10 Tips - Exam Revision
Tip #1 – Why should I revise?
Revision of the subjects that you have studied is important A) to ensure that you understand the topic that you are having an exam in B) to help you memorise what you have learnt and understood in your lectures C) to allow you to reflect on the topics and areas that you do not understand so well so that you can concentrate your revision on these and D) to plan and write answers to practice questions.
Tip #2 – Start revising early
Good study habits start at the beginning of the year and as such you should have been revising throughout the year. You can do this by spending some time after each lecture (or series of linked lectures) reviewing what you have learnt. This can done by writing brief notes of the subject area you have just studied, including any areas that you do not understand. These notes can then be the basis of your final revision before your exams.
Tip #3 – Do not put it off
Procrastination is the avoidance of doing something which needs to be completed. You may be very busy tidying your room, hoovering, dusting, folding all your clothes nicely, writing a letter to your mum, watching YouTube videos on penguins or walking the dog but you are not doing what you should be doing – set times, targets and rewards and do your revision.
Tip #4 - Measure your revision progress
Have a look at past papers or other recommended sources of practice questions. In addition both of our courses give plenty of opportunities to practice questions before exams – this allows you to measure your revision progress. Even our students get in on the act and help you practice! Our students write questions and submit them to a website (https://peerwise.cs.auckland.ac.nz/) so that they can be shared with everyone else for revision.
However, don’t fall in to the trap of thinking that similar questions will come up each year or questions that have been used one year won’t be used the next year. Lecturers are sneaky…
Tip #5 – Read, write, check, remember….
Your brain is not a sponge, it needs to be exercised. If you went to the gym to get some exercise just standing there looking at the weights or the running machine is not going to do anything. You need to be active, you need to be involved. The same is true of your brain. Just reading your lecture notes won’t do it. You need to be ‘active’. Read the notes, put them down (so you can’t see them), recall the material (re-write or redraw it), and then check it against your original notes. Doing this will strengthen the memory of the material.
Tip #6 – Work in blocks
During your revision time try to work in 2-3 hour blocks with minibreaks (every 30 minutes or so – not every 10 minutes) along the way. This gives you time to concentrate on a subject but is not too long to get tired and bored with a particular subject area. You should not spend all day on one subject – change to a different area or completely new subject after one block of study. This will keep you fresh and interested in what you are doing.
Tip #7 – Test yourself
A day after you have revised a subject – write a page of bullet points on that subject without looking at any of your previous revision notes and then review to see what you have remembered and to see what you still need to work on.
Tip #8 – Ask your lecturers
Your lecturers are always there to help you. If you do not understand a concept or a particular subject area – contact them or go and see them. They will be able to help you by going through the subject area and explaining it in a different way from the original lecture, guiding you to further reading that may be relevant or advising you on how to study and revise – but note – A) Give them some warning before you go and see them – they may be busy and B) Do not ask them what the exam questions will be - they will NOT tell you.
Tip #9 – Practice writing essays
You will be revising for different types of examinations during your time at University; they may be multiple choice type, short answer or essay type. Each type of exam needs a different type of revision. For essays based examinations you should practice by answering previous exam questions in essay form under exam conditions. So revise the subject area and then sit down with no notes and answer the exam question as an essay in the time you would have had in the exam. This helps you practice writing at speed under exam conditions and gives you practice at writing essays. You may ask a lecturer or your tutor to look at the essay that you have written to see if you have answered the question correctly, structured the essay appropriately etc. but remember, you need to give the lecturer time to do this – DO NOT do it the night before the examination and expect a reply.
Tip #10 – Keep the blood flowing to your brain
Your brain needs food, your brain needs oxygen. If you just sit there revising for hours and hours you are going to get slow, tired and sluggish; your brain is not going to get the food and oxygen it needs to help you revise. Take a break, get up from the desk, have a snack and go for a walk in the fresh air. Clear your brain and then come back and start revising again. You will be more productive and get more done.
published on: 10 April 2017