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Exam tips

Studying for an exam in UK and US universities can be very stressful. English language degrees are often very intensive, and unlike other educational programmes, exams are essential part of your final grade. There are many students who have excellent knowledge of a certain subject and yet they fail during the exam. As an undergraduate or postgraduate student, you may have frequent exams throughout a certain module.

For more information on how to handle exams, contact us at 020 3292 1343 to speak to one of our experts.

Here are several simple rules on how to optimise your exam performance, and to handle stress while studying for a test or exam.

Be consistent in your preparation

Being consistent and systematic in your preparation is important for your success. Before each exam, create a study plan with all the subjects which you need to cover. The study plan can be based on the lecture themes followed by your professor, and covered in your syllabus. Every day cover a specific subject/lecture theme and take consistent notes. Some students find it useful to write the notes in hand, to make sure the information does not evaporate. Allocate a specific amount of time to study each day, and most importantly, DO NOT leave it till the last moment!

Where and how to study?

Some students find it useful to study outdoors or in public areas such as the university library or the study lounge. Others prefer to study outdoors, because they get easily distracted. If you are the second type of person and you get easily distracted, then stay indoors. It is often useful to prepare for an exam in study groups, organised with classmates or even friends. Again, this is very individual. Some students find it useful to interact with others, while others prefer to study on their own.

Release the stress and don’t panic!

It is very important to know how to release the stress during the exam preparation. Take short, relaxing breaks between your studies, go for a walk, or do something completely unrelated to your studies. Having your focus on the textbooks all the time might lead to what is often known as “blank mind”, where you feel all the information has been deleted. Most importantly, don’t panic – during the preparation or during the exam itself. Stay calm, even when you feel you have to cover many subjects in a short period of time. Remember, there is plenty of time for everything, if you manage your time properly.

Revise properly

Revision is essential, especially for those who prepare for exams in the field of the humanities, where the textual information is substantial. Here is a very simple, but useful trick on how to revise – do not go through all the contents of your notes again, because this would simply make you feel crammed with information. Do not be discouraged if you feel that the information you are revising is completely new. It is not. It is in your memory, and the revision will help you recall the most important concepts. Start from the oldest theme you have covered for the exam, and proceed with the ones which you have studied last. Some students find it useful to do what is called random revision. They revise the topics which they feel least comfortable with.

During the exam - focus, focus, focus!

There are two important rules during each exam – relax and focus. After you have relaxed, you can begin with the questions. First and most important – go through all the questions quickly and start from the ones you find the easiest. Do not panic if you see a difficult question, and do not think about it while answering the easy ones. You will get to the difficult questions last. Be goal oriented. Remember, your purpose is to answer the question. Read it carefully. Make sure you understand the question, and do not try to be inventive and original. Most exams are designed to test your basic understanding of a particular subject, not your ability to provide original research. After you finish with a question, ask yourself: “Have I answered the question?”. If you have time, proofread your work.

Remember –even if you feel like you don’t know any of the questions, TRY. Never quit and never leave early!

Below you will find a link, which contain useful tips on how to study:

http://www-users.york.ac.uk/~dajp1/Exam_Hints/Exams.html

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