How To Revise Effectively For Your University Exams

Revision… The mere mention of the word may make you want to get on the first plane to Tibet so you can live out the rest of your life amongst Mountain Goats. 

Whether you like it or not, revision is so important when it comes to succeeding at university and getting a good graduate job when you enter the big wide world. 

To help those of you who run for the hills whenever exam period comes around we’ve put together a list of our top ten tips to help you to revise effectively...



Getting a timetable together is the first thing you should do when kicking off revision.

Revising without a schedule is like going to a picnic and forgetting the sandwiches.

Draw up a revision timetable and do it today!

A timetable will help you plan out what you need to revise and by when. Not only will this provide you with more structure, but it will also help you to dissect each module you need to study down into manageable chunks.

In addition, you can also mark on the timetable the days of all of your exams. This will help you keep an eye on how much time you've got until your exams, and you can then base your revision around how many days you've got left.

If you are thoughtful about how you plan out your time, you can also prioritise certain topics over others.

Alternatively there's a wide variety of apps you can use to revise effectively. 


We’ve all been there; late night study sessions in the library fuelled by a mixture of caffeine and meal deals. While it may seem like its a good idea at the time as you’re desperately trying to cram in all you can about the treatment of witches in the Middle Ages, what you’re actually doing is harming your chances at getting a top grade. 

Sleep experts (they are a thing) all agree that you need to get at least seven hours hours sleep to be on top of your game. 

If you make the foolish error of neglecting your sleeping pattern you could experience:

  • A shorter attention span
  • Chronic tiredness 
  • Difficulty solving problems
  • Trouble memorising notes 

This doesn’t mean you can should stay up revising well into the early hours of the morning. You should go to bed early and get up early to continue. 

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Another great way of staying productive is to do lots of exercise. 

You may be turning you nose up at the suggestion of wasting precious revision time getting sweaty, but experts from across the land all agree that exercise is a great way of reducing stress, increasing productivity and retaining information.

You don’t have to go the gym: anything from a short stroll through the park or going for a run once a day will do the job.

If you really want to impress your pals, you can add in time for these exercise breaks on your revision timetable.


Revising for hours on end is not productive. For every 50 minutes of revision, take a 10 minute break to have a breather and collect your thoughts. 

Taking breaks allows you to be more productive with your revision and allows your brain time to recharge and refocus.

Use this time to make a drink, go for a walk or make a tasty treat. DO NOT watch TV or YouTube, as you’ll get sucked in and end up watching 17 episodes of Friends. 


Revision is soul destroying at the best of times so it’s often hard to keep your notes and essay plans interesting. One way to do this through is to embrace your artistic skills.

Go nuts with colour (just like a 4 year old), use diagrams, pictures, mindmaps - whatever takes your fancy!

The beauty of making your notes more engaging is that it mean you’re more likely to remember them especially if you’re a visual learner.


Past papers are literally a God send when it comes to revision. The beauty of past papers is that they help you to pick out topics you struggle with and prepare for any potential questions that might crop up. It will help you turn your weaknesses into strengths. 

Past papers are great for looking over areas potential questions for topics that you aren’t too comfortable with. By doing loads of practice questions you will be able to understand what is expected of you in addition to getting a taste of the style of question that could come up.

If you’re a real clever clogs you can even use the mark schemes to get an insight on what sort of stuff the examiners are going to be looking for in the real thing.

You can usually get past papers from your lecturers fairly easily, after all they do want you to do well. If there aren’t any past papers readily available just ask.

As a wise man once said “if you don’t ask, you don’t get.”


Making copious amounts of notes is a dangerous game. Not only will you annoy eco-warriors everywhere, but you’re probably not learning much.

In the end you’ll be left with enough notes of paper to build yourself same affordable student accommodation of your own, a revision palace if you will.

One way to avoid this is to keep your notes brief. Revise a topic then summarise the main points onto a flashcard.


One solid method of learning something is to teach it to someone else. Perhaps enlisting your course mates is a good shout. If there's a module you're particularly good at and your mate isn't this is a great opportunity for you to consolidate your learning and make sure you know your stuff.

You could run through all of your summary notes with each other, practice answering past papers or test on key facts and stats.

Alternatively you could ask your parents to quiz you on your bright and colourful flashcards. You could also turn it into a family competition. RateMyPlacement – making revision fun for all of the family!


Revision is tedious and boring. That’s why you need to reward yourself as you revise.

However, this doesn’t mean take a week off revision to go to Ibiza mid-term (who even has the budget for this?).

Instead, you could take the evening off if you’ve smashed a past paper or a chocolate biscuit if you’ve made a particularly good flashcard.

Remember though: the greatest reward you can get is a cracking grade at the end of term.


Staying calm and positive is essential to securing a good grade. Lots of people get nervous before exams, it’s natural. Just remember WW3 isn’t going to start because you flunked your exams.

If you really struggle with this, try meditating… if this doesn’t work, just remember that Richard Branson struggled with exams and now he owns an island in the Caribbean.

Well done for making it to the end, now go and put these tips into practice and your exams will be plain sailing.