Exam essentials: Studying for success

This article was first published on 10 May 2019

Essential study tips

We all know we have to study hard and revise to get good grades, but what is the best way to study?

Here are our top three tips for successful studying:

  • Create effective study notes. They should be simple and concise

  • Add context to what you have learnt by some extra reading or using an additional resource

  • Ask critical questions (when, where, why and how something happened)

Jack and Derin give their top tips on the best way to study

Creating effective notes

A key part of studying and revising is being able to take effective notes. Here's what you need to do:

  • Set a regular time where you create revision notes by picking out key information from your lesson notes

  • Key information can include keywords, dates or names that you need to know

  • Use bullet points, as these are easier to read and to remember

  • Write on flashcards

  • Use different colours and symbols to separate different sections

  • Use a highlighter to highlight keywords and information

If you do this as you go through the academic year, it will make revision a lot easier when exam time comes.

Understanding the wider context

One trick to help you remember information is to understand the events around what you need to know. This is called context. A little extra reading or watching can go a long way.

Ask yourself:

  • Can you watch a dramatised version of a book you are studying?

  • Are there any relevant BBC Bitesize guides you can look at?

  • Are there any relevant podcasts you can listen to?

Asking critical questions

Critical questions are the how, why, where, when questions.

They can help you take a step back and give you a deeper insight and understanding into the topic you are learning.

For example:

  • Why did Van Gogh paint sunflowers?

  • What were his influences?

  • Why did Lady Macbeth behave as she did?

  • What were her motivations?

Asking questions like these can bring the content you are learning to life and help you form your own opinions, which you may be asked for in an exam.

Revision: how to stay motivated
Exam essentials: Inside an examiner’s mind
Exam essentials: Managing your time