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Showing posts with label exam tips. Show all posts
Showing posts with label exam tips. Show all posts

23 October 2017

Matheson Library extended hours during exams

Burning the midnight oil as you prepare for exams? Get more study done, with late night opening at Matheson Library. But remember to balance your study time with ample sleep and exercise!


From 23rd October to 16th November, the Matheson Library at Clayton campus offers extended exam study time.

Matheson is open till 2am (Monday-Thursday) while Fridays and weekends operate on normal hours. There is security and a security bus in operation until 2.30am on the days the Library is operating on extended hours.

Caulfield Library is open until midnight Monday-Friday and 10am-9pm on weekends.

Both libraries have been recently refurbished and offer excellent amenities for students as they prepare for exams, such as bookable study rooms for group work or quiet areas for individual study.

Group study areas are also equipped with AV facilities. Find out more here.

Should you need sustenance or caffeine, both Matheson and Caulfield libraries have a cafe within the building. Please check the opening hours for Flipside and Swifts.

More information on the opening hours for all libraries can be found here.

Check out great tips for exam preparation and how to succeed on exam day from expert Library staff.



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25 May 2017

Some revelations for effectively studying for exams

Want to ensure your study is effective? Learning Skills Adviser Roland Clements has a few pointers.


The rule for studying for exams is to study for understanding ... not just to get good grades! Be kind to yourself. Tell yourself: “I can do this” and think about the following...

What subjects should I start with?

Start with the material you like. Before you delve into a subject, a quick read of the entire topic is a great idea. Go through the relevant texts and notes to refresh your memory. Once you understand the scope of your subject, you can focus on the details. So start with the material you like, and then move on to the more challenging parts that require extra work.

Group or individual study?


Why not both? Here are a few pointers:
  • Firstly, all the group members should study independently. Once you all grasp the fundamentals of your subject, you can revise as a group, so that everyone is on the same page.
  • It might help to take turns teaching others what you have learnt. Be prepared to ask questions and to challenge each other. Studying this way also prepares you for later life and teaches you the value of collaboration and the effectiveness of collective effort to achieve a target.
  • Even if you chose to study by yourself, take some time to teach others, this will help clarify and retain the subject matter you are studying.
  • Have fun and laugh, but make sure you all get back to the work at hand.

Should I study for long periods of time?

It’s a good idea to work for an hour at a time. If you start to feel tired before an hour, then you need to discipline yourself and gradually build it up to an hour. Here is a structure of a one hour model:
  • 5 minutes: Prepare (what will I study now? How will I study?)
  • 45 minutes: Study (revise, synthesise, practice)
  • 5 minutes: Review (what did I learn?)
  • 5 minutes: Refresh (stand, stretch)
Do something you really enjoy and then come back to work. You will find you can go on like this for quite a while.

Some handy tips:
  1. Find a spot that you find comfortable and start work - the library is a good choice, as there will be minimal distraction and you can make optimum use of your time.
  2. Keep all the stuff you need at hand: your notes, pens, textbooks and water.
  3. If you can, study with one or two other people in the same room to keep you on track.
  4. Skim over all the notes you have at least two or three times so you get an idea of what you are in for in the exam.
  5. Eat a light dinner and keep some snacks for those hunger pangs.
  6. Take a fifteen minute break every two hours or so to relax. Do something you like which you can do quickly – stretch or take a short walk.
  7. Two hours before the exam do a quick revision but don’t learn anything new, just a review of everything you managed to study once or twice.
  8. Keep all the materials you need for the exam the next day packed and ready – pens, calculator, pencils etc.
  9. Check out the Library’s tutorials on Studying for exams and Examination strategies.

After the exam

Enjoy and celebrate – you’ve earned this one!

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10 October 2016

Great tips for exam preparation

Exam time is creeping up, so (if you haven’t already) it’s time to focus on getting ready to ace them! This post will share some great tips for making the most of your revision time so you can feel confident and get those good grades. By Michelle De Aizpurua and Emma Price.



No-one wants to be cramming for exams the night before, and it’s definitely not a good strategy for doing well on your exams. Planning your schedule for study well ahead of time ensures you don’t have to cram, and this will also reduce your stress levels.

Sometimes just thinking about how much studying you need to do can seem overwhelming. You might not know where to start and so you procrastinate and put it off. Many students make a start and then get distracted looking at memes and social media. There’s even a whole movement around ‘procrastibaking’ (at least you can keep your energy levels up by eating yummy baked goods!).

How can you avoid the evil powers of procrastination? It can be a challenge. Try breaking down what you need to do into manageable chunks, as focussing on these smaller tasks will make the work seem less daunting. There are also some helpful apps and extensions you can download which will block your access to some ‘time-wasting’ websites. Try out StayFocused for Chrome, or ColdTurkey for all browsers. Read about some other hacks for blocking distractions, such as using a work only browser, on Hack My Study.


Revision strategies

Rote learning vs meaningful learning

Memorising everything by repetition (rote learning) is not the most effective learning technique. You need to do more than just read over your notes or textbook. A better approach is to develop a deeper understanding of each topic and the connections between them. This is called ‘meaningful learning’ and research shows it is a better method for your exam study. By developing an understanding of the meaning of what you are learning, rather than just memorising the information, you can then more easily apply the knowledge to new situations and use it to solve problems.

There are a range of different study styles you can use to help you develop a meaningful understanding of the information. Some ideas include:
  • Making posters of main topic information - either note form or diagram. Post them up where you will see them often. Go over them regularly and then test yourself.
  • Record yourself talking about a topic on your smartphone and then listen back to it on the train or walking.
  • Form a study group. Talking through unit topics with your peers can be a great way to expand your knowledge, work through trickier ideas together, and revise what you already know. The very process of discussing with others is another way to help your brain retain information, as well as giving you some friendly support during the exam period.
Mnemonics
These are scientifically proven memory devices for remembering information more easily. There are nine common examples of mnemonics, some of which you may already be using without realising it. Music mnemonics use a tune to help you remember information, just like the ‘ABC’ song for remembering the alphabet. In expression or word mnemonics, the first letter of each word you need to remember is used to make a phrase. A well known example of this mnemonic is for remembering the music notes on the lines of the treble clef - Every Good Boy Deserves Fruit. Other mnemonics involve making diagrams or models, using rhyme, note cards, images, outlines and connections between ideas.

Context and practice
Test yourself often. As well as any sample exam questions provided by your unit, you can also create your own tests by turning your unit topics into questions. You might want to try simulating exam conditions by getting rid of all distractions, putting away your notes and assigning a set amount of time to answer some questions on your topics.

One benefit of simulating exam conditions is that it utilises context-dependant memory. In psychology, this is the theory that your recall of information is improved if the context of how you learnt it is the same as the context in which you try to recall it. Godden and Baddeley (1975) demonstrated this concept by showing that people who learnt words underwater were more easily able to recall those words when they were underwater again, rather than on land. So, use this to your advantage and create a context that you can replicate in the exam to aid your memory! You could even try wearing a lucky sweater in study sessions and then wear it to the exam.

Visit the Library

If you are still feeling unsure about your exam preparation, attend a Library session. There are a few on offer and you can attend any session at any campus for free. Search for ‘exam’ on the class booking webpage.

And don’t forget a friendly Librarian or Learning Skills Adviser is available to speak with you at a drop in at the Library.

Above all, remember that effective study is about how much you learn, not how much time you spend hunched over your desk. So keep these tips in mind, and good luck!






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26 May 2016

Exam study tips from an expert

We'll have learning skills advisers available online via the Library's Facebook page to provide expert advice, tips and answers to your exam study-related questions. It's available, so why not take advantage of the opportunity?



It may be your first time to sit final exams in university. You have your lecture and unit revision notes but feel that you could use some help to clarify or just confirm what you think you know about exam preparation.

Visit the Library's Facebook page during Swot Vac when a learning skills adviser is available online to work with you on:

  • studying for exams
  • strategies for exams
  • types of questions and more.


From Monday 30 May to Friday 3 June, 2pm until 5pm, we invite Monash students to post their exam study-related questions on the Library's Facebook timeline rather than via the inbox. This way, the answers to questions, advice and tips can benefit more students.

If you've been to a Library research and learning drop-in session in person before, then you'll know how useful it is to get an expert's advice. We're just making the opportunity available to more students by taking it to the virtual space.

Like us on Facebook and ask us your questions.

Face-to-face drop-in sessions are offered at advertised times in some libraries during Swot Vac.







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17 May 2016

Getting ready for exams

With the end of the semester just around the corner, now is the time to focus on your preparation for exams (if you haven’t already!). Here are some tips to help you make the most of your study time and feel more confident heading into exams, says Learning Skills Adviser, Emma Price.



Managing your time 

‘Night before’ cramming rarely delivers good results on the day. Start by planning your schedule with specific days and times to revise your units. Use a weekly planner on paper or an app to mark out your classes and other commitments, then assign times around these when you will study. Try to get a good spread across the week and make this a regular part of your planning. Each study session should have a clear goal of what unit and topic will be revised. You may also find it useful to spend a small amount of time initially getting all of your unit materials organised so it is easier to use them for revision (more tips on different styles below). 

One of your biggest enemies in exam preparation is procrastination. By setting goals within your week you can more easily accomplish your revision rather than having a vague sense of revising all of your units. Be wary of time-eating technology too. TV, social media, smartphones and other devices may all seem much more attractive than study. Even cleaning your bathroom might have more appeal! But make sure to stay on target. Switch off any devices during your study times to avoid distraction and then use them as short rewards for when you have completed your study sessions. Prioritise your other commitments around your study too - if your bathroom really is in dire need of a clean, it can still wait till you’ve spent some time on revision!

Mix it up

Aim to be active in your revision approach. This means doing more than just reading over your notes or textbook. A good approach is creating your own topic summaries from your lectures, notes and readings. This way you synthesise and compile each topic into its main points and examples for a more effective study resource, and the very process of creating a summary is helping you understand and remember the topic.

There are a range of different study styles you can use to be more effective in your study time and to help you remember information. Everyone has their own learning style preference so work to your strengths. Do you prefer hearing information, talking about it, or a more hands-on practical approach? Perhaps you are a more visual learner and prefer diagrams and mindmaps? Use any or all of these styles to help create useful revision materials, such as:

  • Posters of main topic information - either note form or diagram. Post them up where you will see them often (next to the bathroom mirror, over your desk, etc.) Go over them regularly and then test yourself.
  • Record yourself talking about a topic on your smartphone and then listen back to it on the train or walking.
  • Use mnemonics as a memory aid to associate important information with particular cues. You can use songs, images or names. For example, for order of taxonomy: Kids Prefer Cheese Over Fried Green Spinach (Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species)
  • Form a study group. Talking through unit topics with your peers can be a great way to expand your knowledge, work through trickier ideas together, and revise what you already know. The very process of discussing with others is another way to help your brain retain information, as well as giving you some friendly support during the exam period. 

Test yourself often. As well as any sample exam questions provided by your unit, you can also create your own tests by turning your unit topics into questions. For example, in a business management topic on effective practice, change the topic heading into a question: what are three effective management practices and how are they implemented? You might want to try simulating exam conditions by getting rid of all distractions, putting away your notes and assigning a set amount of time to answer some questions on your topics.

Look after yourself 

As exams get nearer it’s natural to feel a bit stressed and obsessed with revision. But you need to stay balanced in order to get to the finish line. Some stress is ok as it can keep you motivated and focused but too much or poorly managed stress can have negative effects. If you feel over-stressed or anxious in your exam preparation then you might want to reflect on your study approach and perhaps seek out some help from counselling.

Make sure to eat well and get enough sleep. Too much junk food and caffeine or all night cramming could impact your ability to study effectively through too much fatigue or adrenaline.

Your brain can’t handle study all the time so be sure to give it some breaks for rest. This could be five minutes or so at end of each hour of study to make a snack, get some fresh air or do some stretches. Regular walking or jogging, or something like a weekly gym session or yoga class can provide an important break from your revision and can help regulate any exam stress. And remember to schedule a bit of time with family and friends where you (and your brain) can relax.

Above all, remember that effective study is about how much you learn, not how much time you spend hunched over your desk. So keep these tips in mind, and good luck!

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20 October 2015

How to succeed on exam day

Whether you’ve studied a lot or a little, taking the right approach on exam day itself can really help improve your marks. Make a plan beforehand. ....by Clinton Bell


Doing well on an exam isn’t just about what you know - it’s about understanding what’s being asked of you, managing your time, and performing under pressure.  So take a deep breath and try to stay calm as we go over some strategies for exam success!

Read the question


This may seem obvious, but when you’re in the grip of exam-day panic it’s easy to skim over instructions or miss important information. Take a deep breath, slow down, and read the question and any other instructions carefully. Pay close attention to direction words (e.g. “compare”, “identify”, “discuss”) and any limitations placed on your answer (“in Australia”, “since the year 2000”, “using differentiation by parts”).

Marks are based on how well you address the question you were asked, and there is a set number of marks for each question, so make sure your answers are on target. A detailed and beautifully-written response which doesn’t answer the question at all is worth nothing, and you won’t get extra marks for “showing off” by including information which isn’t relevant.

Don’t try to reproduce long passages from the textbook word-for-word. It may be tempting if you’re not confident about your writing skills, but it won’t get you good marks. Examiners usually want evidence that you understand the material, not that you have memorised the text. They may deliberately set questions which are just different enough from what’s in the book that copying won’t work. If you don’t acknowledge your source properly, you also risk being accused of plagiarism!

Time is of the essence

As well as reading the question itself, look at how many marks it is worth - this indicates how much time you should spend on each question. The more marks a question is worth, the longer and more detailed your response is expected to be. Don’t spend an hour agonising over a question which is worth very little!

Most exams don’t require you to answer the questions in the order they are presented, so if you get stuck on a question, don’t waste too much time - move on to the next one. You can come back to it later after you have finished the questions you can answer more easily. Sometimes working on other questions will even jog your memory!

Stay to the end

The only time you should leave an exam early is if the building is on fire. If you finish before the time is over, congratulations! Check your answers and see if there’s anything you can improve. If you’re completely stuck and don’t think you can answer any more questions, try anyway.

Think about related information, imagine your lecturer talking about the topic, draw a diagram… use any strategy you can think of. If you still can’t do it, go over your other answers and try to improve them. As long as you have time left, you still have a chance to get a few extra marks!

When it’s over, it’s over

So the exam is over, for better or for worse. You’ve used the strategies here and hopefully you’re feeling confident! Even if you’re not, there’s no point stressing about it - you can’t go back in time and change how you did. So my final tip is that when the exam is over, you’re done with it. Relax and take a well-deserved break!

Sources of help and information
What are your tips for exam day? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @monashunilib

 

Photo:
Studying math by Steven S.
Used under CC 2.0 licence.

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13 October 2015

How to make the most of exam revision

Even if you tried these tips for effective study last semester, have a read of them again ! It might be helpful...by Clinton Bell



With end-of-semester exams rapidly approaching, it’s time for some serious study… but it can be difficult to juggle the exam-time crunch with the rest of your life.

Keep it regular

Waiting until the day before the exam to start revising is a terrible idea - and not just because it means less study time. Research has shown that you’re more likely to remember things if you spread your revision sessions out. In other words, it’s better to study a subject one hour a day for seven days than to study it for seven hours in one day.

If time is short, you can try changing between tasks to break up your study. After reading a chapter, instead of doing the exercises immediately, try studying a different topic for an hour before coming back to them. This helps you practise holding what you’ve learned in long-term memory, instead of forgetting it the moment you’re done with that chapter!

Student, test thyself

Speaking of exercises, one of the best ways to prepare for an exam is by testing yourself. Practice makes perfect, after all! Flash cards are a popular way to do this, but you can also do the exercises from your books, get someone else to ask you questions, or do past exams. You could check with your lecturer if you can't find previous exams for your unit.

If you want to take things a step further, try doing a past exam in exam conditions. Turn off your phone, turn off the music, sit at your desk, and set the same time limit as the actual exam. This can help you avoid exam-day nerves by getting used to the conditions you will be working in on the day. It also gives you a feel for how long you have to complete the exam.

Be practical

Knowing the material is all well and good, but don’t forget to look after practical concerns as well! If there’s any equipment you need, buy or borrow it before exam day - and if you need a calculator, check that the batteries work. Also make sure you know exactly when and where your exam is, and how to get there. If you’ve never been to the exam venue before, try making the trip next time you need a study break!

Above all, remember that successful study is about how much you learn, not how much time you spend hunched over your desk. So use these tips, or the Library's quick guide to Exam revision strategies, to make your time count, and good luck on your exams!

Got a study strategy that works well for you? Share it in the comments or on Twitter @monashunilib



Photo: Cookie study, by David Simonetti, 2007

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8 October 2015

Study at uni can be fun

It is always worth remembering that your studies can be not only rewarding but also enjoyable. This blog post focuses on the possibilities for fun while actually learning something...by Damian Gleeson, Learning Skills Adviser, Caulfield Library. 




As you approach the end of semester you may find that most of your work is due at the same time. Yikes! Not only that - you may have exams looming and approaching fast. This can be stressful, especially if this is your first time, or if you haven’t done so well in past semesters.

Form a study group

Study at university can be a lonely business. Sure, there are certain tasks like individual essays, reports and presentations that require you to work independently, but that only applies to those tasks. You probably have 12 - 15 people in your tutorial or lab group with whom you definitely have something in common!
Ideally, a study group consists of 4 or 5 members, though this is flexible. Something like a DISC questionnaire can be a useful tool for determining the personality and approach to work of your group’s members. This can help you to identify the variety of strengths and areas that need work among your team mates. Once you’ve worked all this out, you may find something like this:
  • Student A is quiet, but takes meticulous lecture notes. Student A is a useful resource for the group for this reason. He’s a top record-keeper of key lecture content.
  • Student B is talkative and energetic. She is great at remembering conversations and important insights from your tutor. She’s both likeable and a natural leader. Combined with Student A’s lecture notes, you have the lecture and tute materials covered.
  • Student C’s strength is research and reading. He got a HD for the first assignment and your tutor singled out his excellent research, citing and referencing skills. Someone with this much attention to detail is a great resource to ensure that your group is at its most effective when revising the semester’s content.
  • Student D is also quiet and is not confident about her English language skills. However, she has work experience in the field you are studying, which allows her to clearly see and explain why the unit’s content is relevant to your group’s future professions.
So there is a wide range of personalities, skills and knowledge in your group. Cool! This means any areas that individual members think are weaknesses for them can be overcome by the members who are strong in those areas. It also means your strengths are not just an advantage for you - your team mates can also reap the benefits. That’s a great boost for your confidence. Put it to use reviewing the reading, lecture and tutorial materials. Put it to the test by working on past exam questions together.

Revision - turn a boring chore into an enjoyable endeavour

If this describes you and the way you like to work (left), take advantage of it (right). Your learning style is yours and no one else’s, so why not take advantage of it?
  • I like setting and meeting goals    -     Use a to-do list.
  • I work best against the clock  -      Try the Pomodoro technique.
  • I like to draw or doodle  -    Use mind maps to outline how to solve a problem.
  • I like music  -   Write songs about important information that you need to remember. More here.
  • I’m a night owl. I enjoy staying up late   -  Study when you are most alert and do mundane tasks when you are least alert.
  • Solve questions from the textbook   -  A no-brainer
  • If there are few questions, turn chapter titles into questions then practise answering them  - Requires thought.  See example below:

Possible questions

What issues arise for managers in a global environment?

What is social responsibility and how do managerial ethics apply to it?

How are change and innovation best managed?

Why and how do managers motivate employees?

If you remain uncertain about how to be efficient and take joy in your academic work, don’t forget a friendly Librarian or Learning Skills Adviser is available to speak with you at a drop in.

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4 June 2015

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 assessment...by 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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3 June 2015

Advice from an exam survivor

How are you supposed to prepare for an exam when your lecturers, in their infinite wisdom a la Professor Snape, haven’t given you anything to go on and refuse to help? Hopefully these tips will give you an answer, and let you keep all your hair….by Sara Nyhuis



Image: Pixabay
You have an exam coming up. There are no practice questions because the exam hasn’t changed in over five years. All you know is that you have approximately five million multiple choice questions to answer, twenty diagrams to draw, and a ten page essay at the end. “But it’s okay because I remember all the course material and I’m super prepared,” said no one. Ever.

In my first year, my first exam was BIO1011. A daunting task of 144 multiple choice questions, and all the lecturers said was that there would be six questions per lecture. As it was my first uni exam, I felt a bit like Harry every time he faced Voldemort; a confusing mixture of completely doomed and too cocky for my own good. Then second year came along, and suddenly I had six exams and a desperate need for a time turner, my only saving grace being that my friends all felt as lost as I did.

Because exams are hard, and that’s why we have them. But here’s my advice, and what I’ve done for every exam that I’ve felt I’ve been given no direction in (and so far so good!).

Revision and preparation

Figure out the key topics. For multiple choice exams, your best bet is subheadings. Like in BIO1011, if you have six questions for each lecture and six subheadings, you can pretty safely bet that you’re going to have one question for each.

Know it inside out. Study until you can call yourself a know-it-all and be proud about it. It sounds like an impossible task, but once you’ve broken down your lectures into sections, you can tackle those sections one at a time, write yourself out some questions, and really get to know them.

Avoid cramming. We’ve all done the last minute cram until 3am, frantically trying to memorise every circulatory system in the animal kingdom (well, maybe not there specifically). We stuff everything into the short term memory file and forget it the second we walk out the door. But as long as you’ve done the exam, that’s fine, right?

Wrong. Most units follow on sequentially, with the first providing foundations for the second. If you get a decent night’s sleep before an exam, you will retain more long term information than a 3am V-fuelled stint. Exams aren’t designed for short term memorisation, but long term depth of knowledge that needs to be understood properly to be applied. Not only will the question actually look like English rather than Klingon, but you will feel more relaxed because you’re able to answer it confidently.

You might think mnemonics are corny, but they really work. Can’t remember the Order of Classification? That’s fine, just ask yourself what Barbie said to Ken and you’ll remember it. Unfortunately the answer to that is probably too inappropriate for this article, but you get the idea - there are plenty of memory tricks available on the web, and they do actually work for the long term.

In the exam

You’re in the exam, your hand cramps are getting debilitating and your pen just ran out... I’m pretty certain we’ve all felt like either curling into the foetal position or storming out in a blaze of glory at this point, never to return. So how do you stay focused?

Use your reading time. Seriously. It’s given to you for a reason. Take your time, actually use it, and prepare some answers in your head to get you started.

Stick with what you know. Answer the questions you know first. Get them out of the way so you can devote more time to the harder questions later, knowing that you’ve at least answered something. Multiple choice questions can be knocked out in two minutes flat if you answer the easy ones first.

Process of elimination. In multiple choice exams, the harder questions can often be tackled by working out what the answer isn’t before working out what it is.

Read the questions. It may sound ridiculous, but my biggest failing in exams has been to misread the question. Read it several times over, underline key words if you have to, and make sure you know what it wants from you.

Identify key terms. Underline them, highlight them, throw a party for them - do what you will, but make sure you know what they are. Most questions will use key terms, and they are an enormous hint. So do your markers’ bidding and use them.

After the exam

FREEDOM!

But seriously. Relax. And don’t immediately study for your next one, because that’s just brain cruelty. Go have some lunch and take a break, then share your exam techniques here to help other students do as well as you just did.

Good luck!




Sara Nyhuis 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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2 June 2015

Library habits die hard

I believe I’m a pretty typical student at Monash University. I do a double degree of Business (majoring in marketing) and Arts (majoring in media and communications). I spend way too much time surfing the web and my recent shared household Netflix account has not helped the situation. My parents can provide a testament to the correlation between the increased internet usage bills and exam time as my procrastination tends to reach an all-time high. Therefore I often retreat to the Caulfield or Matheson Library to cut off access to distractions...by Rachelle Tessie Rechtman



“Swot Vac is probably my favourite time to be in the library” – said no one ever. I believe a large proportion of what puts people off from going to the library is the knowledge that if you go past 12noon you will not be able to find a seat.

To me the library provides a place of solitude where I can go to concentrate and separate my home and uni life. I like studying in the library better because I am not surrounded by so many distractions and the sight of other hard working students reminds me that I should be working just as hard.

What I do in the library

The obvious answer to this question is study. Thinking about this more, I realise there are quite a few things that I do in the library that make up my study as a whole. First of all, I really like going to the library with a friend. I don’t go to the library with the intent of socialising because there are so many other places to socialise I am not sure why anyone would pick the library. It’s more about having someone to motivate me when I get distracted. Friends are also awesome to complain to about how much work you have to do and how you are going to fail the exam.

I do also like to eat while I study. It’s probably a really bad habit when I think about it. I often break the library's rule and bring in hot food during lunch time. I understand why the rule is in place because I hate studying at a dirty desk. However I draw the line at messy and smelly food. Of course coffee/Red Bull is a must and I can’t even imagine a library without caffeine.

Sometimes I even go to the library to get books, crazy I know. I usually borrow textbooks as I don’t see the point in buying $100 books for 12 weeks at uni.

I probably wouldn’t go to the library with the intent of listening to an online lecture. If I had time between classes I would go to the library to listen to one, but otherwise online lectures are made to listen to at home.

Where I like to sit

I personally cannot stand noise when I study, I don’t listen to my iPod and I hate people talking. Therefore my favourite places to sit in the Caulfield Library would be the third set of stairs up in the quiet area amongst the books. It is a really nice area and if you want to get up and get a book you are right there. I often will try and get to the library early to ensure I get a prime seat.

I don’t particularly have a favourite nook in the Matheson but I always head to the first level in the morning which I quite like. I don’t mind if I’m in a group area of the library and people are talking quietly about work, however if people are there just eating and socialising it’s really annoying because it makes me jealous that I’m not doing that.

Thanks to everyone who has read this article and I hope others can relate to my experiences in the library and aren’t getting too stressed over exams. Have you ever broken any library etiquette?  What do you think of people talking or eating in the library? Would love to hear your thoughts and maybe see you around the library during Swot Vac.



Image: Matt P. 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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1 June 2015

Study habits to hurdle an exam

To my fellow members of the infamous Struggle Town, it’s that time again. We seem to spend more time watching the clock and scrolling through Facebook than reading lecture notes, and no matter how much caffeine we consume we still fall asleep in public - more often than not ending up on Stalkerspace....by Sara Nyhuis



Hermione Granger in Harry Potter and
the Order of the Phoneix, 2007.
Image under CC licence 2.0
For a double degree student in Arts and Science with two majors and minors, who lives out of home, has a part-time job, a half-decent social life and a comic book addiction - studying is hard. Finding the time is harder. But studying is never easy, even for those who seem to have nothing but time. Motivation, elusive at best, seems to head for the hills entirely, and suddenly everything else is infinitely more interesting.

But it’s important to remember that everyone is in the same boat, struggling along with you (yes, even Hermione Granger in the corner over there), and there are plenty of different techniques we all use to trawl through those final few lectures.

Where do I go?

The library. It was built for a reason. It has all the information you could ever hope for at your fingertips - it even has people to help find what you can’t in the database labyrinth. Make it your home during Swot Vac, and use it to its full potential.

Studying in the library means you not only have thousands of books at your disposal, but also that you have staff around you who are there specifically to help. They're like your shining beacon of hope in the tidal wave of exams and final assessments. There are learning skills advisers who specialise in different fields of study and who can work with you on your academic skills, librarians to show you how to get the most out of the online databases available to you, and information assistants to help you find that one last copy of the book that you’ve been waiting on for days.

For me personally, the library is the perfect place to study. During the day can be a little overwhelming, so the later, quiet hours of Caulfield are perfect for me. The feeling of impending doom isn’t quite so suffocating when everyone around you is there for the same reason you are, and you can choose to share it with your friends or find your own hideaway in the quiet study areas. It’s like an effort in solidarity; you struggle through the coming weeks together, and hope you all make it out without carpal tunnel.

And if that’s not for me?

Some days the library can be too much, and looking at the sea of down-turned heads is nothing if not intimidating. So go outside. Go for a walk. Put your headphones in and sit in the sun, read through lecture notes or highlight passages of your textbook. Working through sample questions is also a great way to study, and it can help to do them with classmates without having any other noise around you.

The most important thing I have found in my four and a half years at Monash is that you find your place to study, and use it specifically for that. If I study at home, I’m more inclined to clean the entire house than read through Week 7’s lectures on that thing I can’t quite remember - because the distraction is there and it is tempting. If you put yourself in the library, a park, a cafe, or wherever it is that you end up, you have already removed yourself from distractions and will find it infinitely easier to make some real headway. Of course, a little willpower is still required to ignore your phone, but hey, baby steps, right?

How do I get started?

If you’re struggling for a starting point, make lists. In your phone or on a wall calendar, give yourself goals for Swot Vac and set reminders for exam dates to make sure you stay on track.

I definitely recommend commenting and sharing your ideas here. I’ve always found that teaching others teaches me, so share your thoughts and study techniques here as a way of figuring out what works best for you, and help others to find new ways to get through the end of semester in the process. 

But always remember: something is better than nothing, and even Hermione Granger had her off days.




Sara Nyhuis 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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28 May 2015

How to succeed on exam day

Whether you’ve studied a lot or a little, taking the right approach on exam day itself can really help improve your marks. ....by Clinton Bell


Doing well on an exam isn’t just about what you know - it’s about understanding what’s being asked of you, managing your time, and performing under pressure.  So take a deep breath and try to stay calm as we go over some strategies for exam success!

Read the question


This may seem obvious, but when you’re in the grip of exam-day panic it’s easy to skim over instructions or miss important information. Take a deep breath, slow down, and read the question and any other instructions carefully. Pay close attention to direction words (e.g. “compare”, “identify”, “discuss”) and any limitations placed on your answer (“in Australia”, “since the year 2000”, “using differentiation by parts”).

Marks are based on how well you address the question you were asked, and there is a set number of marks for each question, so make sure your answers are on target. A detailed and beautifully-written response which doesn’t answer the question at all is worth nothing, and you won’t get extra marks for “showing off” by including information which isn’t relevant.

Don’t try to reproduce long passages from the textbook word-for-word. It may be tempting if you’re not confident in your writing skills, but it won’t get you good marks. Examiners usually want evidence that you understand the material, not that you have memorised the text. They may deliberately set questions which are just different enough from what’s in the book that copying won’t work. If you don’t acknowledge your source properly, you also risk being accused of plagiarism!

Time is of the essence

As well as reading the question itself, look at how many marks it is worth - this indicates how much time you should spend on each question. The more marks a question is worth, the longer and more detailed your response is expected to be. Don’t spend an hour agonising over a question which is worth very little!

Most exams don’t require you to answer the questions in the order they are presented, so if you get stuck on a question, don’t waste too much time - move on to the next one. You can come back to it later after you have finished the questions you can answer more easily. Sometimes working on other questions will even jog your memory!

Stay to the end

The only time you should leave an exam early is if the building is on fire. If you finish before the time is over, congratulations! Check your answers and see if there’s anything you can improve. If you’re completely stuck and don’t think you can answer any more questions, try anyway.

Think about related information, imagine your lecturer talking about the topic, draw a diagram… use any strategy you can think of. If you still can’t do it, go over your other answers and try to improve them. As long as you have time left, you still have a chance to get a few extra marks!

When it’s over, it’s over

So the exam is over, for better or for worse. You’ve used the strategies here and hopefully you’re feeling confident! Even if you’re not, there’s no point stressing about it - you can’t go back in time and change how you did. So my final tip is that when the exam is over, you’re done with it. Relax and take a well-deserved break!

Sources of help and information
What are your tips for exam day? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @monashunilib






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27 May 2015

Matheson Library extended hours and bus

Get more study done with late night opening at the Matheson Library.



From Monday 1 June until the end of the exam period Thursday 25 June the Sir Louis Matheson Library will be open for extended exam study.

During this four week period:
  • The Matheson Library will be open from 8 am until 2 am Monday to Thursday inclusive.
  • There will be security and a security bus in operation until 2 am on the days the library is operating on extended hours.
  • Fridays and weekends will operate on normal hours.
Check the opening hours for all libraries.

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13 May 2015

How to make the most of exam revision

Make sure you get the most out of the time you have, with these tips for effective study!.....by Clinton Bell


With end-of-semester exams rapidly approaching, it’s time for some serious study… but it can be difficult to juggle the exam-time crunch with the rest of your life.

Keep it regular
Waiting until the day before the exam to start revising is a terrible idea - and not just because it means less study time. Research has shown that you’re more likely to remember things if you spread your revision sessions out. In other words, it’s better to study a subject one hour a day for seven days than to study it for seven hours in one day.

If time is short, you can try changing between tasks to break up your study. After reading a chapter, instead of doing the exercises immediately, try studying a different topic for an hour before coming back to them. This helps you practise holding what you’ve learned in long-term memory, instead of forgetting it the moment you’re done with that chapter!

Student, test thyself
Speaking of exercises, one of the best ways to prepare for an exam is by testing yourself. Practice makes perfect, after all! Flash cards are a popular way to do this, but you can also do the exercises from your books, get someone else to ask you questions, or do past exams.

If you want to take things a step further, try doing a past exam in exam conditions. Turn off your phone, turn off the music, sit at your desk, and set the same time limit as the actual exam. This can help you avoid exam-day nerves by getting used to the conditions you will be working in on the day. It also gives you a feel for how long you have to complete the exam.

Be practical
Knowing the material is all well and good, but don’t forget to look after practical concerns as well! If there’s any equipment you need, buy or borrow it before exam day - and if you need a calculator, check that the batteries work. Also make sure you know exactly when and where your exam is, and how to get there. If you’ve never been to the exam venue before, try making the trip next time you need a study break!

Above all, remember that successful study is about how much you learn, not how much time you spend hunched over your desk. So use these tips, or the Library's quick guide to Exam revision strategies, to make your time count, and good luck on your exams!

Got a study strategy that works well for you? Share it in the comments or on Twitter @monashunilib


Used under CC 2.0 licence.

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