Exams and Doing Research

Exams and Revision

Planning your revision

  • Devise a revision timetable. Remember to include time for other commitments and time for relaxing. Start your revision early so that you can start with a smaller number of hours and increase these week by week.
  • Look at your course material and list topics to revise for each subject. Past exam papers are useful for this (and are available on LearningSpace). Use them to identify themes and to see how questions are structured.

Key Revision Tips

  • Reduce notes to key headings, points and references (name & date)
  • Work out answers to a range of possible exam questions for each topic so that you feel able to deal with almost any question
  • Practise answering questions from past exam papers. Write some answers under timed conditions
  • Revise everything often. The more often something has been through your mind, the better you will understand and remember it

Before the exam

  • Be prepared: When is the exam? Where is the exam? What time does it start? What do you need to take into the exam with you?

Know your exam paper

  • It will help reduce your nerves if you know what to expect: How many questions are there? How many questions are you required to answer? How long do you have to answer the questions? What types of questions are there? Are some questions compulsory?

The night before the exam

  • Don’t work too hard – if you work all of the night before an exam you will probably be too tired to read the questions properly
  • Don’t start revising completely new areas
  • Read through key points and summaries, not big chunks of text

On the day of the exam

  • Get to the exam room early. Make sure you have plenty of time in case the car does not start or you miss the bus!

Don’t panic – take a moment to calm down

  • Check you are looking at the correct exam paper
  • Read the instructions on the paper carefully
  • Decide on the best order for answering the questions. Many students prefer to start with their ‘best’ question

During the exam

  • Answer the question that has been set – not the one you hoped to see
  • Ignore the fact that everyone around you is scribbling. Take your time to plan your answer
  • Look carefully at the mark allocation for each section – this will help you divide your time correctly
  • Make sure you attempt the required number of questions. Do not spend so long on your ‘good’ question that you leave no time for the last question
  • If time is short, write down an outline of the answer you would have written
  • Allow five minutes at the end to read through your work.
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