ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Top Three Exam Study Tips

Updated on August 14, 2014
A girl studying
A girl studying | Source

The Lost Art of Revision

Studying for a test or exam, or 'revision' as we call it in the UK, truly is a lost art - in this fast-paced, technology-heavy world who really has time to sit down with their books and knuckle down to some good old-fashioned studying? No-one, apparently, and believe me your grades will be suffering for it.

Not to say that you can't revise using a computer - you definitely can - but just thinking you can glance over your lecture notes the night before because they're all online is not the way to go about it. Here are my top three tips for revising, or studying, smartly and effectively.

Coloured Post-It notes
Coloured Post-It notes | Source

Tip 1: Organisation

Organisation is key to any revision session, and without it you won't get very far: "fail to plan, plan to fail". Which brings me neatly onto my first sub-point...

Make A Revision Plan

Find out how much time you have left to revise. If you're reading this the night before a big test, do it in hours. If you're a good student(!) and reading it weeks ahead, do it in days. When you have your magic number, divide up your time into 'study' and 'breaks' - generally I find twenty minutes studying to a five-minute break works well, but some people can study for longer, other people for less. You'll get to know your ideal study session length the more you practice.

Colour Code

Use highlighters. Coloured felt-tips. Post-It notes. Different font colours in your word processor of choice. Choose one colour for each topic (when in doubt, go with the colour that feels 'right') and use it consistently for that topic alone. Underline key words, write in the margin things you think you'll forget, do whatever works for you. The brain works best when you continue to make that colour association, so bring the same colour pen to the exam with you (not to write with, but to provide a visual clue for your brain).

Organise Your Notes

Some time should be dedicated at the start of your revision plan to organising your notes. Make sure you have everything you need before you sit down to start studying, including all lecture notes and past exam papers. Having everything you need to hand will make you far more productive.

Buy the Key Text

Or rent it from your library if you can't afford it, which is what I tend to do. Lecturers recommend the key text for a reason - in my experience, they tend to lean on it, and any information in the text that is not in your notes will net you some extra points come the exam. Well worth knowing!

What's Your Learning Style?

See results

Tip 2: Know Your Learning Style

There are three types of learning style which you might fit into. A detailed explanation is beyond the scope of this article, but a quick Internet search will tell you everything you need to know (as well as there being lots of handy quizzes to work out which style best suits you).


Kinaesthetic learners like to learn by doing; they appreciate practicals, sports lessons, and being able to practice things with their hands. If you're a kinaesthetic learner then you'll learn best by making recordings of your notes to listen to on a run, or by coming up with practical exercises to test your knowledge. Be imaginative, and you'll have no shortage of things to be trying.


Auditory learners learn best by listening and speaking. Ask a friend to explain something to you, then explain it back to them in your own words to see how much you've understood. Talk to yourself as you write notes, so the words stick in your head. Again, be imaginative!


Visual learners like to learn by looking at things and examining problems. Colour code your notes, make spider diagrams, pin subject-related things up on your wall to look at. Again, be creative!

Mixed Learner Types

Some people have a mixed learning type, such as auditory/visual. Combine what works best for you out of each of the learning style approaches and don't be afraid to try something new.

Person taking a break
Person taking a break | Source

Tip 3: Work Hard, Play Harder

I wasn't joking when I said I take a five-minute break for every twenty minutes of studying I do. Knowing when to stop is just as vital as knowing when to push through - your brain can only absorb so much information at once, and it's better to give it a break every now and then than to carry on pushing once you know nothing more is going in.

Breaks should be three things: active, away from your desk, and enjoyable.


'Active' doesn't necessarily mean going out for a run, but exercise will help your brain to function so try taking a brisk walk around your desk, or up and down the stairs at the library. If that's not for you try doing something with your hands - moulding something out of clay or making a piece of jewellery.

Away from your desk

This goes double if you revise using a computer. Separate your space into 'work space' and 'play space', and don't cross the two: get away from your desk, your brain will thank you for it!


Don't use your break to catch up on housework (unless that's your thing, in which case go right ahead) or anything else you find particularly dull and not-engaging. There's plenty of time for that later, and they'll still be waiting for you on a rest day.

Rest Days

If you have the time between now and your exam, take rest days. It'll do you some good to get away from your books for a while; you'll function better, both after having a rest and knowing that any little odd jobs are already caught up on.

Good luck in any exams you take!


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      5 years ago


      Tnx a lot it gve me a lot of ideas. My exams are wish me luck

    • The Homely Coder profile imageAUTHOR

      Liz Felton 

      7 years ago from Essex, England

      You're so right - I maintain that the only important test I took in secondary school was my learner style questionnaire. Not that kids shouldn't study hard in secondary school, of course...!

    • Frienderal profile image


      7 years ago from Singapore

      Great tips, Liz! :) I'm more of a kinaesthetic learner with a little elements of a visual learner. Determining our learning styles is so important in helping us to revise and absorb knowledge better.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)