Exam Preparation Tips: How to Ace It

Exam Season got you on edge? NxtStep has got you sorted! Here are our quick-fire and fool-proof hacks to help you survive exams at University!

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Step one: Find out EVERYTHING about the exam.

The first step to acing your exams is to find out everything about the exam. This will help you to tailor your studying, so you can actually spend time focusing on the key material and addressing the areas you need to work on. So how do you do that? Do your research.

Firstly, you’ll want to ask your university lecturers and teaching assistants about the content that will be assessed and how it will be assessed. Find out how long the exam will be, what style of exam you will be sitting and what content in particular will be assessed. To find out more about your upcoming exams, you can also reach out to other uni students who have sat that exam in the past. Ask for their advice on the subject matter and learn all their tips and tricks. Lastly, have a look at past exam papers to see how these exam questions have been asked. Look at the wording, the styles of questions, and the exam format. All this knowledge put together will give you a great understanding of what content will be assessed and how it will be assessed.

Step 2: Find out everything about yourself

How will this up your exam game? Think about the last time you switched up your study habits? If you find studying, revising, and learning challenging, you need to reconsider how you study. Changing how you study and where you study can boost your productivity and get you out of that “Study Slump”. The more enjoyable you find the experience, the more you’ll want to study and the more stress-free it will become. The first thing you’ll want to consider is your learning style, based on your learning style you can create a study routine and study style that will maximise your learning potential at your own pace and enjoyment. 

Handy Hint: Find activities you enjoy doing and incorporate elements of study. For example, if you enjoy creating music, you could write a song to help you learn the content. If you love watching movies and tv shows, find online videos and documentaries that also cover the course material. Redefine what you think is study and learn course material in a way that is engaging and enjoyable for you. You’ll be surprised at how much better and faster you learn. 

Step 3: Make sure you “know” all the content

So now you know what will be assessed and have changed up your study habits, but do you actually understand all of the material that will be assessed? Having a thorough and working understanding of the content will ensure that no matter what questions are asked, you will be able to piece together an answer in the exam and get points for your knowledge. At least two weeks before the exam, make sure that all your notes are in order and start working towards a study plan. The best way to do this is to break down all your content into smaller topics and concepts. Start with the hardest concepts and work your way through to the easier concepts. 

Handy Hint: A good way to test yourself is to sit an mock exam with past papers. Put yourself in test-conditions for at least 15 minutes. In this time make a detailed plan on how you would address certain questions. If you are feeling pretty confident after your personal study, it’s time to take your knowledge the group. If you are struggling or avoiding certain questions or content, take another look at your notes and reach out for support from teaching staff.

Step 4: Reach out for additional support!

If you are still finding some areas of the content confusing or not quite sure you totally understand a topic, the best people to reach out to are your Lecturers and Teaching team. They will all have office hours and help sessions leading up to the exam, so make sure to attend these and bring along your questions. They will be more than happy to help you out and will support you in your exam preparation. Your University will also have many other great places where you can get help and find all the resources you need to ace your exams. Make sure to check out your Universities’ library services, student associations and student clubs for workshops, digital resources, and more which will provide you with some great study tips and methods and help you navigate tricky content.

Step 5: The Non-Academic Exam Prep

Content wise all sorted and geared to go? 
Now it’s time to come up with an exam-day plan. This will help to reduce your exam anxiety and help you bring you’re A-game. A couple of days before your exam, plan out how you will allocate your time when you are in the exam room. You’ll want to spend more time on questions that are worth more points to get you the best grade! A couple of other things you’ll want to plan in advance are: some snacks for before and after the exam, your stationery, a drink-bottle and your notes. Some exams have certain conditions, so make sure to check what these are this in advance to avoid being penalised. On the day, fuel yourself with a big breakfast and  arrive with plenty of time to find your room. A final review of your notes will also help to put your nerves at rest.

Lastly, take a breather. No matter how you fare, you’ve done all the ground-work and put yourself in the best position to succeed, you’ve got this! 

- Eleanor Almeida, Nxtstep Content Writer

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