How to annihilate an essay exam

Tricky essay-based exams can be blown away with these simple revision tips

I remember my tutor saying "You have to marshal your troops, arrange them correctly, then send them over the top, all guns blaring!" Totally right. You have to revise and revise so that with every rewrite of your notes, the same information gets condensed into fewer and fewer words. A single word in your head can trigger a cascade of knowledge. For example, being able to recall the term "18th Century encloser", during a history exam, could start your brain rattling off lists of useful dates, data and facts. If you need to learn groups of facts put them on post-it notes on door frames, light switches, in the loo - and don't leave the room before you've recited the facts!

Next, reread the exam questions from the last three years and look for patterns. If you have to write three essays, try to prepare five questions for the exam. Be prepared by thinking about the questions that are likely to come up. You can use your notes to create a mind map, with different colours and shapes to represent different concepts - for example 'relationships' in Hamlet for an English literature exam, or 'Factors which triggered the Great Schism of 1054' for a theology exam. Memorising these colourful, pictorial mind maps before an exam can help to relieve stress, with the reassurance that you have an essay plan lodged in your brain!

You're now tooled up, your troops are ready and in position. Walk into that exam room with the confidence of a general! ⭐⭐⭐

Published on 16-May-2016

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