January 2017: How to prepare for exams

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It is scientifically proven that everybody learns in different ways and therefore it is very important to find the method that works best for you. However, if you don’t even know how to start revising for your exams here are some of my favourite study tips that have helped me to get through my exam periods so far.

First of all, always take notes when you are reading or listening to your lecturer. During my undergraduate degree, I was known as ‘Summary Sandra’ because I always took notes and later shared them with my classmates. I know it can be annoying, time-consuming and you just want to finish reading the chapter as soon as possible but taking notes in form of bullet points can help you to save some timer later on. Reading and simultaneously writing down the most important arguments will also increase the chance that you will remember those during your exams.

I always organise my notes with headings and subheadings to make it easier to find specific topics when I start revising. Word offers a really helpful tool that most people seem to overlook: the navigation area. You can find the navigation area under the view tab. If you have used suggested ‘styles’ to organise your document, you will be able to see an interactive list of content on the side. I know Word ‘styles’ do not look very nice, but don’t worry – you can adjust them very easily.

Now that your notes are in perfect shape and order, you can start studying. It always helps me to write down the most important models or definitions by hand. Therefore, study cards can be a helpful tool as well. Use colours to highlight aspects or important details that you are having a hard time to remember.

From now on it is up to you and your motivation: revise the most important topics, think of practical examples, and maybe even write a trial essay to get used to the time pressure. Study groups can be either effective or a waste of time. You will need to find friends that can stay focused to make sure you are actually revising and not talking about your weekend plans. If you have found the right people, discussing difficult topics will help you to develop a better understanding and to add different viewpoints to your analysis.

I hope that these tips will help some of you to get through your exam period a little bit more organised and stress-free than usual. However, some sort of chaos is never a bad thing. At least for me, increased pressure usually also increases the effectiveness of my learning.

But enough of exams: here are some pictures of my holiday back home in Austria where my friend Diana, who I met through one of the University societies, visited me for a week.

Hallstatt

Hallstatt

Dachstein Glacier

Dachstein Glacier

Inside the Glacier

Inside the Glacier

Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland

Navigation function in Microsoft Word

Navigation function in Microsoft Word

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Sandra Linner

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