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12 of the Biggest Mistakes Students Make When Revising

12 of the Biggest Mistakes Students Make When Revising

If you’re struggling with passing your exams, it’s not you, it’s your revision strategy! In this article we share with you 12 of the biggest mistakes students make when they’re studying for their exams. Do you find yourself doing any of these?

Written by Lysette Offley

Would it surprise you to know that there is only one difference between people who pass professional exams easily and people who struggle?

And don’t you go thinking that it’s all about intelligence! It’s not.

It’s all about having an effective revision strategy. People who pass Financial Services exams easily have a good revision strategy that works for them. So perhaps it wouldn’t come as a great surprise then to know that you could also pass your exams easily if you also had a good revision strategy that works for you.

If you are having trouble remembering the information you’ve studied then maybe you are falling into some of the traps mentioned below.


1. Expecting to find a short cut

Learning new material is hard work. And you’re the one who’s got to do it. You can be efficient and cut down the amount of time you spend, but there’s no cheating on actually doing the work.

2. Leaving your revision until the last minute

Part of the memory consolidation process means you’re highly unlikely to retain much, if anything, if you leave it all to the last minute. You might even scrape a pass, but the information will be lost – to you, and to your clients. Why waste your time and energy then?

3. Taking the same exam over and over, and failing each time

I know of a chap who failed the same exam 9 times! 9 times! Imagine the cost – of the exam fees, travel, time lost at work, to his stress levels… Why put yourself through that, when there’s an easier and extremely reliable way to pass exams easily?

4. Writing too much information in your revision notes

No one’s brain is built to cope with more than up to 7 bits of information in one go. So don’t make it difficult for yourself by designing revision notes that cram too much information on the page. Better you spread that information across multiple sheets. Really! Try it and see!

5. Not scheduling study time

Come on! You know what happens to good intentions when you don’t make space for them in your diary. Do I need to say any more?

6. Spending too long revising

We’re all much better at learning small chunks of information in short bursts of time, so take lots of short breaks, and check you still know what you’ve learned before going on to the next bit.

Are you guilty of any of these 12 BIG revision mistakes? Click To Tweet


7. Not focusing on what’s important to you

You need to be really clear and to remind yourself regularly why passing these exams is important to you, to stay motivated, focused and on task. What will passing them mean to you? Your business? Your family?

8. Having a disorganised environment and mind

Numerous studies have shown that a well-organised, clean, bright and tidy environment produces the best results in people who work there. Make life easy for yourself and avoid creating stress. The better organised you are, the more you’ll be able to find what you need in your office, and the more you’ll be able to retrieve what you’ve stored in your mind! You know what they say: Tidy space, tidy mind!

9. Being thirsty

Stay well-hydrated. Only 3% dehydration makes your brain 20% less efficient. When you start feeling thirsty, you’ve already become dehydrated, so keep taking sips of water, thirsty or not.

10. Being sedentary

10-40 minute bursts of activity immediately boosts concentration and focus – probably because of increased blood flow in the brain. Who could blame us for racing round the block for 20 minutes before an exam?

11. Eating junk food

Rubbish in, rubbish out. Few people would say no to improving their brain function. Especially in light of the degrading effects that ageing can have on our brains, many of us would like to improve and sustain our memory, comprehension and our ability to solve problems.

12. Believing you can’t do any better

If you believe you can or you can’t – you’re right! Seriously! It’s not you, it’s what you do that gets you the results you’re getting. Change what you do and you’ll change your results.


If you recognise yourself in this list at least you will realise that it’s your revision strategy that’s at fault, and not something wrong with you. Change your strategy and your results will change too.

Many people look for additional learning resources, only when they’ve failed the same exam 5 times and more. You can probably imagine their relief when they begin passing their exams with pass marks of 80% and more. Same people – new revision strategy.

If they can do it, so can you.