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Magdalena

May 8th, 2023

7 tips for exam preparation that are actually helpful

0 comments | 1 shares

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Magdalena

May 8th, 2023

7 tips for exam preparation that are actually helpful

0 comments | 1 shares

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

It’s the start of the Summer Term which means that exams are getting relentlessly close. Exams are no doubt a challenge, but for postgraduate students, this exam season is most probably the last in our lifetimes so it can also be weirdly enjoyable. The key to it is not just preparation but having a successful strategy.

These tips will help you to prepare for your exams strategically to ensure success. I implemented them during my undergraduate studies and now when I’m preparing for exams at LSE.

Understand what you need to know and plan accordingly

Start by taking a look at the past papers available at LSE For You and reviewing the marking scheme and any available guidance which should be included on your courses’ Moodle pages. Past papers in particular will help you get a sense of the format and types of questions you can expect to see on the exam.

LSE postgraduate exams are typically 2-3 hours long and are either open book or closed book. Sometimes you can bring relevant materials or help, such as a calculator. Make sure you know that beforehand.

Review course material as soon as possible

Go through your lecture notes, course readings, and any additional material provided by your professor – the sooner, the better.

Identify topics that you’re the most confident about and/or you’d enjoy exploring more and treat them strategically. Treat the course material you already have as the base and identify gaps in your knowledge, for example areas that require you to do stronger revision or additional reading.

Make a revision plan

Include reviewing materials, doing an additional reading, making essay plans, taking practice exams, and revising.

Ideally, start early, but if that’s not the case, be realistic about what you can do. Don’t plan too much and make sure to allocate time for breaks.

Prioritise, prioritise, prioritise

What 20% of all the things there are to do will guarantee you 80% of success? Start with that 20%.

Is there a basic minimum that you need to know? Are there two or three topics that appear on exam papers each year? Do you feel okay about some materials but terrible about others?

Be smart and prioritise. There’s no point in doing chronological revision, for example, if the topics you feel are your weakest are at the end of the course.

Incorporate study methods that work for you

It might be flashcards, making notes, trying to repeat what you’ve learned out loud or making essay plans. You know yourself the best, take advantage of the methods that work for you.

Try to enjoy the process

See preparation for exams as a chance for a unique in-depth exploration of the topics you’re passionate about. Some ways to make the process fun are to try to gamify the preparation or have study sessions with friends.

Take care of your health

Last but not least, be sure not to forget about yourself in the exam rush and take care of your physical and mental health. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, there are resources provided by LSE to help you.

Finally, if you have individual concerns about exam preparation, you can get help from LSE LIFE Study Advisers at one-to-one sessions.

About the author

Magdalena

Hi, I’m Magda, a Sociology master’s student coming from Poland. I’m interested in the issues of class and social stratification as well as history, which I studied for my undergraduate degree. I have an artistic soul and enjoy literature, cinema and theatre.

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