7 secrets to exam success

It’s officially exam season, which means students are currently burying themselves in their course resources, desperately trying to remember how to hold a pen, or sipping an iced coffee by the beach. If you are, however, not one with the miraculous luck of studying a non-exam degree – or even if you’re preparing for an in-class test – the time for exam tips is now. Here are the 7 secrets to Exam Success, so that when the high score hunt comes you won’t be a sitting duck.

Less panic, more planning                          

The first and most effective way to make the most of the little study time you have left is, well, make the most of the little study time you have left. Work out all the time you have in between your last rounds of classes and other obligations like work, and draft up a plan of when you intend to get revision and practise for your upcoming exams done. Services such as UON’s Learning Development can help you in drafting up plans like this, as well as providing you with tips on what to expect if you’re new to exams or need help writing essays.

The first result of creating a plan is that by creating a specific time for the work to get done, you’re more likely to start working than if the time for study remains in the nebulous realm of “sometime in the future”.

Less panic, more practise

Unless you’re a Luke Skywalker level fluky genius, you probably get better at things the more you do them. To this end it makes a lot of sense for you to look up your course’s practise questions so you can get a handle on what kind of things you’ll be asked in the old testing chamber. You can find practise questions for exams on your course’s Blackboard site, and you can even look up past papers through the library’s NewCat+ by searching “examination papers”.

Less panic, more prioritisation

A key way to maximise the effectiveness of your study time is to focus on the aspects giving you the most trouble. While you might feel inclined to rehash the parts of your course you’re comfortable with and glide through a study session, leaving holes in your understanding can lead to your exam feeling more like a potluck. Targeting the areas in which you’re weakest will shore you up for any situation.

Less panic, more preparation

Look up all there is to know about your exams, and get acquainted with the details of when and where. The starting dates for exams are available on the university website, and you can find your personalised exam timetable in myhub. Particularly if this is your first time doing exams, you can find more info here.  If this isn’t your first, you might not know that some courses now allow memory aids to be brought into the exam room. In this case, be sure to read up on how to make the most of that A4 sheet.

Less panic, more PASS

PASS, or Peer Assisted Study Sessions, often offer intensive sessions come exam time to get you up to speed. There’s nothing like a course veteran to help get you ready for what’s ahead.

Less panic, more… pressure alleviation?

If you’re dealing with additional external pressures such as medical or emotional turmoil, you needn’t suffer through exams without assistance. Applying for Adverse Circumstances is the right move if you’re working with an extenuating issue, so that provisions or modulations for your exam can be arranged.

Less panic, more Pomodoro

Even the most successful study requires breaks, both so you don’t burn yourself out and so you can retain the information you’re studying. The first aspect of this is making sure you’re getting enough sleep, eating well, and engaging in social time to ensure you’re healthy and happy leading up to and during your exam. Narrowing in on study itself, you can use techniques that divvy up your time between study and break so you’re not “kind of studying, kind of relaxing, and kind of breaking down.” I myself use the Pomodoro Technique, available in a handy web app that helps you commit to your studies.