5 Useful Study Hacks to Help You Ace Your Exams - 3 min read

So, it’s exam season once again. If you’re constantly consumed by stress and anxiety, don’t sweat it! We’ve got you covered with five useful study tips and tricks from Luna, a Copenhagen Business School (CBS) student who has oftentimes found herself in a similar position. Without further ado, let’s get down to business and get you past the finish line! 

Pssst…we’ve even thrown in a few extra tips for your reading pleasure. Let’s do this! 

Tip #1: Create “Fake Exams”

According to Luna, “there are different approaches to preparing for exams. It’s important that the preparation is based upon the style of the exam. For instance, if it’s an oral exam, it’s a good idea to create a “fake exam” with your study mates. This may sound stupid, but it makes the situation seem less stressful and more familiar. My first exam at CBS was an oral exam, and I remember that we were all quite anxious about it. To accommodate increased stress and anxiety, the professor of the course held a “fake exam,” placing one of the students in front of the entire class. It made us all realize that an oral exam isn’t that frightening. The “fake exam” (which can also be a short discussion with your study mates based on the different themes), is good practice to formulate your key points orally.” 

Extra tip: Prepare for the “fake exam” once you’ve read through the syllabus. Having a bad experience can sometimes make you feel uncomfortable and less ready for the exam.

Tip # 2: Thematize Your Notes 

Luna also suggests thematizing your notes. “If you’re allowed to bring notes to your exam, I recommend preparing a document including all of your notes from your syllabus and lectures. It’s important to make a system so you can find exactly what you’re looking for during your exam. No need for more stress while you’re at it! I usually thematized my notes so there was some form of rationale to find them easily. Then, I made an overview with a short description of what the themes contained, so I could quickly find the specific content for my exam.” 

Extra tip: For some exams, you can make small, generic text at home that you can plot into your notes for use during your exam. The benefit of this is saving time, but it’s important that you don’t rely too much on generic texts due to their lack of flexibility. Sometimes it just doesn’t fit, and then it’s better to start fresh.

Tip #3: Make Flashcards 

But what about those exams where you aren’t allowed to bring notes? Luna suggests “to make sure the most relevant information sticks. I once had a course where there was an unbelievable amount of definitions. Our professor recommended making flashcards in various colors. In fact, some studies indicate that you remember things better if you write them down by hand.” 

Extra tip: Studying for an exam can sometimes become lonely, so it’s a good idea to meet up with your study mates to rehearse the flashcards together. If you’re feeling extra sassy, make it into a game, where you compete against one another. Do this by explaining the definition of the term to your partner and then have them guess the term. This makes studying on a Friday night a bit more fun.

Tip #4: Discuss Your Exam Approach With Your Classmates

Take-home written exams can vary in length and duration. Luna states, “if I have a 48- or 72-hour window, my approach is similar to the on-campus written exams I face. These exams are usually an individual product, but no one prohibits you from discussing your exam approach with your fellow students. One of my professors encouraged us to meet up when the exam was launched, discuss our approach and then go home to write our own exam. It may seem obvious, but it’s important to clear your schedule for that period. Talk to your workplace about your upcoming exam, so that you don’t have to work during that period.”

Extra tip: Make sure your fridge is fully stocked during this period so you don’t have to take unnecessary breaks. With that being said, it’s important to take breaks—just the ones you feel the need for during your exam period. You’ve probably heard this a million times, but going for a walk helps clear your mind and gives you a much needed mental break. 

Tip #5: Don’t Forget to Celebrate 

“My tutors told me at the beginning of the program that it’s important to remember to celebrate when you’re done with your exams,” states Luna. “They are definitely right! Your mind needs a break and you need to take pride in completing just one, or all of your exams.”

With these useful study tips and tricks, we’re sure you’ll pass your exams with flying colors. You’ve got this! Good luck!

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