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Catherine McAuley College: Exam Preparation

Welcome to your digital library

Quick Read

Exam Tips

Before the Exam

Focus on one exam at a time. Prioritise which subject / topics to revise first, ensure you are covering them all at different times. 

Know how you best study. Do you study best in a quiet place? With soothing music? Can you remember points better by writing them down?

Collect all your notes together. Check that you have all the required handouts and notes. Organise the information you have collected and determine how to best remember the points you need to. 

Set up a study group with like-minded people. Even if you think you understand it all, listening to other people's questions and explaining points to them helps cement the information in your mind too. Study groups are very valuable - if people all stay on task!

Get a good night's sleep. Your brain requires a minimum 6 hours to function properly try to get your full 8 hours sleep before your exam. 

Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated keeps you feeling better and more alert.

Practice Past Papers. This will help you know how the exam will be structured and what to expect. Break down the exam according to time slots and how much each question is worth. How much time will you allocate to each section?  


During the Exam

Keep your cool. Be calm and confident. 

Use your reading time. Read the questions very carefully and then scan the entire paper again. Think about where you will start and how much time you will allocate to each section. 

Break the question down. What are the key parts? What are you being asked to do? Underline key words. 

Further Advice Revision Tips (very good)

Palgrave Exam Tips

Mind Tools - Memory Techniques and Time Management

La Trobe University Time Management Advice 

La Trobe University Exam Revision Strategies

Manchester University Revision Strategies

Nottingham University: Handbook for ‘Revision and Examination Advice’ and Revision and Examinations Guides


BBC Article Findings:


  • Elaborative interrogation - being able to explain a point or fact - MODERATE
  • Self-explanation - how a problem was solved - MODERATE
  • Summarising - writing summaries of texts - LOW
  • Highlighting/underlining LOW
  • Keyword mnemonics - choosing a word to associate with information - LOW
  • Imagery - forming mental pictures while reading or listening - LOW
  • Re-reading LOW
  • Practice testing - Self-testing to check knowledge - especially using flash cards - HIGH
  • Distributed practice -spreading out study over time - HIGH
  • Interleaved practice -switching between different kinds of problems - MODERATE

Bored of Studies - Tips from students

How to I Best Revise for Exams?

Everyone learns differently, here are some ideas that might work for you:

    • Powerful video .... well worth watching!
      • Distraction is the greatest enemy of memory.
      • There are tricks to memory - Memory Palaces 
      • We remember when we pay attention, we remember when we are deeply engaged, we remember when we can make meaning from information and make it make sense with everything else we know.
      • We need to process deeply.

  • Create a page of summary notes – condense the information down to keywords, images, colours, arrows, tables and concept maps. Examples.

  • Use palm cards for definitions and create a question / answer side to test yourself or have someone test you.

  • Devise an acronym to remember. 

  • Use an online program to test yourself:

There is also an app for memrise.

    • Create an account 
    • Once you have logged in, select the 'create' button at the top.
    • Have your questions and answers ready.
    • See the example here.
    • The program re-organises your questions and answers to test your understanding. 

  • Practice exam questions 

Before a Presentation or Performance

If you suffer from stage fright or panic attacks ... maybe knowing the science of your brain behind it might help...

Memory Tricks

Below is a list of ways to help you remember information:

  • Create an acronym - Take the first letter of the words you need to remember and make a sentence from them.
    •  The biological taxonomy (Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species): Kings Play Cards OFat Green Stools
    • The music scale (Every Good Boy Deserves Fruit)
    • To remember the colors of the rainbow (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet), try this man's name: ROY G. BIV
  • Use palm cards to memorise key definitions and examples. Have someone test you.
  • Associations