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Study Tips for Exam Season

Woman holding a book over her eyes stressed about the upcoming exam

It’s exam time… I thought it would be a good idea to write some tips on how to prepare and study, especially now that everything has been moved online.

Have Zoom Study Sessions

A great way to study for exams is to do it with other people. With the still ongoing pandemic, we cannot meet in person with people and study. That however should not stop you. Have study zoom meetings. You can ask your fellow classmates questions, test each other and run ideas past each other. Moreover, if someone doesn’t understand something, it is a great opportunity to explain it to each other. If you can explain a topic well, then you know it well too.

Practice Like You Normally Would

With everything being online and open book, most of us feel a tad more relaxed about exams. However, the convenience of an open book exam should not fool you into believing you can copy your way through. Do past exam papers and study like you normally would. A lot of us will have a time limit in our exams, which means that we won’t be able to search for every single answer. The goal is to be able to solve the questions and use your notes if you get stuck.

Re-watch Lectures

A great advantage online learning has provided, is the recorded lectures. In previous years, if you didn’t understand a topic, you’d study harder for it and you’d ask your professors or course mates for help. Now, you can go back and re-watch the lectures. It helps grasp concepts you didn’t understand the first time you saw the videos and it’s also a great way of revising. Make sure you watch all the worked examples as well. They are lifesavers!

Re-write or Go Through Your Notes

A good way to memorise things is to write them down. If you already have written notes, go through them. Highlight important parts, re-write things you don’t remember. Make learning diagrams or categories. Sometimes, a bit of reorganisation of thoughts is all our brains need. So, if you don’t understand something, try turning it around. Change your perspective.

Moreover, use colours. Whether you have written, printed or online notes, a great way of studying for exams is to break them into topics or lectures. Use a different highlighter for every different topic or every single lecture. That way, you are creating little connections in your brain. When you’ll be sitting your exam, your brain will be able to search for a topic based on the colour you have associated with it and so, looking through your notes will be way faster.

Use Your Online Resources

A lot of us have essays as part of our exams. There are a lot of amazing online sites where you can access a variety of articles to search through, but also websites which do the citations and bibliographies for you, just by uploading a link you visited. Google Scholars is a great article research spot, but have you tried Microsoft Academic? They have a bigger collection than Google Scholars, so you are guaranteed to find an article you will both like and be helpful. Furthermore, a great website to use is MyBib. It is a citation webpage which turns your links in citations and makes your bibliographies for you. You can upload the links of the sites you visited and also save any work you’ve done, so that you can come back to it at any time. 

Check the Time Differences

The pandemic has forced most of us to stay home, which means, that every course has students spread all over the world. If you have an exam set within a specific time frame, then check the times. See how many hours difference there is between your country and the UK. See if your exams fall during night-time or daytime according to the time difference. If the exams are during the night-time, then adjust your schedule so that you are wide awake and energised enough to sit the exams.

These are just a few of the tips that have helped me throughout this online exam period and I’m hoping they will be helpful to you too.

Written by student journalist Penny
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