detail and should make up around 75 per cent of the overall word count, and the end concludes or summarises your essay.