Published: 11 May 2018

University of Surrey study personas

We all know that exams are not the most fun part of university life, but if you want to get to the end of your studies it’s something you have to get through. Everyone has different ways of getting the job done so be prepared to witness some quirky behaviour! Do any of the following characteristics resonate with you? Find out some top tips for your particular study style.

Woman sat at laptop

The Night Owls

Do you regularly pull all-nighters? Will you do anything else (binge watch series, clean your room, kitchen and even do everyone’s washing up) except study? Some of us just function better in the early hours of the morning when there are no social disruptions and that’s okay! Don’t overdo it with the coffee, avoid surrounding yourself with a mountain of junk food and reward yourself with some sleep post exams.

Top tip for the Night Owl:

When procrastination takes over, try not to panic. Make sure you don’t become too selective with your revision; a good exam essay shows variety. Choose more than just a few sources to reference and don’t narrow your revision subjects so much that you end up stuck with a bad question to answer.

The Doomsday Preppers

Some of us have that friend who seems to drop off the face of the earth during exam season. They enter an end-of-the-world-like bunker that is filled with study material ready to fight the exam apocalypse. If you like to hide away from distractions and remain in full throttle revision mode, remember to break for snacks, stretching and toilet breaks!

Top tip for the Doomsday Prepper:

You clearly work hard and put a lot of hours in but remember not to just regurgitate everything you know when writing exam answers. Demonstrate your understanding with critical thought! Read through the marking scheme used by your department to see exactly what they look out for.

The Crammers

You are probably quite honest about the fact that you haven’t done much studying and even though the exam is in a few days you still appear laid-back. Are you being realistic about how much of the syllabus you can soak in ahead of your exam? If emergency cramming is your style, still pinpoint the subject areas you are going to focus on to give yourself some short-term goals. Remember to check where you need to go on the day, and not just with classmates - refer to the exam timetable!

Top tip for the Crammer:

If you’ve been rehearsing answers in your head before you walk in the exam room, don’t jump the gun! Take the first five to ten minutes to read through the questions properly and actually adapt the information you’ve crammed in your brain to answer the question effectively.

The Sticky Note Pros

This organised character probably has a revision timetable. Although you are absolutely ahead of the game, you’re still worrying. You’ve kept impeccable notes all year and now you are taking studying to the next level. We’ve seen you in the library, the one who must be some kind of ambassador of stationery, with the sheer amount of highlighters and sticky notes you seem to be flashing. Stay calm and work in rewards for your hard work.

Top tip for the Sticky Note Pro:

You know your stuff so be confident! Get into the specifics and avoid generalising all your research and knowledge. To push for those top marks the examiners will be looking for your opinion on the subject matter – give your own thoughts and analysis.


Remember no matter how you get there we are 100 per cent behind you. If you would like to talk to someone for advice or support, why not speak to the Centre for Wellbeing. Email: centreforwellbeing@surrey.ac.uk.


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