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RMIT University Library - Learning Lab



Exams can be very stressful. Many students find them difficult. This tutorial will give you some useful techniques to improve your performance in exams.

Exam management strategies

There are two parts to managing exams:

  • regular revision throughout the year
  • exam techniques.

By planning ahead - from the beginning of the year or semester - you can maximise the effectiveness of your study and revision time.

Regular revision

What is revision?

Revision is going over material you already know and understand.  Revision should not be desperately trying to learn something for the first time in the week before the exam. If you have reviewed your learning through the semester and studied consistently, you will be in a much better position to do well in the exams.

When should I start revising?

Revision begins in the first week of the semester.  Topics are presented logically and sequentially so you need to build on your knowledge and understanding throughout the semester.

Use a semester planner (PDF 5.0MB)

Examples of regular revision are:

  • reading of required texts
  • revising after each lecture
  • summarising your notes
  • developing a weekly study timetable
  • establishing regular study habits.

Time management

Independent study

As a tertiary student a large part of your learning happens outside lectures, tutorials and classes. Below is the amount of time you should be spending on independent study for each course/subject, each week.

  • If you are a TAFE student: One hour for every face-to-face hour.
  • If you are an HE student: 8-12 hours on each course each week.
  • If you are a PG student: 14 hours on each course each week.

What is meant by independent study?

Independent study activities include:

  • doing the required reading before lectures
  • reviewing lecture notes at the end of each week
  • summarising the key points
  • reading recommended texts and more widely.

It is vital you learn to manage your time effectively. Use the following time management strategies to improve your study and revision.

  • Create study and revision timetables.
  • Set specific goals for each study hour.
  • Take small regular breaks.
  • Vary your study activities and topics.