With end of semester exams on the way, it’s time for a few exam hints to get you through the study period so you don’t have to resort to this:
Here’s a few that have helped us through the years:
o1 :: Write notes in your own handwriting: it sounds simple, but this is a fantastic way of facilitating your memory. For some people, re-writing out your entire compliment of notes (combining lecture notes, your notes and extra tid bits) is the best way to remember everything. For others, you may want to try something less extreme.
o2 :: If repeatedly writing something over and over again won’t help, write your notes in a new format. You may need to do something more engaging e.g. write an acronym.
o3 :: Are you a visual learner? Take over the kitchen and bathroom with hand-made posters. If you make them yourself you will remember the content better e.g. write out things like the process of photosynthesis and stick it up on your kitchen wall. That way you’ll revise it every morning over breakfast.
o4 :: Make your own flashcards.
o5 :: Get together with a friend and each of you draw a diagram but leave the labels out. Swap with your friend and see which areas you can fill in.
o6 :: Colour your notes: Relating information to colours will help you remembering.
o7 :: Take short breaks for exercising or doing something fun. When you are relaxing your give your brain some time to encode what you just learned and put it into your long-term memory.
o8 :: Before you start, clean up your room so that you wont be distracted (the only time it’s almost fun to clean your room is when you have to study if you don’t)
o9 :: Utilise your lecturers – they are there to help if you do not understand something. But approach them with organised questions. They will be unable to help you if turn up saying you need help understanding a whole topic.
1o :: Bouncing ideas off friends can be a great way to learn – but know your strengths. If group work distracts you, work alone.
11 :: Answer lots of practise questions. The only way to truly test your understanding of concepts is to utilise practise exams and questions. The best way to learn is by getting the questions wrong and having to investigate where you made a mistake – so celebrate incorrect answers!
12 :: Don’t forget to revise your prac book – most exams will test you on practical knowledge, or even prac procedures (e.g. what to clean a pipette out with if you are using X chemical).
13 :: Prepare the night before: get all your exam equipment, student card and seat number ready. Arrive nice and early to double-check your seat number and ensure you’re there for reading time. You don’t need the added stress of things going wrong on the day of your exam.
14 :: Sleep! Some people will pull all-nighters the night before the exam. Sleeping and dreaming is actually critical for converting short-term memory into long-term. You will recall more facts after a decent night’s sleep, believe it or not!
15 :: On that note, eat lots, too. Your brain won’t function without food. You may not feel hungry (the adrenaline produced during study will quell your appetite), but your brain won’t power as well on empty.
16 :: Previous themes will give you an idea of what questions will be asked – look out for these in past exams!