Ace your exams - our top five tips

Aby D Blog Team


In the weeks leading up to exams, students around the world are busy studying and trying to figure out the best way to ace their tests. Although everyone has their own method of studying, there are a few general tips that can help everyone do well on their exams. In this article, we will share our five top tips for acing your exams.

Preparation: get organized

Are you feeling overwhelmed and stressed? Do you feel like you cannot get ahead because there is just too much to do? Do you feel like you are constantly playing catch up? If so, it might be time to get organized. Getting organized is not a one-time event, it is a process that needs to be done on a regular basis. It is important to find a time and a place to study. Personal preference means it could be a quiet place, or it could be a noisy cafe. Find wherever works for you! Set realistic goals. When you focus on breaking up your study into achievable goals, you will achieve more in the long run.

Getting organized is key to getting prepared for exams. Do you have a study schedule? If you do not, it is best to set one up and stick to it. Studying on a regular basis helps cement ideas in your long-term memory. Make a study schedule and stick to it, even if it means skipping social events. This will help you focus on your studies and avoid distractions. 

Practice makes perfect: do practice questions

If you are not using practice exams to study, you are only disadvantaging yourself. Many colleges and universities offer free practice tests online or in the library. However, your lecturer or subject co-ordinator may release sample exam questions or past papers via page for your subject in the LMS (learning management system). You can also create your own practice questions by turning topics into questions - start by choosing questions from your textbook (if you have one) then brainstorm your own.

The best way to get the most out of practice papers is by taking them under exam conditions. That means taking them in a quiet environment, with no distractions and ideally with a stopwatch. When you are done, take notes on how you did on each question and then compare those results to the performance of past students, if you have that information available to you. 

Reading: develop a proficient reading strategy

Many students ask the question, "How can I improve my reading skills?" The answer: practice. But there are also some specific things that you can do to help develop a proficient reading strategy. One of those is to read aloud. Reading aloud helps you to better understand what you are reading because when you speak the words, they become more concrete. In addition, it is a wonderful way to focus and improve your reading comprehension.

Another helpful technique is to preview the text before you start reading it. This will give you an idea of what the passage is about and how it is organized. It will also help you to identify any difficult words or phrases so that you can focus on them while you are reading.

If you have not already, consider taking our Critical Reading module to learn how to read more effectively.

Memory: experiment with your mind

There are many different techniques that you can use to help you memorise and recall information.
  • You can try rhymes, songs, drawings, or acronyms that can help you recall information.
  • You could write a little story with your notes. It might sound strange but writing a story that connects the key concepts of what you are studying can make it easier to remember the key details as well as make it fun!

  • Record yourself! Try turning your study notes into a podcast - the process will be interesting and will help clarify things in your mind.
  • If you cannot remember the details of a topic, using flashcards will help jog your memory. Create your own flashcards or choose an app to create your own electronic versions. The most effective way to use them is to create them as questions, then put the answer on the reverse. Test yourself or get a study partner to test you.

There are so many possibilities, and the key is finding the techniques that work for you.

Test taking strategies: manage your time and stay calm

Learning takes a lot out of you. Being able to focus is important for understanding new information and concepts. When you get a good night's sleep, you feel fresh and attentive the next day. Moreover, you should be positive about your studies. Your attitude makes all the difference in tackling your work - go in with the right mindset and aim for the best outcome.

In an exam situation, it is paramount that you manage your time effectively and stay calm. Go in there with a 'game plan', knowing what you need to do and how much time you have available to do it. Sometimes, this might mean taking the exam in reverse. Alternatively, it might mean that you need to do a certain type of question first, then return to a more complex question. However, you work, you must follow the instructions on the exam paper and ensure you have enough time at the end to proofread your work.


Do you study with intent? Like a basketballer taking the same shots repeatedly, or a musician practicing their scales, you can build your memory recall up by deliberately practicing. In this blog post we have looked at some tips to help you ace your exams. But there's so much more you can do - and it starts with knowing how to research, write and prepare papers effectively. Let us help you achieve your academic goals.

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