Preparing for the exam

From the start of the course

To remain calm and positive throughout the preparation process and do well in your exam, you have to start early. Do the required reading for the module on a weekly basis, keep clear notes and file them with the relevant lecture notes and other materials provided by the lecturer. Use coloured dividers to separate topics. This will make it easier to keep your revision materials organised when you add other materials later on.

Nearer the time

A few weeks before the exam, find out what you need to revise. Will all the topics covered in the module be included in the exam? Are there any topics you find particularly challenging (so you need to spend more time on them) or particularly interesting (so you might want to write about them)? Do not take chances: you should be able to answer questions on any topic in the exam.

At this stage, you should begin to familiarise yourself with the type of essay questions used in the exam. Most schools make past exam papers available to their students via the Library website. If you cannot obtain recent papers in this way, the module leader should be able to provide a sample paper.

The next stage is to make a revision timetable. It is important to be realistic: avoid excessively long sessions and allow time for rest and relaxation. This will make it easier to keep to your schedule.

To avoid boredom and get the most of your revision, try different revision techniques; for example:

  • different styles of note-taking (outlines, flow charts and other diagrams, concept maps)
  • memory aids (anagrams, rhymes, word association, pictures)
  • revision cards (affixed to the wall or furniture for quick reference if you wish)
  • group revision (question-and-answer, discussion or information exchange sessions with one or two classmates)

One or two days before the exam, check the time and location of the exam. Avoid all-night – and even late-night – revision sessions: try to get enough sleep to be alert in the exam.

On the day of the exam, make sure that you arrive at least 15 minutes before the exam is due to start. Try to relax as you prepare to start the exam.