It’s exam time! Keep calm and use these study hacks

Posted on October 31, 2019

Here are some handy study hacks that can help you throughout the exam period. Remember to share these tips with your friends so that you can reach the finish line.

  1. Create an exam timetable
  • List all your subjects.
  • List amount of chapters to study per subject.
  • Work out how long you may take to study each chapter.
  • Work out how much time you need per module (each module’s chapters or workload may differ in length).
  1. Prepare for studying
  • Schedule each module into the next few weeks leading up to exams by breaking down the work into individual study sessions.
  • Use free periods in the day between lectures.
  • Schedule time in the evenings for exam preparation.
  • Use weekends effectively.
  • Make time for healthy eating, regular breaks, grooming and resting or relaxation.
  1. Get down to studying
  • Manage your time, be accountable and stick to your study schedule and timetable. Don’t focus on what you should have done. Focus instead on what you can do and get busy doing it. Try not to get stuck in the emotions, rather be solution focused.
  • Don’t spot work, focus on the most important work now.
  • Aim for understanding – not only memorisation!
  • Once you understand, use keywords, images, acronyms, comparison tables, flashcards, mind-maps and other study techniques to organise the information in your mind.
  • Include practical examples in your learning – try and make it personal to you!
  • Test yourself – take the study objectives in your study guide and textbook and turn them into questions. Have “mock exams” with past exam papers.
  • Revision is crucial, make sure you have time to go over your work.
  • Be satisfied with your effort and try your best!
  1. Exam day
  • Sleep early and wake up early enough to arrive comfortably on time.
  • Remember to bring all the necessities such as a calculator, working stationery, student card, and a light jacket for air-conditioned lecture halls.
  • Avoid discussing work before entering the exam hall so you don’t get confused by incorrect information.
  • Be seated early.
  • Avoid panicking – take a deep breath and relax (count).
  • Read exam instructions carefully (format, time, number of questions).
  • Skim through the whole paper to get an overview of what will be required of you so you can pace yourself by allocating enough time to each question.
  • Don’t take too long on questions or sections that you know well. Keep some time over at the end to review all your answers and check that you’ve answered everything.
  • Answer every question!
  • Read the questions carefully and look at what the instruction is for you to understand what answer the examiner is looking for. Look at what the question is asking you to do, such as: list, or describe or analyse. Answer appropriately, for example list what is asked for in a list.
  • Look at the mark allocation for each question, if you are struggling with a question and it is only for 2 or 5 marks, move onto a question where you know the answer well for 10 marks for example. You can always come back to the other question, so don’t waste time if you can’t figure it out just yet.
  • Prioritise the questions you know well.
  • Do not worry if others finish before you.
  • Do not do the post-mortem after you finished the exam; that is, don’t discuss answers with friends because you may have answered something correctly but begin to stress or worry that you have not if your friends, who have answered incorrectly, gave different answers from your own.
- Author Shakira Hoosain and Hestie Byles

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