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Exam Preparation

Be organised and create a timetable, planning for work, leisure and fitness. Do not neglect yourself.

5 things you need to know...

1. Know what to expect -

  • What is the format of the exam e.g. multiple-choice, essay, report, short answer, open book etc.? 
  • How many questions need answering and is there a choice? 
  • Are all questions worth the same marks?

2. Plan the exam

  • How long should you spend on each question?  
  • Allocate time according to marks given to each question.
  • Give yourself time to read through both your questions and answers during the exam

3. What areas are most likely to be examined?

  • Make a list of areas to revise using learning outcomes and lecture notes.  
  • Remember that not all topic areas are as important as others. 
  • Make sure you go to exam revision classes as you may get tips from your tutors.

4. Plan your revision time

  • Make a revision timetable for the days or weeks you have before the exams. 
  • What times of day will you revise? 
  • Which subjects will you study and when?
  • You can do a lot in a short space of time if you have clear achievable goals. 
  • Don’t spend too long revising at one sitting. 

5. Practicalities

  • Be prepared as it will reduce stress and give you more time for revision. 
  • Which room is the exam in? 
  • What time is it? 
  • How are you getting there? 
  • What do you need to take into the exam, for instance - proof of identify, student number, pens, calculators etc. 
  • What can’t you take in - phones, opaque pencil cases etc.

Need to know more ...

Southampton Solent University (n.d.) How to succeed@passing exams [online] 

Books are located in Dewey number : 371 - 378

Lshley, C. (2003) 12 steps to study success. Thomson: London

McMillan, K & Weyers, J (2011) How to succeed in exams and assessments. 2nd Ed. Harlow: Pearson Education

McIlroy, D, (2005) Exam success  [online].   SAGE study skills series: Available  [Accessed: 05 September 2017]

Sherratt, P (2013) Passing Exams for Dummies [online] Available from: [Accessed: 05 September 17]

Tamblin, L. and Ward P. (2006) The Smart Study Guide: psychological techniques for student success. Blackwell Publishing: Oxford

Search our Library catalogue using Summon


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Need more advice?

You can also discuss your development of this skill with a member of the Academic Skills Team.

Make an appointment for an online discussion or email support  by using our online booking form.

Personalising your device and using assistive tools

There are many assistive technology tools which can help you choose how you want to access material and these can really improve your productivity.

The University has made some applications available on the student PCs within the library and IT Centres; others are free for you to download and use on your own devices (phone, tablet, laptop or computer) .  Find out more on our personalising standard software guide and our assistive tools and software guide.