A Student’s Guide To Avoiding Common Exam Mistakes

Manavi Agarwal

Last Updated: October 13, 2023
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Imagine this: it’s exam day, your brain’s a rollercoaster, and your textbook might as well be written in ancient hebrew. You’ve got the notes, you’ve guzzled down caffeine like it’s your lifeline, and you’re ready to tackle that test… or so you think. But wait! Have you ever felt that sneaky tingle of panic crawling up your spine? Fear not, because we’re about to dive into the world of exam survival. Think of it as your secret map, your treasure trove of wisdom, and your ultimate guide to dodging those notorious exam blunders. Get ready to level up your exam game and conquer that test with the flair of a true exam ninja!


Mistake #1: Procrastination Purgatory

We all know the lure of procrastination. It’s like that cosy blanket of avoidance that wraps around you, promising to keep your responsibilities at bay. But beware, it’s a trap! Procrastination keeps you from effective exam planning. Instead, try this:

  • Set Small Goals: Setting small goals is your secret weapon against procrastination. Imagine you have a massive research paper due in a month. Instead of viewing it as an insurmountable task, break it down into smaller, more digestible tasks. Dedicate one day to research, another to outlining, and so on. Suddenly, that daunting paper becomes a series of manageable steps, and it’s much easier to get started.
  • Time Blocking: Time blocking is another technique to beat procrastination. Allocate specific time slots for studying, just like you would for a doctor’s appointment or a movie night with friends. When you treat your study sessions with the same level of commitment, procrastination becomes less appealing.
  • Rewards System: Don’t forget the rewards system! It’s like dangling a carrot in front of yourself. Promise yourself a small treat or a mini-break after completing a task. It’s amazing how motivating a piece of chocolate or a quick YouTube video can be when it’s your reward for getting things done.

Mistake #2: Ignoring The Power Of Planning

Planning out your study

Remember the age-old saying, “Failing to plan is planning to fail”? Well, it holds true for exams too. Flying by the seat of your pants might work in some cases, but not when you’re facing a daunting exam.

  • Create a Study Schedule: Creating a study schedule is a pivotal planning tool. It’s like plotting your course before setting sail. Outline a detailed plan well in advance of your exam date. Consider your daily commitments, and allocate specific time slots for studying. Factor in breaks to rest your brain and maintain your sanity.
  • Prioritise Material: Prioritisation is another crucial aspect of planning. Not all topics are created equal. Some are fundamental, while others are supplementary. Identify the core concepts and dedicate more time and effort to mastering them. Don’t get bogged down in the details when there are bigger academic mountains to climb.
  • Use Study Aids: Utilise study aids to enhance your planning. Tools like flashcards, mind maps, or dedicated study apps can transform your study sessions from mundane to engaging. They help you visualise complex information and reinforce your learning, making your planning efforts more effective.

Mistake #3: Information Overload

In the age of the internet, it’s easy to fall into the trap of collecting more information than you can handle. Beware of the “just one more article” syndrome!

  • Quality Over Quantity: It’s better to have a deep understanding of a few topics than a superficial grasp of many. Choose your study materials wisely.
  • Stay Organised: Keep your notes and study materials well-organised. Use folders, binders, or digital tools to prevent chaos.
  • Teaching Others: One of the best ways to consolidate your knowledge is by teaching someone else. Grab a friend or family member and explain the subject matter to them.

Mistake #4: Isolation Island

Studying alone can sometimes feel like you’re stranded on a deserted island with only your textbooks for company. Don’t let isolation hold you back!

  • Study Groups: Study groups are your ticket off Isolation Island. Join or form study groups with your classmates. Collaborative learning can be a game-changer. Discussing and debating topics with peers can offer fresh perspectives and insights you might have missed on your own.
  • Peer Teaching: Peer teaching is another powerful technique to escape isolation. When you explain a concept to someone else, you’re essentially reinforcing your understanding of it. It forces you to clarify your thoughts and address any gaps in your knowledge. Plus, your friends will appreciate the help, and it’s a fantastic way to strengthen your bonds.
  • Use Online Resources: Don’t forget to tap into online resources. There are countless forums, academic communities, and virtual study sessions available on the internet. You’re not alone on this educational journey. Connecting with like-minded individuals online can provide a sense of community and support, even if you can’t meet in person.

Mistake #5: Neglecting Self-Care

Your brain is a muscle, and like any other muscle, it needs proper care to perform at its best. Neglecting self-care can lead to burnout and hinder your exam preparation.

  • Sleep: Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night. Sleep is when your brain consolidates what you’ve learned.
  • Healthy Diet: Fuel your brain with a balanced diet rich in nutrients. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and nuts are particularly good for brain health.
  • Exercise: Regular physical activity not only keeps your body fit but also boosts cognitive function.
  • Mental Breaks: Take short breaks during your study sessions to recharge. Stretch, meditate, or simply go for a walk.

Mentoria’s Guide To Smart Study Planning


As we wrap up this academic adventure, remember that exams are just one part of your educational journey. By avoiding common student mistakes and implementing effective study strategies, you’re not only setting yourself up to ace your exams but also for a lifetime of learning. 

If you’re looking for personalised guidance to excel in your exams, Mentoria is your trusted partner. Our experienced mentors can assist you in creating a tailored study plan, optimising your study techniques, and providing support to boost your confidence. With Mentoria, you’ll have access to the tools and resources you need to make your study journey efficient and effective.