Professional Learning

Effective Time Management Techniques for Students to Ace Exams

Effective Time Management Techniques for Students to Ace Exams

With exams approaching, effective time management is crucial for students to perform at their best. While exams can be a stressful time, having a structured plan and utilizing proven time management strategies can help reduce anxiety and allow students to showcase their knowledge. 

Creating a Study Schedule

A study schedule is important for several reasons:

It helps avoid procrastination by blocking out specific times for certain activities. Students are less likely to put things off if they have allotted hours scheduled for studying. It promotes a balanced approach to help minimize stress. By scheduling adequate time for studying as well as breaks, hobbies, sleep, and meals, students can avoid burnout.

It provides structure that is essential near exams. Having set times dedicated to reviewing different subject areas keeps students organized and focused. It acts as a reminder and commitment. Referring to the schedule helps students stay on track and accomplish their goals.

When creating a study schedule, consider the following tips:

  • Block out regular class/lecture times that can’t be changed.
  • Schedule study sessions in time chunks, usually 50-90 minutes with short 10-15 minute breaks in between to maximize focus.
  • Study harder subjects when fresh and save easier topics for later in the day.
  • Include tasks like reviewing notes, practicing problems, and re-reading chapters.
  • Schedule meals, exercise, sleep, and relaxation. Most college students need 7-9 hours of sleep.
  • Leave some flexibility in case adjustments are needed. Re-evaluate the schedule regularly.
  • Use a planner, calendar, or scheduling app to keep track of commitments in one place.

Following the schedule is key. Avoid multitasking during study sessions for best retention. The schedule provides structure to help students manage their time effectively near exams.

Minimizing Distractions

While taking occasional breaks is important, too many distractions can sabotage a study session. Here are some tips:

Choose a quiet, well-lit study space like the library rather than noisy dorm rooms or cafes. Disable notifications on devices or leave them in another room to avoid unnecessary interruptions. Close extra browser tabs and apps not related to studying. Out of sight is out of mind. Study with others but avoid socializing – agree to stay focused on the task at hand.

Avoid snacking excessively which can be distracting and cause fatigue. If music helps concentration, choose instrumental playlists without lyrics. Study during times you know to be less busy, like evenings after dinner rather than right after classes. Take short breaks every 50 minutes by stretching, meditating, or doing light exercises to recharge without distractions. Creating an environment optimized for studying makes it easier to stay on track. Minimizing distractions is key for effective time management near exams.

Starting with Easier Questions

On exam day, starting with easier or more familiar questions can boost confidence from the get-go. This is an important time management strategy for a few key reasons:

  • Answering simpler questions first builds momentum which carries through to harder parts. Students feel a sense of early progress.
  • Confidence increases as right answers are marked, reducing anxiety that may occur facing challenging questions up front.
  • Early successes free up mental resources like focus and working memory for more difficult questions later on.
  • More time remains for lengthier questions at the end rather than rushing harder parts in final minutes of an exam.

When reviewing the exam, look for questions involving definitions, short answers, or topics covered early in the semester that may require less critical thinking. These make good starting points to get in a rhythm before tackling novel or complex questions. Of course, answer all questions, but save the most difficult or time-consuming for later in the exam sitting.

Practicing Quick Yet Neat Writing

The ability to write quickly during an exam is crucial for time management. However, messy handwriting can sabotage otherwise great answers. To find the right balance, students should practice writing sample responses under timed conditions. Some tips:

Use pens rather than pencils since they require less pressure on the page and allow for faster writing. Develop a legible cursive or print style during practice that maintains readability even when rushed. Condense longer responses by using abbreviations or leaving less space between lines when appropriate. Focus on the most essential details and arguments rather than including every minor point.

Leave wide margins and space questions from answers to aid readability. Practice outlining essay structures quickly yet clearly before filling in details. Set writing timers during practice to build speed gradually over sessions. With regular timed writing drills, students can feel comfortable maintaining a good pace without sacrificing clarity or thoroughness required to earn marks. This is an important exam-day time management skill.

Practicing Past Exams

Effective Time Management Techniques for Students to Ace Exams

Nothing prepares students for the real thing like practicing under similar conditions. Working through prior year’s exams within time limits builds skills for:

  • Pacing yourself appropriately across sections and questions.
  • Identifying question styles, depth of knowledge expected, and point distributions.
  • Experiencing the mental and physical stamina required.
  • Noting topics or skills that require more practice before the final exam.
  • Gauging typical question lengths and formats like multiple choice, short answer, essays.
  • Practicing active recall and self-testing without notes or aids.
  • Experiencing the exam environment and any noises/disruptions that may occur.

When practicing past exams:

  • Time yourself strictly and get comfortable with the pressure.
  • Review fully afterwards, comparing responses to solutions.
  • Seek feedback from others on your work.
  • Identify weak areas to focus remaining study time.

This realistic preparation is invaluable for managing exam time effectively. Practicing past exams is highly recommended.

Starting with an Overview

Before diving into answering questions in detail, it can help to first spend a few minutes reviewing the entire exam to get an overall picture. This allows students to:

  • Note how many questions or sections are included to gauge required pacing.
  • Identify question types like multiple choice, short answer, essays to plan approach.
  • Mentally map out where to focus more or less time based on comfort levels with topics.
  • Flag any questions that may require more time like calculations or long-form responses.
  • Notice if any sections can be answered in parallel to save time bouncing around.

Taking just 5 minutes at the start for this high-level overview can help with structuring the next 2 hours more efficiently. It provides a roadmap for what’s to come.

Using the Full Exam Period

Some students make the mistake of finishing early without fully utilizing the allotted exam time. It’s important to fill the entire period for a few key reasons:

  • Extra few minutes can be spent re-checking work for any errors or omissions.
  • Remaining time allows re-visiting tougher questions with fresh eyes.
  • Instructors may provide partial credit for complete, though potentially flawed, attempts.
  • Working right until the end signals diligence and focus that examiners appreciate.

Unless absolutely certain no improvements can be made, fill the time limit to maximize the opportunity. Set reminders to use time wisely to the very last minute.

Read More: Whetstone Education – A Leading School Management Software

Leaving With Confidence

How students feel walking out can impact their mood and focus for subsequent exams. To leave feeling confident:

  • During last 5 minutes, do a final scan of responses for clarity and completeness.
  • If extra time, consider adding short examples or definitions to essays.
  • Avoid dwelling on potential mistakes – focus on content covered well.
  • Believe in all the preparation done and ability to showcase knowledge.
  • Thank the proctor and leave promptly once time is called rather than stressing.

Feeling good about one’s performance can relieve pressure for upcoming exams. These final minutes aim to end the experience on a positive note.


Effective time management is paramount for students to perform their best on exams. By creating a study schedule, minimizing distractions, practicing active recall techniques, starting with easier questions, honing quick writing skills, utilizing full exam periods through strategic breaks, conducting prior exam reviews, and maintaining confidence – students can feel optimized for success. While exams present short-term stress, implementing proven time management strategies builds long-term skills that serve well beyond the classroom. Following the techniques discussed empowers students to showcase their knowledge and walk away from exams feeling accomplished and prepared for future assessments. With diligent preparation and focus, acing exams is well within reach.


Nayab Kiran

About Author

I'm Nayab Kiran, a seasoned WordPress developer and education content specialist. With extensive experience in crafting captivating websites, my technical expertise ensures functionality and visual appeal. Over the years, I've honed my content creation skills, contributing unique, globally recognized work. Dedicated to enhancing educational tools and trends, my passion is driving professional growth and success.

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