I had to do a certification exam for work yesterday. It covered such a large amount of information about the systems we use that I had to spend the past few weeks studying for it. The only way I can get information into my head is to write it down over and over and over again like this

But it’s 2022, there’s got to be a better way to do things by now?

Thankfully I passed and hopefully will never have to think about this until next year but what techniques does anyone else use?

Anyone else had any tests recently?


I was exactly the same as you. Write everything down and then just keep rereading it


Nice handwriting btw

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I also have to say it aloud as I’m writing it. I very rarely write anything at a consistent pace for more than a few minutes these days, the hand cramp was a killer.

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I just read stuff once, barely retain any of it, fail the exam and repeat it. I did four third years in university thanks to this method.

This post paid for by PROF$.


I am in the write stuff down crew, usually whenever I’m doing exam stuff I’ll be prepping with a video course like on Udemy or something, but rather than just writing down what they say I like to write it down in my own words, so that in theory I must have understood it to then write it down.

on the plus side, seems to work for me for long enough to pass the exam. down side is that it takes forever, a 30 hour course ends up taking twice that, and that’s with me watching it on like x1.25 speed.

reminds me to finish off my prep for an AWS exam…

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Is that Business Central?

Haha! Yes! I’m now a qualified consultant even though I’m a developer :man_shrugging:

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I write stuff down over and over (black pen, not blue) until it sticks. If you can stand the sound of your own voice, recording yourself and listening to it back can work well too (not for me, I process audio information differently to visual/written information so it doesn’t translate for me).

I passed all my bastard hard professional exams first time (:nail_care:) and people always think I’m joking when I say it’s because I’m really lazy, but it’s true. Exam technique is underrated. Look at past papers, see what comes up and what the examiners are looking for if you’ve got access to marking schemes and their comments and do that. I passed my UK legal paper because I learned what they’d asked for the past 7 years of exams and spat out that - there’s only so many things they can examine and it’s a 50% pass rate, so that’s enough.

Also if there are really structured papers then exam technique is more important than actual knowledge imo. A few of my papers could be reduced down to logic puzzles that just happened to contain legal and technical terminology, and so I aced those ones (my paper was used as the example script for one of them :nail_care:)

Embrace the laziness. Work smart, not etc


I used a lot of predicting what would come up based on past papers, and then making sure that was the last thing I read and hoping it stuck. No idea how I got through exams really, looking back.

I’d always write the stuff down, then second time round try and condense it, then again, then again. Left me with the core information (most of the time) but through the process it forced me to think about what the fundamental questions/issues were too.

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I did a similar thing to the flashcards thing and what warn said, I would just condense it into smaller bits until the entire thing is a few sentences.
Also would only revise the day before because it’s short term memory you’re using here.

This is kind of what I do but sometimes I boil it down so far that it’s just three or four meaningless words by the end. Just looking at some of the things I wrote down on Friday, I have no idea what they mean today.

Never did any revision, it’s for boff-jobs, blagged all the exams anyway

(I now am incapable of retaining information as a grown up!)


I used to write things up with colourful underlining and stuff, read it a load of times, then put that sheet away and try and write it again from memory. Then compare them, focus on what I missed, try again. Repeat over a couple of days. Haven’t had to do it for a decade though because I have zero professional drive hooray

Handwriting things does something to my brain, unlocks a different part of it or something. I don’t think there is a better method than this tbh. If I’m memorising a tour I will sometimes record myself reading it aloud and listen to it but I find I tune out so the ultimate is to read it whilst listening to myself reading it. Then pacing up and down seeing what I can recall then forgetting most of it on the day anyway.

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not quite the same but found listening to the audiobook of moby dick at the same time as reading the words really helped me take it in and would like to do this with more books but this is probably more about training myself to not speed read/miss out enormous swathes of text

Never learned to revise really. Frustrating. Spent ages trying to get good at it and basically never got any exam consistency from GCSE through two takes of A-Levels and then four years of degree with exams twice a year.

Good luck.

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My revision system for my GCSEs was intense, involved loads of flashcards, like decks and decks of them, a system where I had notelets double-layered all over my wardrobe with a question on the top one and the answer underneath (those were for priority things I would look at before getting dressed). I think making the processes helped to engage me in the revision work. I didn’t carry that through to my A levels or my uni exams and therefore did progressively worse in each as the burden of knowledge increased.

If I had to sit an exam again I would go the flashcard route personally, but I also find that putting them in the way of everyday routine things helps, like stick key things that are hard to remember to the kettle and so on.

this. every single exam i’ve ever done has been on the basis of what i’ve learnt over the course of the year rather than revising. other than one failed module in my very first year of university this has somehow carried me through a BA, MA and a couple of professional qualifications.

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