Study Confidently and Avoid Exam Time ‘Facepalm’ Moments With These 3 Simple Steps.
With exams around the corner, adopting a ‘sooner than later’ approach to revision is probably your best bet. Usually though, it turns out that your initial spark of enthusiasm also comes with a mild worry as ‘sooner’ was actually a little ‘later’ than you expected, and so to compensate for whatever it was which caused this delay (usually, life), we dive head first into the books, missing some simple yet potentially face-saving steps to ensure that you are adequately informed, and equipped, for exam day.
Often this leads to unnecessary (but avoidable) last minute stresses that have the potential to take you from a Distinction to a mere Pass. Here are some examples of such potential mistakes that we’ve all made at one stage or another:
- After a week of solid study, you discover that the material covered in the exam was not what you thought it was when you started.
- You decided to cover every detail possible, only to find 10% of it in the paper.
- You started studying for an open-book exam thinking it was actually closed-book (and vice versa).
- A concept you were unclear about during class found its way onto the question sheet (typically it turns out to be one of those long answer questions worth 10 marks or more).
- Not knowing where the exam will be held, how to get there, or when it is on, until the day you have to sit it. You either turn up to the wrong venue, get lost trying to get there, or get a traffic fine as you are in such a hurry.
- You turn up to your exam without key equipment (e.g. calculator, reference texts, student ID).
In this article, we offer just a few handy reminders for good study practice so you can avoid these kinds of ‘facepalm’ situations, and give you the confidence by having a clear idea of the challenge ahead.
Gather information about the exam itself
Before starting your revision, and to save you from headaches later on, it’s worth giving the course outline a thorough reading with particular attention to Assessment descriptions and Course Syllabuses or Outcomes. Here, you will find essential information such as:
- What course material will be tested (and not be tested).
- The nature of the exam including: a) its structure – multiple choice, essays, short-answer, etc.; b) type – open vs closed-book, practical vs theory, or both; c) time – exam duration including reading time).
- Any equipment or reference books you will need.
- The location of the exam and the date/time it will be held.
- Its percentage contribution towards your final overall mark.
- The passing grade.
- Procedures for injury, illness, and misadventure.
TIP: It might also be worth having what you think are the most crucial details written down or saved as a reminder on your phone Calendar app.
Stay in the loop before and during exam period
Aside from attending class, keep a close eye on the Announcements, Noticeboard, Discussion pages in eLearning before and during exam period.
- There may be changes and/or additional information regarding exam content and structure
- There may be changes to the exam location or time
- There might be a study group or tutorial being held you can attend
- The Discussion board can be good for reaching out to lecturers, tutors, and other students to seek help and share useful information.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions!
Whether it be to clarify concepts you don’t quite get; confirming the exam location; car-pooling with friends to get there; or having your shift covered at work, asking for help and support is more than okay, but essential – no matter how stupid you think the question is.
This allows you to connect with others, bring up ideas which you would not have thought of otherwise, and remind you of certain things which you might have forgotten. It means you are dedicated and engaged, and courageous enough to show that you might not have all the answers.
By remembering these easy steps you remove the fog that may hinder a smooth journey to the finish line. You are in the ‘know’, bringing you confidence as you have a clear picture of what to expect and how to go about preparing for the exam. As you engage in this, you will find that the ball is starting to roll and taking those first steps in revision isn’t the struggle it can be.
If you require additional support, we have student support services team who are more than willing and ready to help you out! Just come and say hello!