Top down image of students studying and working on laptops

December 9, 2021, by Emma

Top tips on preparing for your assessments 

Do you have an assessment coming up? In this blog, we share some of our top tips for getting organised, when and where to study, study strategies, and where to find support online.  

Getting organised

Planning helps you to get more out of your studies. Organise your study periods to break revision down into small chunks that include regular breaks. Organise your notes and materials so you can retrieve the information you need easily. 

Here are some examples of programs and methods you could try: 

Organising your time

  • Revision timetable  
  • Blocking out time in your calendar
  • Bullet journal  
  • Microsoft Planner  
  • Time management apps 

Organising your notes

  • Microsoft OneNote  
  • Microsoft OneDrive  
  • Colour-coded binders  


Student wearing a face covering whilst using a laptop

When and where to study 

Find a comfortable, well-lit place to study that is free from distraction and that you associate with working and thinking.

Consider the environments that work best for you for the type of studying you are doing, and create a study space that supports your sensesAre you working in a group or by yourself? Do you need it to be quiet or do you prefer background noise? Do you like to study to music

Do you like a window seat with a view or do you prefer less distraction? What facilities do you need nearby? Do you need access to assistive technology?

It is also worth considering the time of day that works best for you. Are you a morning person or do you work best late at night?

There is a wide range of study space available at the university:

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Study strategies

These are methods to make your study periods more active and intense, and therefore more effective. This could be by engaging your memory, or getting creative and putting concepts into your own words. They often combine different ways of learning, such as reading and writing with speaking and listening, or with visuals like drawings and concept maps. 

Join your Faculty’s Student Academic Skills Moodle for more study tips as well as webinars and resources.

Dual coding

If you are revising for in-person exams and need to revise and retain information, try making use of dual coding. This means making use of both words and visuals to help you review information when you are studying.

It doesn’t matter if you think you ‘can’t draw’, you don’t have to be a great artist! Here are a few ways you can make use of dual coding. 

  • Timelines  
  • Diagrams  
  • Mind-mapping 

Be the lecturer

Explain the material you are studying out loud to a friend or make a recording of yourself. 

Explain the big ideas and concepts in your own words and using your own analogies. Explain how to solve problems by breaking them down into their steps and explaining how each step works. 

This will test your own deeper understanding of the material, and by speaking out loud you engage auditory learning. 

Take notes from memory

Instead of taking notes as you read the material, try reading a section then summarising what you have read from memory. 

This is a more active form of studying and engages your recall, which increases your chances of retaining the information. It can also help gauge how much of a subject you are taking in. Take a look at the SQ3R guide for more on how to survey, question, read, recall and review your revision material.

Set yourself tests and quizzes

This can be a great way to check-in and test the information you’ve learned. You can do this by writing out full answers in essay form (find essay structure tips on our Moodle pages) or you can make flashcards.

Stick to one question on each card, with the answer on the other side. The more simply you present the information, the more effectively you’ll remember it. 

Pomodoro technique

The pomodoro technique is a way to organize your time while studying to maintain focus. You split your study period into four lots of 25 minutes of study, followed by a five minute break. After the four cycles you then take a longer break of at least half an hour. 

Join the Student Academic Skills team to try using this technique with Study with us online every Wednesday from 11am-1pm.

Close up of hands typing on a laptop

Find support online

There is a wide range of resources and advice available on the university’s web pages: 

Support and guidance

Study Tools

Where to find help

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