This post was written by an external contributor. Connor Gotto provides his top tips to keep on track for the upcoming exam season.
With spring now seemingly in full swing, exam season will soon be upon us and, for most students, so begins the frenzied panic of countless hours of cramming and sleepless night after sleepless night. For most, it’s a reality… but it’s also totally unnecessary! With a little planning and commitment the stress of exam season can completely pass you by, and you’ll revel in watching those around you try and keep themselves together while you’re totally ready for whatever’s thrown at you.
Here are five top tips to get ahead of the game and ace exam season…
You’re no doubt tired of hearing it, but there’s a reason for that… it’s true! Planning is everything, and if you set out time to study every topic from every module, you’ll find yourself seamlessly heading closer and closer to being ready to sit the test.
The key, though, is to make sure that you’re being a) practical and b) faithful to your timetable. There’s no point in pencilling in six hours of study every day, as well as your other commitments. It’s just not going to happen. An hour of study each day is do-able and, if you start now, you’ll soon amass the same amount of revision (if not more) as you would if you’d started the month before.
Remember; it’s OK to be flexible with your schedule. If something comes up that you want to do, don’t feel guilty about it – just make up the work the next day. As long as you’re committed, it’ll pay off.
Little and Often
Yes, we kind of said this already, but it really is the best way. When you’re sitting an exam, each question will have a set answer that the teacher wants you to get at, and that will be specific to the question. If you go into detail from another topic/module, you’re not going to get extra credit. This isn’t SATs, kids!
By doing short bursts of work, one topic at a time, you’re going to recall it collectively, and be less likely to bring in references from who-knows-what other class.
Start in Class
Now I don’t mean ignore the lecturer and do your own thing, but there are simple things you can do in class to make your exam revision a whole load easier.
For example, students love to highlight, and that’s great… but don’t highlight everything! Think about it, what’s the point? Instead of having to scan through a white page, you’ll find yourself blinded by 20 neon yellow pages. Really, you’re just making life hard for yourself.
The best way to approach this is to think about what angles/specific topics interest you the most, and highlight from that perspective. Go back to your notes and highlight the key parts. That way, when you’re planning for answers, you can easily gather all of the relevant information and have complete answers composed in seconds (well, it may take a little longer…).
Keep a Study Diary
We already mentioned making a timetable, but keeping a retrospective diary can be just as helpful. It’s so easy to go over the same work time after time without realising – especially when you’re stressed – but writing down exactly what you’ve done will help put an end to that.
Write down in your diary exactly what you studied and when – at home, in class, five minutes before bed… it’s all relevant. Then, when you’re throwing in an extra hour or two of revision, you’ll know what to cover and what you’ve done time and time again.
Checklists are a good, easy way of recording this. Yes, they take time to write out. But they’re invaluable in making sure that you’ve covered everything!
Take Time Off
Just as important as getting the work done is taking some time off for yourself.
When everyone seems to be locked away in the library rushing to get everything done, remember all of the work that you’ve done already that they probably haven’t. So, taking an hour or two for yourself – to walk in the park, grab a coffee, or just think about something else – is invaluable. It’ll help you to reset your mind and take away some of the stress of exams.
If not, you’ll drive yourself crazy!