10 killer exam tips from GIFS lecturers

There’s advice, and then there’s advice from the pros! With exams often being stressful, we asked our GIFS academic stars to share their tips on how to take the Eish! out of Exams…

Cramming the night before an exam is never a good idea. You’re way too stressed and there’s way too much learning material to cover. It’s never too early – or too late – to develop good study habits. The sooner you get into a good study groove, the easier everything will be and the greater your chances of scoring good marks. Here are our top 10 tips for studying effectively…

Choose a place and time that works for you

  • You may prefer to study in silence or with little distraction. Maybe background noise helps you concentrate, or maybe you’re able to remember things better if you study late at night or very early in the morning. You may need to experiment to find out what’s best for you and once you figure it out, stick to it.
  • Your study space must make you feel happy and inspired! Put up a picture that brings you joy, burn incense or a candle if you like the smell, play soft music – decorate your study area with whatever makes you happy and relaxed as this will help you study better.


Get organised

  • Your study environment should be free of distractions. Yes, that includes your cellphone. Keep it in your bag or in another room to resist the temptation of logging on, scrolling, liking, commenting, posting and posing! Switch off the TV and turn down or turn off the radio.
  • Make sure you have everything you need before you sit down to study –pens, pencils and colour pens (if you need them), paper, and water to keep hydrated.
  • Your study area shouldn’t be too hot or too cold, and you must have sufficient light.
  • Draw up a study plan, giving yourself enough time to thoroughly go through each section/chapter/module – then stick to it.
  • Get your hands on past year papers to test yourself.


Plan your time

Make the most of your study time:

  • Set an alarm to remind you to study. Reminders also help keep your plans on track.
  • Use a wall planner to mark important dates, like exams and assignment due dates. Use it to block out your regular study timetable too.
  • Make to-do lists to break down tasks into manageable chunks so you don’t feel overwhelmed. You’ll also be clear about what you need to be doing with your time.



If you’re finding it hard to find time to study, it’s helpful to prioritise. Do you really need to hang out with your friends so often or will they understand that you’ve got exams on the way? Do you really need to spend two hours trawling social media or can this wait until after you study? Do you really need to watch that TV show right now or can it wait for later? Remember, you’re not completely giving these up. You’re simply making small sacrifices to reap rewards that will benefit you later!


What’s your learning style?

We all have a way of learning that works best for us. Which one of the following are you?

  • Auditory learner: you learn by listening. Try reading your notes aloud or discussing them with others. You may like recording key points and playing them back.
  • Visual learner: you learn by seeing. Using colours in your notes and draw diagrams of key points may be useful for you.
  • Tactile/kinesthetic learner: you learn by doing. Try techniques such as role-playing or building models to revise key points.


Make your own study guides

Summarising your work in a way that allows you to understand the material is magic for retaining knowledge! Remember, you learn with all your senses, and the more that you use your senses, the quicker you learn. Write it out in a table, a diagram or a Mind Map. Read your work. Say it to yourself out loud. Repeat it often.


Ask for help

If you’re struggling to understand something or you’re not quite sure if you’ve grasped the concept correctly, the GIFS team is always available to help. All you need to do is ask!


Work constantly

Studying should be an ongoing process. This prevents last-minute cramming (which really does you no good at all). GIFS experts believe that if you study a little bit every day, you’ll always be going over things in your mind. Revision makes you well-prepared which means you will be less nervous and stressed when it is time to write the exams.


Keep your eye on your end-goal

It’s normal to feel demotivated sometimes. When this happens, remember why you’re putting in all this hard work. What are you working towards? How will achieving that goal make you feel? How will it improve your life and those of your loved ones?


Take care of yourself

A healthy mind needs nurturing. Remember to eat well, get enough sleep, drink lots of water to keep hydrated, exercise and cut back on sugar and caffeine.

25 May 2021