Published: May 1, 2018
Arrrrrrrrrghhhhhh! Yep, it's that time again... Exams are impending so I figured I would write a blog on things that have helped me with exams, in the hope that some of it will be useful to you.
Now, I'm aware that none of these can compensate for good academic practice, such as attending lectures and reading on a regular basis, but if for whatever reason you feel you need to knuckle down for your exams then sit down and read this!
- Plan ahead. Give yourself plenty of time to get to grips with the contents of the module you are sitting for and allocate plenty of hours to study each week in the run-up to the exam.
- Know your learning style. Being aware of your learning methods is guaranteed to help you find ways to learn concepts faster.
- Read, read, paraphrase and summarise what you've read (include nice diagrams if you must) and read again out loud.
- I find it helpful to work with other members of my class so we can discuss concepts and we run little mini-teaching sessions where we will learn one subject and test our own knowledge by imparting it on to our peers in mini-class scenarios. If you have a group of friends and one friend is allocated one topic you would be surprised how much ground you can cover.
- Make use of online media resources to fully explain concepts you don't fully understand (We tend to use Khan Academy for such things, and they teach a wide array of subjects) NB, bear in mind that audiovisual programs should only really be used to supplement the information in books/journals.
- Make funky posters and stick them up in cupboards and walls so you see them every day – repetition gets it in.
- Don't cram! studies show cramming is less effective than learning intermittently.
- Know what time of day you prefer to study. Personally, I can't study on a morning – I'm an afternoon / early evening person and when I finish and go to bed I wake up and try to recall what I've read the night before.
- Get to grips with exam technique. If you're sitting a multiple-choice questionnaire, that's not so bad. However, if you're unfortunate enough to be sitting essay-style questions then plan your answer. Think about the structure and make it logical and presentable – I know on our course, it’s permissible to include diagrams to explain concepts to accompany writing.
- Get hold of some past exams. The information on your exam is not likely to appear in anything disseminated in the past but past exams are an excellent way of improving your timing and technique.
- The day before your exam, make sure you get an early night. Make sure you have breakfast and really take your time; try not to stress on the run-up as it will only impede your performance.
- Sit your exam
- Have a celebratory pint! (or other celebration of your choosing!)