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Welcome to The University Admissions Newsletter.

Exam tips for the Easter Holiday

Published 27 days ago • 2 min read

Hi, Sunny here.

For 11 years, I have helped students build their CVs and get into some of the best universities in the UK and America such as Oxford, Stanford, and Yale. You can sign up here to receive my newsletter on CV-building activities alongside tips and insights on how to succeed in the admissions process. I am also on Twitter and Instagram. And if you want professional help with university admissions, our company website is here.

For many students, their exams are becoming startlingly real. Some start in as little as five weeks. For others, they have a little more time, but not much. I wish this were a newsletter where I could be nice and comfort students. But to do so here would be to lie. The Easter holiday period is a make-or-break situation. If time is used poorly, it can dramatically impact grade outcomes. Put simply, playtime is over. Here are my best tips to make the most out of students' remaining time.

Tip One: Specification, Specification, Specification

If there is one fundamental thing that I believe students waste time on is learning unnecessary information because they did not check their specifications. The specification for a subject lists EVERY single thing that a student needs to know. Treat it as a Bible. It can help them streamline their notes, find gaps in their knowledge and build a plan of action. I have known students who have gone as far as using the specification to make their personalised textbooks unique to how they think and write. Pair a specification with a textbook, and you can be pretty unstoppable.

Tip Two: Distributed learning- don’t cram.

Pretty much all students know that it is bad to cram. They will probably ignore anyone who tells them not to cram. I am not talking about that. Students, when creating revision plans for the holiday, tend to split time based on a per-subject basis. They might decide to have a “differentiation day” or spend the whole morning working on one specific subject. This is a bad idea because you are essentially micro-cramming. If you do this with every subject, then you will quickly forget what you put hours of work into a week before, because you have not seen it since then. Split up work into more manageable chunks and try to distribute them as evenly as possible through the holidays. This will make them far more likely to remember everything that you have learnt.

Tip Three: Share resources, not time.

Group work can be valuable. But it also can quickly descend into chaos. People can get distracted and tired, or the group might not be able to address their specific concerns. Instead of doing group work, they just try to share resources with their friends so that they can help each other. If they know someone who could help them deal with a specific dispute, recommend they reach out to them, and only them.

Tip Four: Practice.

Knowing the content inside out is great, but it means nothing if your child has no sense of exam technique. Encourage them to ask their teacher to mark essays or papers closer to the time of exams so they can get some feedback and a sense of progress. Occasionally, doing a full-blown mock is a good idea, but as mentioned in my second point, frequently testing yourself in small ways is better than ONLY testing yourself once. Frequent testing also provides a clearer picture of how examiners think.

Before signing off, one more thing I would like to mention is that students often fall into rabbit holes, focusing on revision tips. While useful at first, I doubt they would have learnt anything new by the sixth video. Your kids already have the tools they need to thrive, they just need to push themselves.

Deadline countdown (Sep '23 intake):

  • Oxbridge or UK Medicine (Sep '25) - 15 October 2024 - 202 days left.
  • USA Early Decision (Sep '25) - 01 November 2024 - 219 days left.
  • MBA and Postgraduate (Sep' 25) - 01 December 2024 - 249 days left.
  • USA Regular Decision (Sep' 25) - 01 January 2025 - 280 days left.
  • UK Undergraduate (Sep' 25) - 29 January 2023 - 308 days left.

Welcome to The University Admissions Newsletter.

My name is Sunny Jain and over the past 11 years I've been helping students get into the top universities in the UK and US.

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