In an ideal world, we would all be more than prepared for exams. We would know all the content, have done all the reading and be ready to answer any questions thrown at us. Let’s face it, whilst some people might be that organised, a lot of us will be in the panicked cramming stage of revision. Here are some ways to make it a little easier to be as prepared as possible.
Filter out what you don’t need
You’ve got hundreds of lecture slides and tonnes of pages of notes, where do you even start? The first thing to do is filter through and see which bits you can get rid of. Some sections of lectures are irrelevant, some will be repeating what’s already been said, and some PowerPoint slides will just be intros or conclusions. Once you got rid of all of that, the workload starts looking a little more manageable. Obviously make sure you double check that what you are getting rid of definitely isn’t important!
Hand write your revision notes
If you’re like me, you will have typed all of your notes in lectures. Personally I can’t learn from these, and I like to hand write them to learn them. Although it can take quite a long time, you’ll find that certain parts you write will stick in your head. You won’t have to keep going over them which is a bonus when you are tight on time! Whether it be using mind maps, posters or just re-writing notes on lined paper, this is one of the most effective ways to learn information effectively.
If your exam is round the corner and you haven’t looked at the content since the lectures then you need to prioritise – big time. If there are certain topics that are guaranteed to come up in the exam, learn them first. Learn the basic lecture content before you add readings so that you have at least got the basic covered if you run out of time. Do the readings that you can apply to more than one topic. At this point it’s about as being as efficient with your time as possible.
Use your friends
I can’t stress the importance of talking to friends and comparing notes over the exam period. They might understand a concept you don’t and have some notes that can help you out. They are also a great support system (aka they will cry with you over the stress of exam season). Compare essay plans or practice questions, revise together and share your knowledge – you all deserve to do well.
Create a revision timetable – and stick to it!
If you’re running low on time, you need to allocate enough of it to each module/exam. A revision timetable can be really useful but only if you stick to it. Don’t give yourself too much to do in a day because this will only make you more stressed. Crossing things off can really help you feel productive and is a visual way of seeing what you know. Remember to plan in breaks as well as this is so important.
The final days running up to an exam can be very stressful, especially if you don’t know as much as you perhaps should, but don’t panic! Plan your time carefully, keep going over notes and stay calm. You’ve got this.