Preparing for exams

Things you can do throughout your year to prepare for exams

The most significant study adjustment I’ve had to make since moving to the UK is how I prepare for exams. Exams in my first undergraduate degree in Canada were a completely different endeavour; they were worth significantly less and we had very limited time to revise. Out here, end of year exams can be worth 75-100% of your grade (depending on your particular course) and you are likely to have more than a month to prepare. It’s a hard test of endurance and discipline, but entirely doable! To help prepare for this change, I’ve created a list of things you can do right from the beginning of the year.


Create flash cards throughout the year

This is something that I started doing and then gave up on early in the year, but I wish I had continued. Our professors highly recommend it for classes that are case or definition heavy (for me it was contract law – I created around 200 flash cards for cases alone). You can handwrite the old-school way or there are many websites and apps where you can keep them online. Extra points if you take some time each week to review them.

Stay up to date with your tutorial work – trust me

You want to be using your exam period for revision, not learning new content. It’s really easy to get behind on tutorial work when things come up in your life, but putting in a little extra effort to read the material, take notes, attend tutorials, and then have a summary of the content will be a gift when you start studying. It will cut down your revision time substantially and simultaneously on your stress.


Keep your notes organised and in one place (ie. OneNote, Evernote)

It’s so important to have all your notes prepared when it comes time to revise for exams. You’ll waste valuable time if you’re collecting hand written notes, PowerPoint slides, and Word documents and searching for continuity in your learning. If you have notes in several places, things will inevitably get lost. Whatever is your preferred method of notetaking, make sure that it’s organised and cohesive. My preference is Microsoft OneNote as it can house all your documents, PowerPoint slides, and academic articles in one place. It’s also searchable across an entire notebook, so you can find your definitions and case names quickly. If you’re not using OneNote already, I would highly recommend brushing up on your skills with YouTube videos.

Make a study group

My tutorial group became very close friends over the course of the year, which I realise is somewhat unusual. It was extremely helpful however when it came to sharing notes and brainstorming essays together. We relied greatly upon the study group after classes ended and we started revising – we met in nice coffee shops across London and practiced answering exam questions and quizzing each other. It was wildly helpful, helping keep us all calm in the chaos and ensuring we were keeping up with the work. If you start working together throughout the semester you will have good comradery and a system in place before you face exams.

iStock_68846113_LARGE group of students social studying

Preparing for exams has been hard work, but there are so many things you can do throughout the year to make the study period easier on yourself. If you would like to find out more about studying in the UK, please contact one of our Advisors.