Top Tips on Tackling Exams - Part 4

In zir’s final look into effective revision, our magnificent student rep and GTA Ej looks into optimum environments to get the best out of revision.

No ratings yet. Log in to rate.
  1. Ensure you have your own study space where disruption is removed as much as possible. This is most likely to include turning your phone off until you are on a break (Mytutor, 2021).
  2. Sleep is really important for memory and learning. Sleep helps to recharge and energise the brain.
  3. Keep talking to family and friends to help with any anxiety or stress levels (Mytutor, 2021). Remember wellbeing services at the university, they are there to support you! If you can talk to others about what you are revising and they understand what you are saying then you have effectively articulated your concepts/theories/research which aids memory (Mytutor, 2021).
  4. Make full use of the peripheral environment. Display reminders, mind-maps, important quotes, positive statements that will encourage you to keep motivated (Outsidethebox, 2021).
  5. Address the question before you start your revision: What is in it for me? Intrinsic motivation is very important. At the start of each AM and PM revision session, write down a long-term goal and how this revision will help to achieve it. This will help with your motivation to learn (outsidethebox, 2021).
  6. Use colour and images in your revision – this will help to stimulate the brain which helps focus attention and memory.
  7. If you must listen to music, then ensure you are listening to music that is most effective for learning. Baroque music mimics the natural heart beat at around 50-70 beats per minute is optimal for attention, memory and alertness. Focus@Will (2021) states that unfamiliar or instrumental music can maximise concentration. They also suggest not to listen to your ‘party playlist’ as this creates distraction as it will associate memories with friends and experiences and thus makes you less focussed on the revision. Listen to music with no lyrics, make a playlist that lasts 25 mins and ensure you keep the volume low (should be seen as background music, not a rave) (, 2021). Dr Emma Gray suggests classical music (or Jazz/ambient instrumental music) with 60-70 beats per minute. Personally, when I was an undergraduate, I would listen to Vanessa Mae album ‘Storm’ which has a great upbeat tempo! (, 2021).
  8. Brain cells need stimulation and natural light is best. Based upon 21,000 students and one school year, students exposed to more sunlight during their school day displayed 26% higher reading outcomes and 20% higher math outcomes than students in less sunny classrooms, concluding that natural light aids learning. If you only have artificial light then blue-enriched bulbs can improve cognitive performance (Uncapher, 2016).

What tips can you give? Please write your Tips on the Facebook page Essex SU Exam Mode Community.


Focus@Will (2021) Personalised Focus Music to Help You Get Stuff Done When You’re Stressed or Under Pressure. Available here.  Accessed: 26/4/2021.

Mytutor (2021) How to create a revision-friendly environment at home. Available here. Accessed: 23/4/2021.

Outsidethebox (2021) Outside the box learning resources. Available at: Accessed: 23/4/2021. (2021) Songs to Study to. Available here.  Accessed: 23/4/2021.

Uncaphen, M. (2016) The Science of Effective Learning Spaces: A neuroscientist explains how factors such as light and seating arrangements can affect students’ cognitive performance. Available here. Accessed: 23/4/2021.


No comments have been made. Please log in to comment.