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 watching Netflix on the lounge at home. 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.
1. 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 practice for your upcoming exams done. Services such as the University’s Academic Support 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”.
2. Less panic, more practice
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 practice questions so you can get a handle on what kind of things you’ll be asked in the old testing chamber. You can find practice questions for exams on your course’s Canvas site. You can also reach out to your lecturers to ask if they can give you access to past papers.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Less panic, more PASS
PASS, or Peer Assisted Study Sessions, often offer intensive sessions come exam time to get you up to speed. It’s the perfect place to ask some questions and work alongside your peers to get through a semesters worth of content. There’s nothing like a course veteran to help get you ready for what’s ahead.
6. 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. You can apply online through myUNI, just make sure that you have your supporting documentation ready and you continue to check your emails for updates.
7. 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.