With the Summer exams just around the corner, we spoke to Dr Helen Green from LSE LIFE to find out what students can find there in the coming weeks.
Workshops, talks and support for students preparing for their Summer Term exams began in Lent Term, reflecting student feedback that they’d appreciate the opportunity to start thinking about their exam skills before the Easter break. Helen reflects that for many students, being able to access exams workshops this early is reassuring, even if most students begin exam revision in earnest after they finish Lent Term course work.
With the Easter break now over and students returning to campus, the LSE LIFE team have put together a comprehensive programme of support. Helen explains that part of the LSE LIFE space has been set up to mimic exam conditions and students have the opportunity to attend exam practice sessions where they can prepare by bringing along an exam question and spending an hour working on it in silence, writing out their answers. In follow up sessions, students can discuss their answers with members of the LSE LIFE team, teachers from the Language Centre, or a Graduate Teaching Assistant for feedback on style and structure. They can also reflect on their experience on how they managed time during the mock exam and discuss any questions they have about what makes a successful exam answer.
In addition to giving students and opportunity to get hands-on practice and feedback, Helen points out that the sessions are also helpful for students who are nervous at the thought of writing exams by hand because they are more accustomed to working on laptops or tablets. She goes on to say that some of the most common questions or concerns students raise with her are about their handwriting- will it be legible ? will examiners mind if there is crossing out through it? how many pages should there be? etc. The team hope to address as many of these concerns as possible, both in workshops, talks and in the one to one sessions, which run through Summer Term and are available to students with questions about exams or any other study area.
Talks will also focus on exams, with the LSE LIFE team providing tips and advice on areas such as taking exams, understanding and analysing exam questions, revision, and, for PGT students, time management skills to ensure preparation for the exams and dissertation-related work can happen smoothly. Helen describes that one of her favourite tips PGT students can try is to use dissertation preparation as an aid to the revision process. This could be working on areas which crossover both exam revision and literature review, or formulating some key questions from the dissertation and writing responses under timed conditions. This way students practise exam technique and generate draft text for their dissertation. Helen also explains that the revision process does not need to be a solitary activity, with explaining your understanding of a topic to another person, especially if they have no knowledge of the area, an excellent way of testing your own understanding. So far this year, the LSE LIFE team have recommended this technique and, Helen reflects, learned some fascinating things from students who’ve explained a topic or concept to one of the team as part of their revision.
As well as working with a group to revise, LSE LIFE will be encouraging students to take time out to spend some time together in their Take a Break sessions, which will feature relaxation opportunities such as origami, chair yoga and Lego sessions to encourage students to remember to break up their revision with regular breaks to help them make the most of the time they do spend studying.
To find out more about the wide range of support and advice in LSE LIFE, see their website.