Exam hacks to help you study better

In case you’re not familiar with the term Life hack, it basically refers to a really creative, quirky solution to the little problems in life. And they’re almost never used by anyone. Here’s one example:

study hacks

Seems like a fun, no-mess way to make pancakes. But am I really going to clean out a gunky old ketchup (catsip?) bottle and then make pancake mix, just to pour it in there and back out again? No. That’s only ever happened once, and it was when they took this photo.

But with exams’ season coming up, lazy students all the world over are looking for any way to make themselves smarter without any extra effort. So we’ve compiled this list of exam hacks to help you. Don’t worry, it’s not cheating. We’re just reprogramming you.

20 Min Walk

student website

Before studying or sitting an exam, take a 20 minute walk. The exercise has been proven to improve brain power. Just try not to humiliate yourself in the process, for once.

Repeat Out Loud

life hacks exams

Repetition is great. Reading out loud is great (if you have an angelic voice, like I do). But to really drive a point home, you should say it out loud. And not just read out loud as you go, say it out loud and pay attention to what you say. Or have someone else pay attention, if you can find a willing participant.


study tips

Studies have proven that the more similar the place you take your exam is to the place you learnt the material, the more likely you are to remember it. The same is true of smell. If you smell a certain thing when studying and during your exam, it’ll help job your memory. So treat yourself to a special “study scent”, or “Eau d’education” if you wanna be francey about it.


obama gumSimilarly, it has been shown that chewing gum can have the same effect, as well as proving as a non-distracting distraction for when you’re studying. Although you probably cant bring gum into the exam with you, so bear that in mind.


exam hacks

Speaking of noise (kinda), lots of people have their own idea of what kind of music helps them study. For some people, it’s light classical music. For others, it’s conveniently whatever songs they like most at that time. Fact is, music doesn’t help you study. Stop saying it does, cos it doesn’t, so shut up (both your face, and the music).

Times New Roman

times new roman font The reason this is the default font on so many things is that it is the fastest font to read. We may only be talking about seconds here, but they’re precious seconds!!

Watch a Documentary

exam hacks

Depending on what you’re studying, there’s a good chance you could watch a documentary about it. This is a good way to give yourself a clearer story to follow, which will help you fill in the blanks with the notes you got from class. You can even wow your professor by using examples that s/he didn’t give in class. Just don’t use this as an excuse for a full day’s study.


have a breakThere’s a reason that classes are usually 40-50 minutes long, other than it neatly allows lectures to take place on the hour with 10 minutes of panic in between. That’s how long you should study before taking a short break (10 or 15 mins).

Download the SelfControl app

exam hacks

The SelfControl app is a free Mac app that lets you decide what websites, inboxes, online games, streaming services etc to block and for how long. There is no way to undo this block until the timer runs out, so you’ll be forced to study!

Simon Griffin