Welcome to week four of the trimester. How are you finding uni now that you’ve had a chance to settle in?
I want to talk to you about something that’s probably not even on your radar right now and that’s exams. They might seem like a long way off but trust me when I say when you think its time to revise for exams its already too late.
My first trimester exam revision started three days before my first exam and boy did that make for a stressful time! (And not great grades either!)
Part of my problem was that I just wasn’t really aware of when the exam period was. I had come from a school environment where your revision timetable was practically planned for you and there were heaps of reminders about when exams were.
University is different in that you are responsible for your own learning and working out for yourself what you need to revise and study for exams. This can be a daunting process- you are taught so much that it is hard to pick out the most relevant material.
So, how do you study for exams?
A proven formula for exam success is constant revision. Studies consistently show those who take a long-term approach to revision (ie not cramming) do better academically and retain information for longer. This is important because at some point you will need to remember what you learned after exams ie when you work as a professional!
As an added bonus, being well prepared at exam time can help ease exam stress and anxiety, which reduces the chance of getting sick and leaves you in a much better frame of mind to kick butt in your exam.
Everyone is different in their approach to study and what is outlined below is just one example of how you can study. Got a different approach? That’s totally cool! It’s important to find what works best for you, and the suggestions below are just some ideas to help get you thinking about exam revision.
So here are my five top tips for revision success:
Summarize each and every lecture. Do this soon after the lecture for example later on in the day or the day after class. Sit in a quite room and read over the lecture material. Pick the most important points out and write them down in your own words. Keep it brief, a 1hr lecture should take up one, maybe two A4 pieces of paper (more for longer lectures). Use headings, subheadings and keep in neat. I find it useful to highlight key points or ideas to make sure they stand out.
Know what is important. Somewhere in your lecture notes there will be a list of learning objectives. These are important- you should be able to answer or satisfy each and every one. Use your study guide as well- important points usually appear in here.
Don’t just rely on the lecture notes. Is there a key publication in your industry that has just been released? An article that everyone keeps referring to? Read it and get familiar with it. If it’s a very large document, aim to read the summary.
Summarize your summaries. Got a two-page summary? Summarize the main points so it fits on one page.
Make your notes visible. This is something I always do close to exams. I write the most crucial points on sticky notes and put them in places I will see multiple times a day.
Hopefully this list will be of some use to you, so come exam time you are less stressed and feel more in control to chase after those HDs.