How To Prepare For An Exam

It is that time of year where students are starting to prepare for exams, whether it is preparation for SATs, GCSEs, A-Levels, or a Degree. Tutors know the run-up to exams can be a very overwhelming time, so reducing the amount of stress a student feels will only benefit their wellbeing and their ability to perform well in their exams. Regardless of the level of exams, there are techniques you can do in order to adequately prepare.


Primary age children will need the help of parents to properly prepare for an exam. I would suggest not letting them become overloaded. Doing small quizzes with your children each day will make retaining knowledge easier. Trying to cram too much information in before an exam can cloud the mind. This can be troublesome for children because they don’t have the experience of recognizing what is important. Making flashcards with catchy phrases is another effective method to help children to remember what they have already learned.


High school children and adults, you can take a pro-active approach to your own revision. Firstly I suggest that you do not leave revision to the week before your exam, procrastination is not your friend, cramming before an exam is not a good revision method. Do not get distracted by everything and anything, but allow yourself adequate breaks from revision. You will also have to come to terms with the fact that you are not likely to learn and retain every piece of information on a particular topic, but this is ok, you will never need to know everything in order to pass an exam.


A good place to start with revision is to download past exam papers from the previous two years from your specific exam board. This technique will give you an idea of the types of things that will be expected of you. Of course, no exam will be the same as before, but you can get a feel for what knowledge you will be expected to know about your subject, and the standard of work you will need to achieve to get a good grade.

Quiz Yourself

After reviewing past papers you can also use apps or the internet to quiz yourself. My personal favourite site is Quizlet, because you can use it for any subject you are studying and you don’t need to rely on the help of others to revise. By quizzing yourself, you will be able to see how much information you have obtained already, and it will also help you retain the knowledge in small easy to remember chunks.

Take Practice Tests

If your exam requires you to write an essay for the answer, the best way to prepare for this is to write practice essays. This techniques will give a few advantages; it will enable you to practice timing e.g. being able to write an average 800 word essay answer in an hour. It will also get your hand used to writing that quantity in that time frame, you will also develop your structuring skills. As well as these practical benefits of writing practice essays, they will also help you to retain information. If a question comes up on a topic you have wrote an essay on you are likely to remember details from it like a story.

Talk to Others

The last revision technique I would suggest if you can, is talk to other people that are also studying the same subject as you. Bounce your ideas off one another, if you talk about the topic in a more open general manner as opposed to static information, it will increase your understanding of the subject and will enable you to remember more details to recall during an exam.

Final Steps

Finally, once you have done all your revision, you should ensure that in the run up to your exam you are in a good routine of; getting enough sleep, drinking plenty of water and eating regularly so that you are well rested, have good hydration and a steady release of energy. If you follow all these steps, you will be ready for your exam, you will feel more confident in your own abilities, which should reflect in your marks because being confident will eliminate brain fog or mistakes made by nerves.

Stephanie M.

Hi, I'm Stephanie M! I am an expert tutor in basic English, Maths, and Science, as well as Psychology up to a degree level.