Exams, it’s possibly the one word in student life that can invoke fear and trembling. But fear not!
We know you have the inner grit and brain power to succeed and get the results you hope for. We’ve compiled the best advice and study tips from our partner universities to help you. Your success starts now!
The fact that you are enrolled in your course is a good indicator that you actually care about the subjects you are studying. Passion and curiosity play a critical role in being interested in and recalling the information you are learning. So stay curious – it will help.
Read, review and revise
You will be provided a range of course material and have lectures and tutorials scheduled throughout Semesters. Make sure you:
- Read the course material and recommended reading.
- Take effective notes using the Cornell method or shorthand or by following our Note-taking Tip Sheet.
- Review your notes.
- Catch up on any missed lectures or tutorials by replaying videos or asking for session notes.
- Get involved in online discussion groups.
- Practice revision, from your very first class through to the last.
How to practise revision
Take five minutes after every study session to revise what you just learnt. This can involve a mini-test. Cover your notes, read a topic headline and then write down or say out loud the answer. Scan your notes to see if you recalled all of the details correctly and pay attention to what you need to practise and research more.
Schedule a weekly 30 minute unit or class recap for each unit. Apply what you learnt actively. Write a journal, mindmap or sketchnote what you are learning or teach someone and get involved in group discussions about your subject. These methods help build the neural pathways and connections that will help you recall information easily on the day of your exam.
What to study and where to focus your revision
Your course material will provide a clear indication of the subject topics you should revise regularly. Chapter summaries and end of chapter questions will also provide a guideline. And when in doubt, simply ask your tutor directly. They will let you know where you should direct your study energy.
Preparing for an exam
Being ready for your exam requires more than storing the knowledge you need to answer questions, it involves staying healthy and keeping stress at bay.
Maintain good health: This includes a healthy diet and regular exercise. Nutrients and movement help brain function, memory recall and concentration.
Value sleep: No matter how well you eat or exercise, you won’t fully reap the benefits without a good night’s sleep. When you’re in full out study mode, it’s easy to cut back on precious sleeping time, promising yourself that you’ll catch up when exams are over. But you need sleep now more than ever, so make time for it as part of your exam preparation.
Stress less: Whilst a little stress is motivating, too much stress is detrimental. Psychologist and former Psychology Today editor, Robert Epstein, found that 25% of happiness relies on managing stress. He also identifies planning as a tool to de-stress. If you plan your study schedule and revision process, you will minimise your exam stress levels. It helps to know the exam format and requirements, and the logistics such as when and where it will be held and how you will get to the exam.
The more prepared you are, the better you will feel. Confidence will set you up for success.
On the day of your exam
- Arrive with time to spare.
- Avoid cramming and last minute revision.
- Read all of the instructions and questions carefully.
- Pace yourself and set a timeframe for completing each section.
- Skip questions you are unsure of or are causing ‘brain-freeze’ and leave time to come back to them.
- Answer the questions you find easiest. It will build confidence and also provide you with ideas to tackle those more difficult questions.
- Be your own cheerleader! Remember all of the hard work you have put in throughout the Semester. Remember that you know what you know, and you probably know more than you think. You exams are simply your chance to show-off and shine.
By following these study tips you will ace your exams with confidence! If you need help at any stage, don’t hesitate to contact one of OUA’s friendly student advisors.