Preparing for Exams

Preparing for Exams

Preparing for Exams

Preparing for your exams

Preparing for exams is something that happens at the end of every year. Even though we know that it is going to happen, this preparation is often pushed to one side or even put on the long finger and it can appear to sneak up on us.

There is a wealth of information available to you about exams and how to prepare for them. Here, in the Skills Centre, we have pulled together some practical advice for you as you settle into your home study and revision routine.

Study Approaches

When starting your first semester, keep in mind that you need to have good study habits to support your learning journey for that module. Having a strong study strategy will help you prepare for your exam at the end of the course. (see below for more information)

When approaching revision, you should always begin by looking to identify and use study techniques that suit you. Recognise past successes and build upon them.

To do this, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What has/has not worked for you in the past? 
  • Which is the most successful method you have used to retain information before?
  • Could you combine a few techniques (that you know work for you) to create your personal success strategy?

Along with active study, you need to get organised!

Create a space where you can study that meets your needs. Our avatars will show you how you can introduce active learning to your routine in UCC's Top Tips for student learning

One of the most important things is time management. It is important that you set up some sort of routine and remember that each task you complete, as well as each concept you learn, adds to your preparation for the exams.

First, schedule your time, working backwards from when the exam is scheduled to today. Don’t forget to schedule rest and fun as well! Our avatars will show you some helpful study tips in The ASPIRE Checklist: Study Strategies

Next, get exam organised:

  • Know what topics will be examined and when the exams for your modules will take place
  • Identify the materials you need to study for each module
  • Gather all materials and place them together; colour coding for different modules/topics often helps to organise your material more effectively

Remember, note-taking is important. Here are a few things to watch out for:

  • Take good notes; keep them engaging and easy to navigate
  • While studying:
    • Create condensed summaries of each of the main concepts with references
    • Utilise the Cornell note-taking method (Note-taking for Lectures Online PDF)
    • Remember, understanding key-concepts, how they are connected with each other, and the wider field of study, is more important than just being able to reproduce them
    • Take good notes on the content and go back over any areas you are unsure of
    • Should more questions arise, contact your lecturer via email or Canvas and ask them to clarify
    • Our avatars will show you the best methods for note-taking in The 6 R's of Note-Taking

NOTE: Past Exam Papers are available on the Boole Library Website. They may give you an indication of the subject and style of questions that could be asked. You should check with your examiner to ascertain their relevance to this years exam. 

For more guidance, you can download our handout on Preparing for your exams 

Finally, if you want to connect with someone to help you create a study plan, please get in touch with the Skills Centre at or through any of our social media channels.

If you are registered with the Disability Support Service (DSS), please ensure that:

  • Your Module Coordinator is aware of the exam accommodations you require
  • You have downloaded and tested any additional software you will be using for your online exams
  • Contact the DSS at for any additional queries

Visit The Success Zone for more information and learning materials.

Day of Exam Preparation

When you are 24 hours to the exam, make sure you have the Exam Prep checklist completed to ensure you have everything you need for the exam itself.

  • Check time and venue of exam
  • Remind yourself of exam structure
  • Pack bag, pens, student ID, water etc
  • Choose comfortable clothes
  • Get a good night’s sleep
  • Take deep breath's

Academic Integrity and Exams

Exam related videos from the 'Gimme Two Minutes' series!

The Skills Centre 'Gimme Two Minutes' video series, available for viewing on YouTube, focuses on very basic concepts related to the academic writing and preparation skills, delivered by the University College Cork Skills Centre in a short and visual format. These videos can be used as self-learning tools and give you a taste of what sessions and workshops the Skills Centre offers to UCC students.

Useful videos from the 'Minute Methods' video series

This series is brought to you by the Skills Centre Avatars Joey, Millie, Steve and Eunice. The avatars have spent time with the Skills Centre tutors to create short snappy videos that will help you to develop good study habits and academic writing etiquette, all in just one minute.  

Skills Centre

Q -1 (Q minus 1), Boole Library,