Preparing for Exams – Revision Tips and Self-Care

Written by Head Student Makara M.

As Years 11 and 13 approach the final few weeks ahead of the examination season, we can expect to start feeling stressed and anxious about what lies ahead.  Whilst many students may already feel prepared for their exams and are comfortable revising, some may still feel uncertain about how to begin revising or even how to revise. At this stage, it is vital to be able to cope with exam stress in order to prepare for exams and the future after leaving school.  However, it is only possible to effectively cope if you are comfortable revising, and able to understand how best you can deal with your own stress.

It is often the case that people are unable to start revising as they don’t understand how to go about it. Here are some of the most common revision techniques to get started:

  • Using flashcards to self-quiz on information
  • Creating mind-maps or knowledge organisers from memory, then adding any forgotten information in a different colour
  • Completing past exam papers
  • Consolidating knowledge by re-writing summarised lesson notes
  • Familiarising yourself with mark schemes and question structures in order to effectively answer questions

Revision techniques cannot simply be taught, though, as they are individualistic.  What works for some may not work for others. The most effective way to revise is to work out how best you learn information, whether it is by repeatedly self-quizzing or by applying your knowledge, and then to focus on the areas you struggle most with.

As well as knowing how to revise, it is important to understand how to cope with exam stress and worries. It may be tempting to develop unhealthy routines, such as staying up late to revise the night before an exam, but it is vital to look after your physical and mental health in order to not only feel less anxious, but to actually retain the information you have learned! Here are some important tips to help minimise exam stress:

  • Keep a regular sleep schedule, so that you are able to focus and retain information
  • Eat balanced meals to keep energy and focus (especially on the day of an exam)
  • Drink water to stay hydrated and to prevent feeling unwell (headaches are commonly linked to exam stress)
  • Keep your revision notes and resources organised so that you can easily find what you need and minimise any unnecessary worries
  • Prioritise downtime as well as revision in order to maintain a balance for your mental health. Activities like regular exercise or seeing friends and family may be most effective for minimising stress and giving yourself a mental break.

If you are feeling overly worried or anxious about exams, make sure to speak about it with someone you trust, such as friends/family/Form Tutor/teachers and remember that it is perfectly fine to feel stressed at this point in the year.

To everyone who is sitting exams in the next few months, good luck! Make sure to keep a balance of working hard but also looking after your mental and physical health.

Below are some helpful links for any advice or support:

Tips on preparing for exams – NHS (

Preparing for exams (

Exam Stress | How To Deal with Exam Stress | YoungMinds

Coping with exam pressure – a guide for students – GOV.UK (

Information for 11-18 year olds – Exam stress – Mind

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