How to approach exams

Prepare for your exam early 

Exam preparation starts at the beginning of the term. But, you already knew that. This means studying more than the night before. Give yourself time (when you aren’t totally exhausted) to go through all of the resources you have at hand: your textbook, lectures and study notes. Also prepare yourself. You can’t get good study done on an empty stomach or with weary eyes. Once you’re alert and you get your teeth into the content, remember to take breaks and get a good night’s rest before the end of subject showdown.


Be organised

Imagine working hard all semester, missing that party to study and reading theories till your eyes ache to miss your exam and fail the course. Lay everything you need out before you fall asleep and set your alarm bright and early, especially if you have one of those torturous 8am exams. You have enough to think about. There isn’t room in your head for traffic, getting petrol, finding a coffee shop on the way, or the fact your socks don’t match. Get a good breakfast in your system and arrive at least 30 minutes before the study hall opens. Now you can relax and get that last minute cramming in. If you have an online exam, set yourself up with the same time preparation in a study space free of distraction.


Exploit perusal time

Read the question. Read it again. Make sure you know exactly what it’s asking of you. Break it down into bite size pieces. Highlight, underline, or circle important points and make notes about relevant theories or other course content where possible. This will help you down the line when your brain is tiring.


Plan your exam

Now that you know what to do, organise your time. It can help to scribble out a schedule. Prioritise the exam and give yourself extra time for difficult or long-winded questions. This stops you from frantically jotting misspelled bullet points in hope that your lecturer has the vision and creativity to understand your illiterate ramblings at the final five minute call. Leave a fraction of time at the end to give your work a final once over.


Check, check, and triple check

Now that you’re exam is done and you’re gleaming with pride, give it one last review. Make sure you: answered every question (and every part of the questions), put in relevant theories, made correct use of punctuation and remembered your spelling rules from primary school like “I before e except after c.”


Congratulations, that concludes the examination.

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