- How can I prepare my students for their exams?
- Preparing for exams: long-term strategies
- Preparing for exams: short-term strategies
- Preparing for exams: share the load
Preparing for exams can be a challenging process for your students. Whether they’re prepping for mock exams or have 11 Plus, GCSE, or A-Level exams coming up – they will no doubt be looking to you and asking, ‘how do you prepare and study to feel confident for your final exams?’.
That is where we come in. Read on as we outline why preparing for exams is so important and share our top tips for teachers preparing students for exams. There are plenty of ways to prepare for examinations, but it will be down to you to work with your students to find the ones that suit them best.
Let’s take an in-depth look at the best examination tips for students and discuss how to prepare them for exams so they can walk in feeling cool, calm and confident. 👍
How can I prepare my students for their exams?
One of the best ways to ensure that your students reach their potential in their exams is to ensure they understand the importance of revision. It may seem obvious to seasoned teachers and tutors, but for some students, the idea of spending hours re-looking at old information can seem like a royal waste of time. It’s up to you to change their mind.
Remind them that an exam is an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and ability but that it can feel pretty scary when sitting in formal test conditions with no access to notes and a fixed time to complete the paper. Therefore, prep is everything! 🤓
It's not uncommon for students to feel fear might take over and maybe even get in the way of their recall. This is the last thing you want for your students. Reassure them that taking the time to prepare will hugely reduce the chance of this happening to them and share plenty of tips for exam preparation.
For students in the UK, whether they feel it is outdated or not, exams dominate much of their schooling. Students quickly become aware that exams are essential to getting to the next stage of their education. So, knowing how to prepare for A-level exams – and everything that comes before them – is an invaluable skill.
Some of your students may experience increased fear, anxiety and stress levels around exam time. Still, you can support them by sharing a variety of revision strategies and arming them with the best examination preparation tips ahead of time. 🚀
Preparing for exams: long-term strategies
The list of exam preparation methods is endless. Some teachers and educators prefer a more traditional approach (listen, make notes, write, cover, recite, repeat!), while others take a more alternative approach (chanting ideas and pacing around the room).
Whatever your teaching style, it's important to share a variety of revision strategies with your students to work with the ones that best suit their individual learning styles.
At GoStudent, we prefer a straightforward, replicable and researched approach using methods similar to those found in Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction.
These principles encourage students to have a strong background knowledge that is readily accessible and can be easily applied and connected to other knowledge. Our working memory is limited, so forming and building this type of knowledge – a process which should be done in school and when preparing for exams in advance – is very important in the long term. 🧠
Let’s take a look at some examples of those long-term exam preparation strategies to share with your students:
Get your students used to the idea of regular review sessions. Ideally, these should be in short intervals, like every day or every week, and then with more extended periods in-between, practicing monthly or every few months. Remind them not to leave things to the last minute! 👀
Start where you left off
Invite your students to begin every revision session with a quick recap of previous knowledge or learning before moving on. This reminder and spaced repetition will allow them to make connections, not lose prior learning and move on with a clear motivation. 📒
Set yourself questions
Once your students have gained and understood knowledge, ask and answer regular questions in class – start with the least and then move up to the most challenging – in the same intervals as above. This will again strengthen long-term memory – a bit like muscle memory in sport – and could even help when stress arises on the big day.❓
Research shows that over 30 percent of all students find revision flashcards incredibly effective. Revision flashcards serve as great revision tools because they divide important information into small, easily-digestible bites. Your students can also add elements like colours, shapes and numbers to revision flashcards – doing this allows the brain to learn through pictorial and associative memory instead of just rote learning. 📚
Preparing for exams: short-term strategies
No matter how hard you try, some students will inevitably leave preparing for their exams a little too late. We all know it’s tough to do well on exams when you don’t have a secure, embedded, long-term memory of knowledge, but we can still encourage students to make the most of the time they have left.
Here are our best last-minute tips for when your students are relying on that ‘night before’ cramming session:
Tell your students to ditch the coloured revision cards and complete short, bitesize quizzes in the short-term lead-up to exams. Research shows that students who complete daily or weekly quizzes achieve higher in exams than those who don’t. 🙋
Refer to past papers
Suggest that they complete a timed past or practice paper question with or without notes. Sitting down and reading through the textbook probably won’t help as there won’t be enough time to consolidate. So, having a go at some questions will allow them to familiarise themselves with the exam process and potentially reduce fears about going blank in the real thing. ⏳
Focus on food and sleep
When all else fails at the final hour, ensure that your students get healthy meals and a good night’s sleep in the lead-up to their exam. Staying fully hydrated will also give their brain cells the energy they need to function at maximum capacity. Advise them to avoid having too much caffeine from tea, coffee, fizzy drinks and energy tablets. 🥘
Preparing for exams: share the load
Preparing for your exams can be a lonely time. Although you and your students' parents will be supporting their revision and preparation efforts, much of their revision will be completed at home in the evenings, over the weekends and during half terms and revision periods.
Let’s look at how you can encourage your students to alleviate some of that pressure and pool resources.
Your students' classmates and friends are going through the same process, revising the same subjects and feeling the same things – so encourage them to reach out to one another to share the load. Help them organise shared revision sessions, share notes and test each other. 👫
Reach out to your students' parents – supporting their children is their full-time job. They will want to see them do the best that they can. They will be able to help at home with advice, food, rest and reassurance. Make sure parents are aware if you have any concerns about your students during exam time. 🧑🏫
If your student is struggling with a particular subject or module, why not suggest that they ask for some extra support from an online tutor? They can tailor lessons to students’ specific needs and help them see a subject differently. Students can easily book a free session with one of our GoStudent tutors to see if that might work for them. 💯
Other online resources
The internet holds some of the answers! Many helpful revision websites can help your students practice exam-style questions and learn the best tips and tricks to excel eventually, including BBC Bitesize, Get Revising and Quizlet. 🧑💻
It's important to remind them that they are not alone. There are plenty of people around them and resources available to turn to and rely on – including dedicated GoStudent revision tutors!
Other revision strategies to consider
Encourage your students to check out these other exam tips and implement the tried and tested revision strategies below before an examination to boost their performance. Experimenting with various techniques is the only way to find the one that works best for them!
- Improving critical thinking skills
- Revise with spaced repetition
- Try out the Feynman Technique
- Create mind maps
- Take a look at our top seven revision strategies
- Know the exam inside out
Have you considered becoming a GoStudent tutor? Some of the many benefits include working remotely, managing your schedule, and receiving personal support from our in-house tutoring team. Moreover, we connect you with the students, so you don’t need to advertise. Sound good?! Register with us today. 🧑🏫