Ace that exam!

Different types of exams require different preparation. Regardless of the exam type, however, time is your most important ally during revision and during the exam. Use time wisely and you'll have a built-in advantage to do well in your final Rachelle Tessie Rechtman

As a business student my exams are often pretty stock standard. This semester I am doing marketing decision analysis which will involve a lot of calculations and being able to interpret the results. My other exam, marketing communications, is pretty much the opposite requiring the ability to write mini essay style answers which cover various topics throughout the year.

Exam revision and preparation time

Even though at the beginning of every semester I tell myself that after each class I am going to write out my notes, it never happens. I will often get to week 10 at which point I will begin my revision and preparation time for my exam. Exams that require calculations are really hard to study for. I personally learn best by doing the questions myself instead of just listening to lectures. I will therefore try and get my hands on as many practice questions as I can. I will often prepare by going over my tute work by myself. It is very different being walked through how to do the question by the tute and actually doing it by yourself. Simply knowing which numbers and formulae to use is often the hardest part of these exams.

General tips on how to prepare for exams  
  1. Use colour. I have a million colour highlighters that I use to link different concepts together and highlight important pieces of information. 
  2. Get plenty of sleep before the exam. I applaud people who can stay up all night learning the content just before the exam, but I however am not one of them. I need my sleep and know I do not function at my best without it. Why bother putting yourself through that unnecessary stress. 
  3. Don’t cram, spread study out. If you use your time wisely just four weeks is enough time to get your sh*t together to ace that exam. 
  4. Use the help of your tutors and their consultation hours, they get paid to be there. 
  5. Don’t just write a to-do list, actually timetable out when each task is to be done and stick to it. 
During the exam 
  1. Use reading time wisely.  
  2. Wear a watch. Set aims and don’t spend too long on one question. Look at how many marks the question is worth and allocate time accordingly. 
  3. Keep hydrated, but not too much otherwise you have to go to the bathroom and waste valuable writing time. Lastly, ignore the temptation to put vodka in your water bottle. 
I hope this article has provided a few handy tips for everyone.

Image: D. Gallagher, under CC 2.0 licence

Rachelle Tessie Rechtman is one of the students we asked to write an article for the Library blog that focuses on their exam strategies and tips. We publish articles providing information and professional advice from our learning skills advisers and librarians but we thought we'd hear from students, too. We want to know what works for them, particularly at this critical time when students need to make the grade.  

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