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Study and exam tips from Queen Mary Alumni

With exam season just around the corner, our Alumni have offered some of their wisdom on looking after yourself and performing to the best of your ability during this busy time. Make sure you check out their advice!


"Remember your lecturers set your exams therefore listen to hints throughout the lectures of how to focus your revision for the exam. Good luck!"

Mo Soltani
BSc MSc Chemistry, 2004

"In the exam, write nothing on the answer sheet for at least half an hour (for a three-hour paper): this may need courage when everyone around you is scribbling away, but it is worth it!   In that time look at all the questions and write down in rough everything that you know about each topic. Then start your definitive answers. While writing the answer to one question you are likely to think of something relevant to another question; write that down on your rough sheet. This way all your answers will be as comprehensive as possible. Best wishes!"

D Arthur Alderton
MBBS Medicine, 1961

"Exams are nerve-racking. I remember standing outside the examination halls waiting to face them. My advice: Treat an exam like a penalty kick. It is only 12 yards to the goal line. Take a deep breath before starting the exam and think back to all the preparation you have done. Read the questions carefully and then 'smash in' your answers. The sense of relief after the exams is great, so you have something to look forward to with your friends once the 'final whistle' has been blown."

BSc Business Management

"Here are my four tips to conquering an exam: Read, Plan, Write and Review"

BA English

"Test yourself by speaking out answers to questions or writing them out in outline."

Hercules Panayiotides
Zoology and Comparative Physiology, 1982

"It’s all or nothing for us mathematicians, eight exams all in a month! Redo your weekly assignments and keep filling that folder with past exam papers – try to do them in timed conditions."

BSc Mathematics

"I would tell current students to study well and not have too much anxiety over their exams."

Pavlos Oikonomou Gkouras 
Politics with Legal Studies, 1993

"In my third year I lived at the Catholic chaplaincy in Gower Street. At 7.30 every morning the chaplain took a group of us in his car to feed the ducks in Regents Park – that helped me maintain my contact with the “real” world and retain my sanity. And I ended up with a First in Spanish. You don’t have to go to Regents Park to spend some time every day with the natural world… but give it a try!"


"Keep calm and collected when you start your exam paper. It's easy to rush into a question without properly getting to the bottom of it - spend at least five to 10 minutes reading it over, considering your approach, and setting out the essay's structure. It worked for me!"

BA History, 2014

"Never tackle a morning examination without having a light, but nutritious breakfast. Slow -release carbohydrates will keep you going for longest, eg porridge, oatcakes. Scrambled eggs are a good choice too. N.B. Three cups of black coffee does not make a breakfast! Good luck!"

Ann Smith
French, 1965



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