How to Prepare for your Exams Remotely

student studying remotely for exams

If you’re looking for revision strategies or the best ways to prepare for your exams remotely then we can help.

Because a lot has changed for UK universities in the past few years.

From Cambridge pioneering ‘online only’ courses to many complexities arising from Brexit, it’s been a year of adaptability, resilience and accelerated use of digital and blended learning.

So with the exam season coming up, we want you to feel confident about your approach. And while universal study habits still matter—preparation, technique, resilience—there are also digital tools that can improve the way you learn.

But before we get into some of the best ways to study at home, let’s take a look at what assessments could look like moving forward.

What did the 2021 assessments look like?

For most students, 2021 assessments were likely to be digital and asynchronous. And while this was more effective for college administration and may have allowed more flexibility for students, many universities are cautious to ensure students have sufficient access to digital resources.

It’s worth checking any mitigating or exceptional circumstances policies. Particularly as several colleges continue to review their ‘No detrimental measures’ policies in light of the pandemic. Other uncontrollable factors, such as the degree of control students might have over broadband connections, quiet space to sit an exam, or the amount of time they have available may also be reflected in these policies.  

When it comes to assessments, there have been some interesting innovations. For example, the University of Sheffield used online versions of their BA Architecture student’s work for assessment. But as a general rule, there are a few standard assessments to note:   

  • Open Book Exams

This is where you’ll sit at home to complete an exam using your computer. You’ll also be able to access your notes, textbooks or any other resources to complete the exam.

Do be mindful that your exam will be timed. So while you will have access to study material, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to answer many questions without any prior study and revision.

  • Audiovisual Submissions

Online portfolios, recorded presentations or performance-based assessments may be required, depending on your degree subject. Your university will need to ensure inclusivity, so this means some students could have access to better technologies than others. If so, examiners should be instructed not to judge the performance of students based on the technology used.

  • Written Assignments

This is where you’ll need to submit your work electronically in time for a deadline.

Tips for effective remote study

Be wise in how you manage your time

Studying at home can create a sense of having more time than you actually do.

Instead, plan your time from the outset. By doing so, you’ll understand the full extent of what you need to achieve.

Start by identifying the number of weeks until your exams. Then break your work down into manageable clusters over each week. You could find it easier to manage your progress using productivity and scheduling tools such as Trello or   

Use educational tools to improve your learning

Studies show that captions added to learning videos will improve levels of attention, comprehension and memory. And not just for younger learners, but everyone.

Caption.Ed technology enables you to add captions to any live broadcasts or lecture recordings. It works from your laptop or desktop and brings captioning to you in real-time.  

But not only will adding captions increase your concentration, they’ll also support your memory and help you retain information.

What’s more, each time you use Caption.Ed you’ll receive a transcript. And this makes it much easier to document your studying. For example, transcriptions can help with:

  • Note-taking: Instead of expending energy taking notes, transcriptions allow you to focus your attention on listening and absorbing information.
  • Collaboration: Having any audio or video files transcribed allows for quicker sharing of information. So rather than listening back to recordings to search for vital information, a transcript will make it easier to find what you need.
  • Time-Management: Transcription services free up your time to complete other tasks. So rather than burn yourself out with writing, you could move onto the next subject and come back to the transcript as part of your revision.

Review the best revision strategies

Along with planning your time, adopting a set of revision strategies can make a huge difference.

  1. Memorisation: Repetition is the key to improving your memory, which is where apps can be very helpful.  GoConqr is a learning app that uses mind maps and flashcards to help promote better memory recall.  
  2. Spaced repetition: Spaced repetition is a technique that drives efficacy in your learning. In other words, by spacing out your learning over a period of time you’ll be more likely to retain information for longer.
  3. Pomodoro Technique: This is one of the best revision strategies for improving concentration. It’s where you’ll spend 25 minutes studying before taking a five-minute break. And by clustering four of these together you can take a longer break at the end.

Find the right ways to manage your nerves

Nerves are an inevitable part of the exam period. And rather than beat yourself up about being nervous, it’s better to accept that you will be and find ways to manage it.

Firstly, get enough sleep. Studies show REM sleep has a very powerful effect on memory recall and consolidation. And if you’re struggling then try something different. It could be waking up at a different time or making sure you avoiding any screen before sleep.

Another idea is to try meditation. And if you’re not sure where to start, see if your university offers any guided meditation classes.

Do everything you can to prepare before your exams

There’s a lot of pressure surrounding the exam period. But with the right revision strategies in place, studying at home needn’t be stressful.

In general, so long as you’ve given yourself enough time to prepare, you’ll feel it easier to manage your nerves.

To summarise, here’s our list of the best ways to study at home:

  • Check your exam dates in advance
  • Set up a dedicated workspace and create an environment you’re comfortable with
  • Plan your time
  • Review the best revision strategies and commit to what works for you
  • Take regular breaks that include physical activity
  • Use technology in the right way – to improve your memory, save you time and increase your ability for learning!
  • Get enough sleep or try meditation. With a calmer mind, you’ll find it easier to think straight.

For more information on captioning and transcription services visit