It’s heading towards that time of year again and with almost all of our staff here at Para-Sols undertaking one exam or another, I thought I’d share with you our top ten tips for exam success!

  1. Failing to plan is planning to fail! Create a study timetable and ensure you leave yourself plenty of time between the start of your study time and the exam. A good guideline is around 12 weeks. However the CII will provide you with a guideline to recommended study hours.
  2. Bite size revision periods. Studies show that the brain can only focus on a task for around 45 minutes so restrict your study time to short bursts of less than an hour with a decent break in-between. Anything you are trying to learn after the 45 minute barrier is a waste of valuable study time. Build this into your study timetable above.
  3. Study-Buddy. Find someone doing the same exam as you to swap ideas, work through some of those tough areas with and to take the exam with you. It helps to have someone understand what you’re going through.
  4. Don’t just read! Reading the study book is a good way to familiarise yourself with the content but can be difficult to digest. It helps to limit yourself to the 45 min time slot as above but it can also help to undertake different study techniques. A good example is to formulate questions out of each chapter and then ask your Study Buddy to do the same, swap them and see what you can answer and what areas you need to work on.
  5. 5.     Further Revision Tips! Familiarise yourself with the content by associating the content with your own circumstances or that of someone you know. Create your own scenarios and test the limit of your knowledge.
  6. Revision Tools. Do not concentrate wholly on the study book. Use mock exam papers and revision tools available on sites such as revisionmate.com and NMBA. Ask your colleagues who have done similar exams about their experiences and use online forums. Attend a revision course if possible.
  7. Don’t leave your revision too late but also don’t revise up to the last minute. This ties in with tip one and make sure the night before an exam you have a relaxing evening and an early night. Also leave plenty of time to get to the venue. Better to be 31 minutes early than 1 minute late. This is all about reducing your stress levels and creating the perfect mindscape for the exam.
  8. Exam sustenance! Exams are gruelling on your mind and body. You have an influx of stress hormones and your brain is working really hard. Take a drink and a piece of fruit or chocolate into the exam with you. Halfway through, take a break to revive yourself before you dive back in!
  9. Question formats! Exam questions do not have to be answered 1-10. Read the booklet first and answer those questions you feel more confident in first. This will maximise the points you gain as well as giving you more confidence to tackle the more problematic ones later. Always write a note to the examiner to explain what order you have written your questions in.
  10. Keep calm. Once the exam is done, be confident that you have done everything you could have possibly done and you’ve followed the Para-Sols top tips, so just wait for those passes to roll in!

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