A student’s tips for exam success

Nadia is a second-year undergraduate student studying BSc Children’s Nursing who has been skydiving twice, and intends to go a lot more! 

Exams should officially banned

That’s my opinion. However they’re not so I’m here to give you my top tips with exam skill and revision techniques that have worked for me since starting university.  

The school to university gap

Firstly you need to understand that the transition from sixth form/college is a MASSIVE jump to university, and the revision/exam techniques that may have worked for you may not work anymore. The adjustment period may be lengthy and tiring but once you adjust to a new technique you’ll find revision for exams or assignments will be a whole load easier.  

One of the major differences I have realised from school/college to university is that cramming all the information doesn’t work as well anymore.”

It just gives me a headache. I would say try different revision techniques:

  • record yourself and watching it back
  • colour-code notes
  • make mind maps
  • re-write things
  • watch YouTube videos on your module/topic

This last one really helps me because I remember the video in the exam.

You should try new ways of learning and revising and see which one works best for you. Once you find your way, you’ll find revising that much easier. 

Get ahead

One of my first tips is to start early! And yes I actually mean start early, not think about it and procrastinate until the last minute

University life is hectic and not just with exams but with your social life and potential part-time job, but by starting early on you can spread out your workload for each exam, therefore this means you feel less stressed along the way, and A) ace your exam and B) have a less stressed more fun uni life!

Also spreading out your workload helps you to retain more information, which is a bonus in exam times. 

Get things in order

Another thing I have found from becoming a university student is prioritising. Prioritising is key!

Learning how to prioritise family, friends, and university work is the best once you can do it.

Spending time with loved ones is super important, so prioritising your time such as planning your free time, revision will help to make sure you maintain a productive work-life balance. Your grades will thank you for it. 

For me when I first became university student prioritising was hard, but once I started to prioritise things in terms of deadlines, I found that both my academic and social life thanked me for it.  

Give yourself a treat (no matter how small)

Reward yourself. Yes you read that right, reward yourself.

Revision and exams can really take a toll on your mental health, so for each thing you do regarding exams/revision treat yourself, it can be as minor as a break or a snack or anything you like, but treating yourself will help to motivate you and keep you going.  

I’ve always found that when I’ve done a lot of revision whenever I treat myself I just feel like I’ve accomplished something, which keeps me motivated to carry on.  

Nadia has shared some great tips on how to get into your exam revision mojo. For more helpful tips, our Learning Enhancement and Development team have also written about the essential academic skills you need to succeed at university.

Find out more about Nadia and her Child Nursing degree.





Talk. By talk I mean talk to friends or lecturers/tutors in your university if you’re feeling stressed about revision or just need assistance concerning exam skills. It is super important to keep well during revision and exam periods to ensure you have the best opportunity to succeed. One thing I found is that the university provides immense support if and when you need it, they provide counselling services which help you to manage your mental health and well-being alongside your academic studies, which can be super helpful, especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed.  





Be active. I know, I know, being active is not fun for everyone, but this doesn’t mean do a really hard work-out which leads you to feeling drained, I found for me exercise is a nice respite from studying, whether that be playing sports with my friends or even going for a walk. I personally find that if I do exercise it helps me sleep better at night, meaning I concentrate better and retain information better the next day. Also bonus is it has scientifically been proven that going on a walk means more oxygen which will reach the brain, meaning it will function more efficiently, so there’s that! 





There’s no perfect formula for easy revision or exam success, but the main key to work it out is how you revise and how you can stick to it the best you can. Essentially it all comes down to what you put in. Whatever you put in you should get out. J  





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