Advice for studying and exams at university

Amber shares her advice around studying effectively in a post-Covid world and the importance of taking care of your mental health and wellbeing during the process.


Hello! My name is Amber and I am a recent graduate from university. I first started university in 2021, as the world was slowly going back to normal and coming out of the Covid bubble of panic. This was an unnerving time already as I was beginning the next biggest chapter of my life, with the added worry of how to return to ‘norm’ I was even more anxious to start this new journey.

Looking back at this time I was rather lucky to have the support and experience that i did considering how chaotic the time has been coming out of Covid.

This brings me to my first tip.

Tip 1

Making use of all the resources you have! As a student in my first year I hardly ever stepped foot in the library, I thought it would not help me one bit. Especially with Covid the library seemed like the most ineffective place to sit and study. I thought that the library would simply just be a place with old computers and books that I'd never look at.

However, as I got into my second year and especially my final year I found my second home in the library. Not only did it act as a brilliant quiet place to study that was very clean and hygienic but it also allowed me to access things such as printing and ebooks. The books that I thought I'd never look at became frequently used as I was able to use these books without worrying about paying an insane amount. I was able to access printing at an incredibly low price if I wanted to print resources for my dissertation in bulk or even for free if it was only a sheet or two with a journal that I wanted to scribble all over.

Not only was the building itself and the resources an amazing aid but the staff were also so helpful. They were able to assist in finding resources for assignments and for helping access the facilities. I would definitely recommend checking out your school library if you haven’t already!

Tip 2

Not only were these resources useful over the full academic year but they were definitely helpful during exam season. Getting back into the flow of exams after Covid was something I struggled with a lot. Especially as during Covid I had experienced teacher assessed grades so getting back into exams after a year of not doing them was a scary process. However, after talking about these worries with my lecturers they assured me that there was plenty of support surrounding exams.

There were revision groups organised that I attended and the lecturers made themselves available for 1:1 meetings if these were required. Make sure to ask your lecturers for meetings if you need them and to look at past or example exam questions provided. Coming out of Covid I was used to having lecturers recorded which helped with revision, however this is not typical in a pre-covid university environment so maybe ask your lecturer for extra resources they may have such as access to specific journals or articles for further understanding of the topic. During Covid having the exam paper released before the actual exam date was a ‘norm’ and suddenly going back into an environment where this wasn't the case was a little scary.

An additional support during this time was using the resources provided by my university for ensuring I was using an effective revision method. As I have struggled with what revision method works best for me since high school, being able to use the resources to see which methods work best for certain individuals was certainly helpful. I learnt that I benefit more from revising by writing things over and over which I see help me in exams. By using the resources available you will help yourself in being more prepared!

A key tip for myself was to make sure I prepped my resources for exam revision as soon as I got given the potential topics and when I got the practice exam questions I made sure to prep potential answers as often these questions relate to the typical exam questions.

Whilst exam season can be stressful and a chaotic time there is something you can do to make it one hundred times easier for yourself and that is making sure you take time for yourself

Tip 3

My final piece of advice that is the most important is to ensure you are taking care of yourself throughout the whole university journey. Coming into university after being through Covid can be a scary thing and it can be overwhelming at times, whilst there’s been a few years to adjust things are still altering and ever-changing so it is essential to make sure you are as close to 100% as possible!

You can do this by managing your time so you don’t become too stressed when deadlines approach, also make use of the university's social events. This can be gatherings at the student bar or even joining societies. I made use of planners and calendars to make sure I knew when things were due for and when my classes were so I could plan and get organised the day before. I also went to some quiz nights that the university was running during exam seasons and around holiday times when deadlines approached fast so these events acted as a needed relief as well as helping build relationships with my peers.

After a few weeks and some experimenting with different techniques i found ways to make university work for me, I was able to develop my revision techniques and found ways to balance my assignment and social life. Whilst it took some time it made my experience at uni a more fulfilling one.

So enjoy your time at university as it only happens once! Don’t be afraid to try different things and find what works for you!

Page last reviewed: June 2024