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Residential Life

Study tips from Residential Assistants

By AlanaRA 12 Apr 2024

As exam season is dawning upon us, the tensions are high, and studying is about to begin. Exam season can be very daunting; with so many modules and so much to do, it can feel slightly overwhelming, especially since most of us did not do exams in secondary school (thanks Covid).

This article is full of study tips from some second and third-year residential assistants to help you with your revision this exam season.

Mia’s study tip: Making a revision schedule.

Residential assistant Mia’s biggest study tip is having a revision schedule. Having your revision structured and knowing exactly what you want to get done that day makes your workload way more approachable. Split up each day into different modules, or even different topics within each module. Having a clear view and knowing exactly where to start each day will allow you to revise a lot more effectively.

Also, remember to schedule breaks. Revising all day with no breaks is not only impossible, but unhealthy. Remember to go outside and eat regularly to ensure you do not burn out.

Alternatively, if a revision schedule is a bit too rigid for you, you could have a day-by-day tick list. This seems silly, but it can be really encouraging to tick things off the list as you go.

a close up of a tick list

Skylar’s study tip: Pomodoro method

Residential assistant Skylar recommends the Pomodoro method for revision and exam work. The Pomodoro method was created in the 1980s and is a fantastic way of revising without getting burnt out.

It involves studying for 25 minutes and then taking a break of 5 minutes. You then repeat this 4 times, which gives you 2 hours of revision. When you hit the 2-hour mark, you then take a longer break of 15-30 minutes.

This method helps with inertia because 25 minutes of work is a lot less daunting than sitting down for an infinite amount of time. It also helps when having an off day, as you can prioritise the most important things you need to cover and do that in the first few 25-minute sessions.

A 5-minute break is also the perfect amount of time for a break because it can only fit simple tasks such as making a cup of tea, a small chore, making a small snack etc. However, it is not enough time to get absorbed in your phone, which can be a real time sink. It also helps with pacing as 2 hours is a typical amount of time for an exam, and so you can properly visualise how much you can get done in that time.

There are loads of online web/app timers built for the Pomodoro method, however Skylar recommends the website “

If the pomodoro method isn’t for you, you could try the “study marathon” version which is a modified version of pomodoro. This involves starting the day with a 45-minute session, then the next session being 30 minutes, then 20 minutes and then 15 minutes. In between each session, you take a 5-minute break, and then after the 15-minute session you take a 15–30-minute break. This means the sessions get shorter as you are running out of stamina, which can be helpful for the first time using this type of revision technique.

a person sitting at a table using a laptop

Alessandra’s study tip: Sleep

Residential assistant Alessandra’s study tip is to ensure that you have a good 8-hour sleep. A great night’s sleep is not only essential for your health and wellbeing but is also a crucial factor in studying efficiently and effectively. It can be tempting to drink energy drinks to stay up at night to be “more productive”. However, without the proper amount of sleep, the work you do will not be up to your normal standard and the revision you do will not retain as well.

Having an 8-hour sleep will allow you to feel refreshed and ready for a day of work, and you will be able to study a lot better.

an eye mask

Alana’s study tips:

Tip 1: Work in different spaces
My biggest revision tip is working in different spaces throughout the day. If you are in one room all day, you will get burnt out a lot faster than moving to different spaces to revise. There are so many wonderful places to work on campus but a few of my favourites are The Ground, QM library, Canalside and QM Social. 

Tip 2: EAT
This seems obvious but when there is so much pressure and so much work to do, it can be very easy to forget to have food. Eating is so important for energy, and you will be able to revise a lot better on a full stomach. Make sure to leave time for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and have a few snacks throughout the day if you need. Even though you may not think it, you are burning a lot of energy when you study and so you need this replenished.

A fantastic way to eat during exam time is meal prepping. We have some articles on meal prepping on a budget on our website, but there are also so many online. Meal prepping makes it so much faster and easier to eat during exam time as the food shopping, cooking, and washing time is now done. This means that you are more likely to eat throughout the day, and you will be able to spend a lot more time doing work.

Also, drinking water is essential. It is so easy to only drink coffee and energy drinks throughout exam time, but water is so important for your body and your mind. Make sure you’re drinking enough water by buying a cute revision water bottle and filling it up at least 4 times a day!

Tip 3: Keep your phone away
It seems easier said than done, but ensuring your phone is out of the way will really help with your focus. Not having your phone in your sight will allow you to completely focus on the thing you’re doing and not get sucked into Tik Tok and Instagram.

Understandably, you will want to have your phone on you in public. In The Ground, QM social and the library, there are secure charging ports where you can lock your phone while it’s charging. This is such an effective way of revising because your phone is safe but out of the way so you can ensure you have complete focus on your work while in public.

While you are at home, the best way to do this is to have your phone either in another room or on charge across the room if possible. This will keep it completely out of sight and out of mind. Also, keep it on Do Not Disturb, because if you keep hearing notifications, you will be tempted to check.

a close up of a cell phone

We wish you the best of luck for your revision and exams this year!

"It always seems impossible until it's done." -Nelson Mandela
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AlanaRA Hello!! I’m Alana, and I am a second year Law student and Residential Assistant at Queen Mary. I love playing netball, writing music and travelling
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