By Will (Student Blogger: BSc Hons Entrepreneurship and Management)
It only seems like yesterday when I was arriving at university ready to start the year, full of optimism and confidence on how I would keep on top of work being the best student I could. It therefore seems almost unreal and more than a bit daunting that the word exam is already being thrown around, with expectations of revision mounting by the passing day.
Though it is true that exams are not particularly enjoyable to partake in, if prepared for in ample time they become infinitely more enjoyable, believe it or not. Now I’m not saying I relish the moment that I can sit in a room writing answers to questions for hours on end. However there have been times when I have come out of the exam hall punching the air in extasy and quietly saying to myself ‘think I smashed that’ or words to that effect. These rare occurrences present themselves whenever I give myself ample time to plan and revise for the designated task.
It is true that everyone revises differently, and I, unfortunately, have no advice on what may be the best for those reading to use. There is one universal practice, however, that will ensure the heavy dread felt in your stomach before each exam is lifted. As the old saying goes ‘fail to prepare, then prepare to fail’ this could not be truer for university exams. A lot of students get caught out with mid term exams, expecting all papers to be sat in third term, this is not the case for most courses, however. I know from experience that despite not actually knowing the material for the exam just knowing the time I had left to revise allowed me to plan in my mind the days I had left to get serious and put a pen to paper.
Preparation for an exam doesn’t just relate to knowing when it is going to commence, however. With most university exams you will be told what you’re expected to do well in advance of sitting the paper, do not ignore this. You would be surprised at how many students ‘wing it’ on the day not reading the brief of what is to come and just banking on the exam being a traditional essay format. Your professors want you to pass their modules and 99% of the time provide hints and tips in the lectures and documents that lay out the exam task. Ensuring you are aware of the exam task before you take the paper greatly increases your chances of success, as you will have been able to at least mentally plan what your approach is.
Finally, university exams sometimes allow you to bring in certain articles and books that can be annotated before the exam. If this is the case use it. It’s too late once you’re in the exam hall, so make sure you have all the required readings with you well before. If you are unsure, just check with your lecturers or course leaders; their job is to help you and they will usually give you extra information if you actively seek them out.
University exams may seem scary but using another adage ‘the bark is worse than the bite’ the more aware you are of them and their contents, the easier they are to conquer.