Exam preparation

Planning, organizing, and taking care of yourself – the winning combination to stack the odds in your favor!

Revision methods

Plan your work

It is recommended to set a timetable with realistic work objectives. You can download a revision planning template here.

  • Divide complex tasks into more manageable units.
  • To stay focused, set your priorities and reduce temptations and distractions (Find a quiet place, close your email inbox and cancel any notifications, switch off your smartphone).
  • Alternate subjects and activities (such as reading, memorization, and exercises) to prevent monotony. Begin with the most challenging subject to free yourself up.

Take breaks

Keep in mind that our ability to concentrate effectively is limited to around 40 to 50 minutes. Furthermore, memorizing information consumes a lot of energy, so it’s advisable to take regular breaks to avoid mental fatigue. You can use the Pomodoro method:

  • Work for 25 minutes, then take a 5-minute break, repeating this cycle until your task is complete.
  • And every 4 sessions you can take a 20-30 minute break.
  • For the lunch break, allow yourself at least an hour to regain your strength to continue the day.

Take advantage of the group

In addition to individual work, group activities support the enrichment of each other’s learning, provide motivation during low points, foster mutual stimulation, assess understanding, prepare for oral exams, and facilitate the comparison of working methods.

Understanding and managing stress

Whether it’s your first exam session at EPFL or your n-th, exams are often a source of stress and anxiety. Discover how stress impacts the functioning of your body and brain.

Learning how to study and pass exams (In French only)

Learn from your mistakes and failures, revise effectively, find help when you don’t understand, deal with pressure and stress, prepare for exams, prepare your strategy for a test…

Take care of yourself

Maintain your routine

Take the time to eat well and regularly, sleep well, do sports, take daily fresh air and breaks even during the revisions!

Establishing a routine will help you maintain the physical and mental balance you need to perform at your best.

Prepare mentally for your exams

Relieve the pressure by taking advantage of the courses offered at EPFL:

As simple as it may seem, breathing is a powerful way of regulating and calming the nervous system. Numerous smartphone applications are available for this purpose: Respirelax+, Petit Bambou, Calm, Headspace…

Be positive

  • Think positive statements. For example, if you find yourself thinking “I will never make it”, remove the negative word from your statement and experience the uplifting energy you can get from a statement like “I will make it.”
  • Studying for exams is like running a marathon, and positive visualization can help. For example, play out mentally the scene where you are taking an exam, and imagine yourself relaxed and answering the questions with ease.

Am I okay?

  • Generally speaking, I feel good. I manage to complete my work, organize my time, think ahead to what I have to do next, etc.
  • I keep moving with regular physical activity.
  • I spend time hanging out with friends and just having fun.
  • I eat healthy – vegetables, fruit and protein – and at regular hours. I drink enough water and stay hydrated.
  • I get enough sleep for my personal needs. I go to bed and get up at regular hours.
  • I put reasonable limits on my consumption of alcohol, cigarettes and video games.
  • I take care of my personal hygiene every day.
  • I keep my living space (room or apartment) clean and organized.
  • Absence from classes, seminars, practical and group work, etc.
  • Drop in the quality of work handed in.
  • Difficulty concentrating or maintaining focus.
  • Difficulty organizing your time, making plans and sticking to them. Frequent procrastination.
  • Feeling easily frustrated or irritated.
  • Often feeling anxious or stressed.
  • Feeling discouraged easily, more often and for longer than usual.
  • Changes in social habits: little or no contact with friends and family, loneliness, withdrawing into yourself, etc.
  • Appetite issues: weight gain or loss, irregular mealtimes, etc.
  • Trouble sleeping: difficulty falling asleep, waking up frequently during the night, irregular sleep patterns, etc.
  • Neglecting to take care of yourself and your living space.


When one or more points on the self-evaluation are not completed, or when one or more warning signs of distress are present, this may end up affecting your studies and your overall well-being.

Do not let an uncomfortable situation settle in. Consider seeking support promptly to help you develop resources and strategies to improve the situation.

Personalised advice

Coaching and advice

The social consultation team is available to offer you personal coaching and advice before, during and after revisions or exams.

Study rooms

Reserved rooms available on campus during revision periods.

Exam registration and withdrawal deadlines

Find the information on the academic calendar.

Missed tests

Find out about the rules on absences.