Studying for Exams: 10 Tips for the last 10 Days before Exams

Jennifer Buttner


May 27, 2013

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The exams are getting close so any study you do now is way more valuable than anything you’ve done in the last few months. Luke Saunders, current teacher and founder of has 10 things you should be doing in the last 10 days when studying for exams.

#1. Get organized

The night before the exam is not the time to be sorting out piles of notes. Get a folder for each subject and get rid of anything that is not relevant to the actual exam. Try and plan exactly what you will revise the night before the exam. Without wasting too much time, try summarising your notes onto single sheets covering just the main points to trigger your memory.

#2. Create a revision timetable

For most 3rd and 6th years school is now finished. This means you need to reorganize how you plan your study schedule. Try to draw up a plan for the last week before the exams. Ideally you will scan every topic one last time.

Try to avoid staying up late into the night as you’ll change your sleep cycle so that you’ll feel very groggy come the actual exams. Try and stay in the same rhythm as school by getting up early and try to avoid studying after 10pm. You can print out a study timetable here

#3 Study smarter

Rather than sitting for hours on end reading passively, try to study in sets of three 40 minute bursts with each 40 mins being devoted to a particular subject or topic. Make sure to take a good break preferably with exercise between each 2 hour session.

#4. Practice past exam questions

By now hopefully you will have covered almost all topics so now it’s time to test yourself by doing real past exam questions. Research shows that if you study with a question in mind rather than just scanning a topic you will be more likely to remember it. studyclix is built to help you do this as quickly and as easily as possible. Upgrading to a PLUS account can prove a wise investment.

#5. Learn what you don’t know

It’s an obvious thing to say but often students fall into the trap of endlessly reading over and over the same notes. This is fine but in the last week, it’s all about filling in the gaps. Doing exam questions will show you what things you still don’t know. Go and learn them!

#6. Get your mock paper out

One of the best things you can do is to review your mock paper. Look carefully at where you lost marks. If you haven’t learned where you went wrong or found the gaps in your knowledge then it’s likely that you’ll make the same mistakes again in the real exam.

#7. Know the layout of the paper

Make sure you’re familiar with how the paper will be structured. Many students waste lots of time in the exam figuring out what questions they should be doing.

#8. Eat, drink and exercise

Never study hungry, now’s not the time to diet. Your brain needs a constant supply of glucose to work for you. This doesn’t mean stock up on sugary sweets. Slow release carbohydrates such as cereals in the morning are good brain food. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of non-caffeinated drinks and take lots of short breaks. Doing exercise when you’re feeling drained will actually leave you feeling energized.

#9. Do some group work

When you have spent hours on end studying alone, group study sessions can be a great way of testing your knowledge and seeing what you need to work on. Go through an exam paper and take turns explaining to each other how you would answer any question. It’s amazing how much more you will remember when you’ve explained it to someone. Just be careful to stay focussed.

#10. Look after yourself

For most Irish people, doing the junior and leaving cert exams will be the most traumatic thing they ever do. It can also be an exhausting time. It’s really important to try and keep some level of perspective and normality in your life. If stress levels are getting a bit much for you, the best thing you can do is to talk to others. Chat to fellow classmates, friends or family, or even discuss your feelings on the studyclix discuss forum.

More information can be found at

Related : 5 Tips to Help Your Teenager Survive Exams and Help reduce Junior/Leaving Cert exam stress. Also see 10 Dos and 10 Don’ts of Exam Technique

Do you have any tips for parents of teens who are embarking on exams?  Share them with us in the comments below.

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