Flat lay of a laptop, notebooks, pens and other study materials.

11 exam study tips

1. Give yourself enough time to study.

I know it can be difficult to find the time to squeeze in exam study amongst quizzes and final essays. But last-minute cramming won’t help you retain much information and is more likely to stress you out!

2. Create a study plan.

Creating a study timetable or planner can be very helpful to keep things in order. That way you can dedicate time to each subject and ensure you’re ticking every subject area off the list. Schedule in some relaxation time to keep yourself sane. Be realistic: 8 hours of study each day might not work out. Check out our blog on how to study effectively. You’ll thank yourself later.

3. Organise your study materials.

Compile all those notes, whether they’re scrawled on paper or somewhere on your laptop. Figure out if there are any holes in the notes you’ve made so far. Check whether you have all the handouts or materials provided by the lecturer on Moodle. While you’re on Moodle, see if the lecturer has prepared any exam tips or given other exam guidance.

If you’ve got an open-book exam (or prefer prepping with paper), print out anything you need. If you’ve got an open-book exam, use a strategic amount of sticky-notes to mark out the important pages in your textbook/s.

4. Practice past exams!

Past exams are an excellent way to practice your exam technique. Since you’ve already checked Moodle, you’ll know if the lecturer has indicated whether the exam format will be the same as previous years. You’ll get a good idea of the type of questions being asked by reviewing past exams. Once you have a feel for what’s expected, you can even try to answer them within a set time. See past exams here.

5. Explain your answers to others.

By talking aloud, you can help cement your knowledge. You might like to explain to your housemates, parents, partner or kids why you answered a tutorial or past exam question in a certain way. Maybe they never needed to know the elements required for contract formation, but they’ll sure know after you explain it to them. And it’ll stick in your brain too.

6. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

No one ever said study was easy. As we always say, there is no shame in asking for help. You might ask for help around exam time from your lecturers, family members, friends and other UNE support services.

Can someone else at home cook dinner for a few nights? A quick conversation with your lecturer might answer some burning questions. Here at Advocacy & Welfare, we’re always available for a chat. If you’re really stressed and overwhelmed, you might like to use UNE’s free counselling service.

7. Manage your inner-voice.

The way you talk to yourself can have a big impact on how you act and feel. Exams can present a lot of stress. This can negatively impact the way you talk to yourself. Take a moment to evaluate how you’re talking to yourself. Is it very negative? Try to reframe the tone. Replace the doom and gloom with a little bit of realism. Maybe even shoot for optimism.

For example, thoughts like ‘I am going to fail’ can be replaced with ‘I have prepared for this exam’. Get rid of black and white thinking. Telling yourself that you must get an HD will just increase your stress levels. Try instead thinking that ‘No matter my grade, I will have learned something’. And remember that no matter what, there is support available.

Counselling has created a number of tip sheets to help you through your studies, so check those out.

8. Consider new ways of revising.

You might know the best way of revising for your learning style. However, there might be study prep techniques you’ve never known about before. Mind maps, flash cards or wall posters might be the key to memorising key information.

Have you ever tried putting equations on the back of the toilet door? You’ll see them multiple times a day, that’s for sure.

9. Eat nutritious snacks and drink plenty of water.

Your brain will work better when it’s getting some vitamins and minerals. Carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes and hummus anyone? Fresh fruit and nuts are a great choice too. And of course, water. If you’re not a fan of water, try adding some lemon, lime or orange slices. In the least, herbal tea can be hydrating and relaxing.

10. Double and triple-check your exam details.

Check myUNE multiple times to check your exam date, time and location. If you’re doing an online exam, check back into ProctorU to see your exam details. This is not something you want to get wrong! Misreading your exam details is not a reason for a special exam.

11. Investigate the possibility of an online exam.

Not all units offer online exams, however they can be a great option to investigate. This will mean you can sit your exam at home on your computer. Convenient, hey?

There are some tech requirements though. The Try Out Exam feature will help you to know ahead of time whether an online exam is possible for you. For all the FAQs on online exams, see here.


If you’re having trouble with your studies, get in touch. We can help you navigate the bumps in the road. We are completely free, independent and confidential. If we cannot directly assist you, we can put you in touch with UNE support services that best suit your circumstances.

We can be contacted at advocacy@une.edu.au or on (02) 6773 3116. If you’re on campus, feel free to visit our office in the Arcade, to the north of Café Life.


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