Eleanor’s Exam Tips

Christmas is over, New years has long gone, and we are already one month into 2017. During January, Manchester can be a tense time to be a student. Exam season looms over everyone, the Library is packed with hundreds of frantically revising students and to top it off, the weather is absolutely rubbish (but Manchester has never been famous for it’s sunny days anyway).

Understandably, everyone can get a little stressed over exam season; I can say that I have gotten quite nervous about exams in the past. Now I’m a graduate and a seasoned exam veteran, so here are some exam tips that I have picked up along the way.

1. DO – try new revision methods. Uni exams can be a lot different to school exams: there isn’t always a strict syllabus, the content is more in-depth, and a life sciences is filled with weird theories and names you have to remember. Everyone’s memory is different and the trusty revision methods you might have always followed at school, might no longer be as good. Don’t be scared of trying new revision methods, whether that be flashcards, mind-maps, colour coding, typed notes, written notes – you name it, and I’ve tried it. Find a method that works for you and it can make a huge difference in the amount you remember.

2. DO – make a revision plan, so you know what to revise on each day. Revision plans can be super useful  when in true student style it is very easy to forget what day it is or what you revised yesterday. It also makes it a lot more difficult to ignore that genetics revision you’ve been avoiding.

3. DO – talk things over with course mates. Revising on your own may not always be the best tactic. If you can’t quite get to grips with an aspect of the course, or you need help trying to figure out a problem, try to put a study group together with course-mates. The uni has loads of group study rooms you can book, and a team effort might just help you to work things out. Plus, let’s be honest, it might do you good to get out of your room.


4. DON’T – try to compare yourself to others. It can be easy to get panicky if you see someone Instagram a stack load of notes, or tweet that they have done 10 hours of straight revision, but you might just not work like that. It is important to remember that everyone handles exams differently, have faith in what you are doing.

5. DON’T – neglect yourself. This is probably my most important tip on the list. Remember that you still need to sleep, eat, drink plenty of water and procrastinate. If you are feeling stressed, the Library run exam support workshops to help with your worries, and the student union holds loads of events over the exam period to help you relax, including yoga, meditation and craft corners. Exams can seem like the most important thing in the world but your health comes first, and although it can be tempting to eat super noodles every day, a balanced meal will definitely improve your concentration.

These tips served me well and stopped me from burning my lecture notes in a fit of frustration more than once ( I don’t get genetics modules).

After exams, it is always good to let your hair down before terms starts again, and as usual, Manchester throws a post-exam celebration like no other. There are loads of post-exam nights out to choose from but by far the biggest is Pangaea, a huge themed night held at the student union. It is a massive venue, there are loads of sets to choose from and everyone pretty much always gets fully committed to the fancy dress theme – this year it’s ‘The Land Before Time’!

Good luck with your exams!



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