Skip to content

Preparing for your exams: Top 10 study tips

Helping you achieve exam success!

Young international student wearing a blue and pink flanno and studying on a bench at university
Young international student wearing a blue and pink flanno and studying on a bench at university

The end of semester can be a busy and stressful time, particularly if you have exams to sit. Follow these 10 study tips to learn how to prepare for an exam and the best way to achieve exam success as an international student in Australia.

Before you start preparing for an exam, consider your study style and what works for you. How do you study best? Are you a morning person or a night owl? Plan to study at the time of day that’s most productive for you.

You might consider whether you would benefit from taking multiple short breaks or working in big chunks with longer breaks in between. Also, think about whether you study best alone or with a study group, then set up your study schedule to suit.

Before you start revising, make sure you know exactly what you’re expected to understand for the exam

If you’re unsure about this, reach out to your teachers and ask.

Knowing what will be on the exam will help you prepare effectively and avoid wasting time revising content you don’t need to know. Doing this will also give you the chance to ask your teachers any other questions you might have.

One of the best ways to study for an exam is to plan thoroughly. If there are any practise exams available, make sure you have access to these. Look over your notes and textbooks and break the information into manageable chunks.

It’s a great idea to use a calendar to organise your study periods between now and your exam. For example, if there are 10 main topics, you could aim to revise several topics per day, then spend a day doing a practise exam and reviewing the answers.

Make sure you begin your revision early so you can make time for rest days as well as revision days.

Make sure to use all of the resources available to you during exam time. Your education provider will have study support services and international student services. Connecting with these will provide you with extra support during exam time.

International male student with a shaved head wearing a grey hoodie and blue shirt

Family and friends are another excellent source of assistance. While they can’t sit the exam for you, they can provide you with social connection and support to help you get through the study period.

Taking breaks is key to maintaining productivity and keeping healthy. Spend your breaks doing things that are good for your health, like nourishing your body with plenty of water and healthy foods.

You could also try some exercise, such as yoga, boxing, cycling or jogging. Even if you’re a beginner to exercise, you can find plenty of fitness tips to get you started.

Exercise is great for study because it can loosen tight muscles, alleviate stress and anxiety, flood your body and brain with oxygen, improve your mood and help keep you awake and alert.

Memory is incredibly important for exams, as you’ll need to remember all of your learnings. The good news is there are exercises you can do to improve your memory, which can help you to boost your brain power and succeed in your exams.

While you’re studying, it’s important to nourish your body and mind. Make sure you’re eating three full meals a day, with a nice mix of protein, whole grains and fats, as well as plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. 

If you’re hungry, you might find it hard to concentrate, so make sure you always have healthy snacks on hand. What you eat can have a significant impact on your wellbeing, and certain foods can even help lift your mood, improve concentration and provide energy.

Particularly during busy and stressful times, it’s important to look after your mental health. If you’re struggling, make sure you reach out to friends and family.

Professional help, such as seeing a therapist, counsellor or psychologist, can also be useful, and there are plenty of free mental health programs you can access.

Smartphones make it easy to engage with social media anytime, anywhere, however, it’s an easy way to waste time without even noticing. Also, social media can have a negative impact on your mental wellbeing. It’s best to limit your use of social media during exam time.

Study and coffee go hand-in-hand, right? Not necessarily! If you load up on caffeine during the day to stay alert you might find it difficult to sleep at night, which can lead to drinking even more coffee the next day and not getting enough proper rest. Getting enough sleep will be much better for your study than endless cups of coffee.