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Tips for acing your exams

by Minoas Vitalis
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Most students dread exams, but with a little preparation and planning, they can be a breeze. Here are 20 tips to help you ace your exams:

  1. Make a study schedule and stick to it:

This is the most important thing you can do to prepare for your exams. Decide which subjects you need to focus on and how much time you’re going to spend studying each day. Then, make sure you stick to your schedule because cramming the night before an exam is never a good idea. Start studying early and create a schedule that you can stick to. This will help you retain information better and minimise stress.

  1. Get enough sleep:

You might be tempted to pull all-nighters to study for your exams, but this is actually counterproductive. Sleep is essential for memory and concentration, so make sure you get enough of it before your exams. Aim for at least 8 hours of sleep each night in the week leading up to your exams.

  1. Eat healthy:

What you eat also affects your concentration and energy levels. So, make sure you’re eating healthy foods that will help you stay focused during your exams. Avoid sugary snacks and drinks as they will only give you a quick energy boost followed by an inevitable crash. Instead, focus on complex carbohydrates like whole grains and fruits as well as protein-rich foods like nuts and lean meats.

  1. Take breaks:

It’s important to take breaks when you’re studying for exams so that you don’t get burnt out. Get up and move around every 20 minutes or so to keep your body and mind fresh. You can also use your break time to grab a healthy snack or drink to re-energize yourself.

  1. Create a positive study environment:

Your study environment can have a big impact on how well you focus and retain information. So, make sure you create a space that is conducive to learning. Find a quiet spot away from distractions like TVs and phones, and make sure your workspace is well-lit and organised.

  1. Get rid of distractions:

When you’re studying, it’s important to eliminate all distractions so you can focus on the task at hand. So, put away your phone, turn off the TV, and close any tabs on your computer that aren’t related to your studies. If you need some background noise to concentrate, try listening to calming music or white noise.

  1. Take practice quizzes:

One of the best ways to prepare for exams is to take practice quizzes. This will help you identify any areas where you need more review and familiarise yourself with the format of the exam. There are many online resources that offer practice quizzes, or you can ask your teacher for a practice exam.

  1. Make a study guide:

Another helpful study tool is a study guide. This is a list of all the topics you need to review for your exams, which you can use as a reference when you’re studying. Your teacher may provide a study guide, or you can create your own by organising your notes from class.

  1. Organise your notes:

It’s also important to organise your notes so you can easily find what you need when you’re studying. One way to do this is to create separate folders or binders for each subject. Then, within each folder, organise your notes by topic. This will make it easier to find what you’re looking for when you’re trying to study.

  1. Practice active listening:

Active listening is a key skill for success in school and on exams. When you’re in class, make sure you’re paying attention and taking notes on the important points. This will help you better understand the material and remember what you need to know for your exams.

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions:

If you don’t understand something, don’t be afraid to ask your teacher for clarification. It’s better to ask questions now so you can fully understand the material before your exams.

  1. Review regularly:

Cramming the night before an exam is not effective and will only lead to stress. Instead, review the material on a regular basis throughout the semester. This will help you better retain the information and feel more prepared when it comes time for your exams.

  1. Manage your time:

Time management is crucial when taking exams. Make sure you give yourself enough time to answer all of the questions, but don’t spend too much time on any one question. If you’re struggling with a question, move on and come back to it if you have time.

  1. Take practice exams:

In addition to taking practice quizzes, it’s also helpful to take practice exams. This will give you a better idea of what to expect on the real exam and help you identify any areas where you need more review. There are many online resources that offer practice exams, or you can ask your teacher for a practice exam.

  1. Get plenty of rest:

Make sure you get plenty of rest the night before your exam so you’re well-rested and ready to focus. Avoid pulling all-nighters, as this will only lead to fatigue and won’t do anything to improve your grades.

  1. Eat breakfast:

It’s important to fuel your body with healthy foods so you can think clearly and do your best on exams. So, make sure you eat a nutritious breakfast on the day of your exam.

  1. Take breaks:

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed, take a break from studying. Go for a walk, listen to music, or do something else to relax. This will help you clear your head so you can go back to studying refreshed and focused.

  1. Stay positive:

It’s important to maintain a positive attitude throughout the exam process. Believe in yourself and know that you can do it!

  1. Reward yourself:

After you’ve taken your exams, treat yourself to something you enjoy. This will help you relax and give you something to look forward to after all of your hard work.

  1. Learn from your mistakes:

If you don’t do as well as you hoped on an exam, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, use it as a learning opportunity and focus on what you can do better next time. Remember, everyone makes mistakes and everyone has room for improvement.


Exams can be stressful, but there are many things you can do to prepare and increase your chances of success. By studying regularly, staying organised, and practising active listening, you can set yourself up for success on exams. And, don’t forget to take care of yourself both physically and mentally during the exam process. Eat healthy foods, get enough rest, and take breaks when needed. Most importantly, believe in yourself and know that you can do it!

Minoas graduated with a Merit upon studying the full-time MPA Public Administration – International Development degree (MPA-ID) at the University of York. He is currently working as a freelance EU affairs consultant in Belgium.
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