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Exams & revision: Exam day strategies

“Knowing that you have good exam technique will help you remain level-headed enough to cope well throughout.”

Eileen Tracy, Student's Guide To Exam Success

It is important to be aware of good exam techniques for when you are actually sitting in the exam hall. This page gives you some advice and information that may help you make the most of that time.


What to bring

  • Your student card (if you can't find it, bring another photo ID).
  • Pens, pencils etc
  • Calculator (if needed and allowed).
  • Bottle of water or drink (no label)

What to leave away from your table:

  • Any notes you have been using for last-minute revision
  • Mobile phones

Top tips for in the exam hall:

  • Read the whole paper before you start (you know you should!!!)
  • Check how many marks are given for each section and allocate time accordingly.
  • If you have to write essays, make a plan first. It will actually save time in the long run.
  • If you have a choice, but cannot decide which title to write about, write a quick plan for both - you will soon see which you know more about.
  • Remember that 80% of marks are usually given in the first 50% of a long answer. It is therefore more important to start all your answers than completely finish some and miss out others.
  • If you have a brain freeze - write anything, literally anything but preferably something about the subject area in general. This will get your mind working and help you remember the information you actually need (remember to strike through any rubbish you wrote early on though!)
  • If you know you panic in exams, work out a strategy before you enter the exam hall. For instance some people wear elastic bands around their wrists and twang them whenever they feel panic rising (pain interferes with the panic signals to the brain). This won 't work for everyone but something else may work for you.
  • If you are running out of time - resort to bullet points.
  • Use your final five minutes to check your paper for obvious errors.

Dealing with stress:

There is help on campus if you know you suffer from exam stress. Health and Wellbeing here at the University of Hull gives excellent advice.