Useful study techniques
Half-hour pass strategy
From Day 1
Exams can cover a whole semester's work. Your timetable and your summaries are the basis of effective and efficient exam preparation. As you go through the semester, keep your notes of the textbook chapters, Study Book modules and Selected Readings up to date. Use these in your revision times to make one-page summaries of these topics or modules as you complete each one.
Make summary cards of main points, key definitions, formulae, and steps in the processes you have to understand. Refer to these cards regularly during your study periods and carry them with you so you can test yourself in spare moments, e.g. when travelling.
From the first month
Refer to your studydesk for past exam papers or talk with past students about their experiences. By now you might be able to answer some of the exam questions. As you finish each topic check to see if you can do the related exam question if it is present). Keep summarising!
3 - 5 Weeks Before
Around three to five weeks before exams it is the time to draw up a serious revision timetable. This will replace your usual timetable or study program. You need to:
give time to each course which has an exam, at least 8-10 hours each week
allow time to complete courses which have a final project or essay
organise your time by the modules or topics of the units
plan to study when you are most alert
give extra time to courses you find difficult
revise work at least three times during this final revision time
use the half hour pass strategy
use useful study techniques
Think positively - If I put in the work, I will succeed!
work through past exam papers
work with a study partner or group
find out the exam location and organise transport
organise exam equipment e.g. ID card, paper, pens, calculator?
work out the timing for the exam
The night before
Here are a few hints for the night before your exam.
If you have studied well, glance through your summaries/cards
Gather exam equipment - pens, ruler, ID card, calculator etc
Check transport arrangements
Use relaxation/stress management techniques
Have adequate sleep
The day of the exam
These are the things you need to do the day or morning of your exam:
eat a good breakfast/lunch.
check your exam equipment, especially ID cards and calculators
arrive 20-30 minutes early.
glance through summaries/cards.
if possible, choose your favourite position in the exam room.
take deep breaths, think positively. Synchronise your watch with the clock in the exam room.
During the exam
In perusal time:
read instructions carefully
what questions/parts are compulsory?
where do you have a choice?
eliminate the questions you will not do - those you know only vaguely
mark the questions you will do - those you know the best
analyse the questions - what are the keywords?
jot down ideas/graphs/formulae for answers on the paper (if permitted)
calculate the time available for each question.
During your working time:
decide on the order of your answers - easiest first to build your confidence
start each question on a new page
write legibly and double-space your writing - examiners like this!
if calculations required, include working and define variables
plan short answers and essays - in your exam book;
keep to the time limit for each question
mental block? - relax, breathe deeply, talk positively to yourself, if necessary leave the question and come back to the question later
stop after each question/set of questions and take a short break to relax, stretch
check your answers if you have time - don't leave early, you can't come back!
out of time? Quickly write notes to finish the question.
After the exam
avoid exam post mortems
plan to spend time unwinding
remind yourself there is more to life than exams. You are a person beyond your mark!
review your schedule for the next exam!