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News from City, University of London

Six Top Tips for Exam Success

The team from City's Student Counselling and Mental Health Service offer their advice
by Sophie

Taking exams and preparing for them can be stressful. Students can feel the pressure intensely and then have difficulty producing work that reflects their knowledge and abilities. The good news is that there is plenty of support available and simply discussing the situation can make the whole process more manageable.

City University London's Student Counselling and Mental Health Service offers support for exam sessions throughout the year. They provide one-to-one meetings, group sessions and workshops to help put the problem into perspective and share ways of dealing with challenges.

Charlotte Halvorsen, Head of Student Counselling and Mental Health Service at City University London, commented: "It's important to remember that you are not an examination machine but a person who is taking exams. The best way to prepare for exams is to look after all your needs".

Here are six top tips for exam success:

  • Create three zones

It's important to have a Study zone; a Relaxation zone and a Sleep zone. Keep these areas distinct and make sure the study and sleep spaces are calm and uncluttered.

  • Revision time table

Schedule time to study, relax and sleep. Break revision periods into manageable chunks.

  • Your 'to do list'

Only include a maximum of 7 items per day. Stay focused and don't carry items over to the next day to complete.

  • Take regular breaks

For every 2 hours spent studying, you should take a break of about 20 minutes. These short breaks should be used to unwind, chat to friends, have a drink and eat a healthy snack. It's also important to take an extended break of around 3 or 4 hours each day to really 'switch off' from studying. If you feel worried or panicked, try thinking positive thoughts and practising breathing techniques - hopefully you will be more relaxed and able to focus when you start studying again.

  • Diet and exercise

Eating healthy food and drinking at regular intervals throughout the day will maintain your energy levels and concentration. Avoid too much coffee, tea or 'energy' drinks, as the caffeine can make you feel agitated and stop you sleeping. Exercising regularly will also release adrenalin, help to clear your mind and reduce stress.

  • Sleep

Maintain a regular sleep pattern. Always aim to get at least 6 hours sleep per night and try to fit in one hour of relaxation before you go to bed.

To find out about support with exams, City students can contact the Student Counselling and Mental Health Service on 020 7040 8094 or email

There are daily drop-in sessions for an initial consultation. You can also visit the Health Centre, Level 1, Drysdale Building, Northampton Square to have a look at the self-help resources.

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