With Lent Term coming to a rapid close, many, if not all, of you are thinking about several weeks of rest and relaxation. That’s absolutely the right move – it’s been a long term for all of us. You deserve a well-needed break. But at the same time, you’re probably thinking about your upcoming exams and what you need to do to prepare for them. For first year undergraduate students, that’s likely especially true. In this post, I’m going to suggest a few important tips for how best to prepare, from someone who’s both been there and is a current class teacher.
Tip #1: Start Preparing Early
Like I said at the beginning, you should take some time off to relax and recharge after a gruelling term. However, a classic mistake a lot of students make, especially first year students, is that they think they have more time than they have. Soon enough, the exams will be right around the corner. In other words, don’t get caught off guard by your final essays and exams. Start thinking about them early so you have plenty of time to prepare. More preparation will mean you’re more likely to dominate your exams!
Tip #2: Use Your Professors and Class Teachers
Even though your regularly-scheduled classes are ending now, that doesn’t mean your professors and class teachers disappear. While some of you might have revision lectures in the Summer Term, you’re consistent contact with your instructors through your weekly lectures and classes is ending. That being said, your professors and teachers are still a valuable resource you need to take advantage of during the coming weeks. If you have questions, concerns, or just need someone to talk to, reach out to them. They are there to help you prepare and succeed. Use them!
Tip #3: Review Multiple Topics for Your Exams
This suggestion is going to be more case-dependent considering which department your exam is in. Yet in a lot of departments, your final exams will consist of, let’s say, 15-20 questions, and you’ll be asked to answer two or three of them. This can sometimes be an overwhelming exercise, but there are ways to mitigate that potential anxiety. The best way is to ensure you have multiple topics prepared for the exam. My general rule of thumb is 4-6 topics. That way, you’re well-prepared for a range of questions you might get on the exam. The problem with doing too few is that while you might know a topic very well, you might get a question on that topic you don’t feel comfortable answering. If that happens, and it does more often than you think, you don’t want to have too few topics prepared. The more you have ready, the less likely this will happen.
Exam success takes diligence and preparation. It doesn’t just happen – you have to make it happen. Hopefully, some of these tips will help you along the way. Good luck!