Exams are fast approaching and we want to do all we can to support you over the next few months. Sometimes it can feel like nothing is going in and you don’t know where to start with your revision. If you are not really sure what sort of methods work best for you or want to know how to make revision less painless and more engaging, have a look at the tips sent in by our very own Nottingham students this summer!
Study and Exam Revision Tips
I study physics and I has me lots of them equations to learn. I find it beneficial to set the equations to popular tunes, or make them into rhyming couplets / poems so them stick in my head better.
I find it's a good idea to do some exercise at some point during each day for about an hour, whether it's in the form going for a walk, playing frisbee or going to the gym. It's good for stress relief. And it's true that it takes up a bit of time, but it's time that would probably be spent procrastinating otherwise.
Write your notes on tiered flashcards – the first level has lots of detail, the second a little less and the third just keywords. Learn from the first tier and work your way down and by the end you should be able to give as much detail as is on the first flashcard using only the keywords on the third.
As despairing as it seems, choose a topic covered by say 3 lectures, and write an essay on it (no need for it to be large). doing this digests the information, and forces you to restructure it in a coherent narrative. It also gives essay writing practice, which is basically what the exams are at the moment. An essay speed writing contest.
Study groups will force you to work in times when Fifa looks like so much more fun.
1) Get all your lecture notes down in handwritten form rather than typeface - your brain recognises the patterns better and finds it easier to memorise the facts
2) If you find it easy to learn audibly, read out your notes and put them on your iPod as a podcast.... when you're walking down the street and one shuffles on you get a spontaneous revision session. Plus you'll recognise your own voice and once again your brain will find it easier to remember the thoughts when you were reading them out
Stay focused and don't get yourself distracted. Make a revision plan i.e. organize the subjects you want to revise in time slots of 2, 3, 4 ... hours, each day. Don't forget to add a break to the plan. During break don't think about studies; during studies don't think about anything else. Make notes during revision, the important bits.
For essay modules, write as many practise essays as you can.
Have a look at the past exam papers first, so you will have an idea of what to concentrate about when studying
Read notes from the lecture slides and then write out what you can remember. Keep going back to the slides until you're able to write out everything on them.
Start revision early. Try and do readings just after the lecture and write notes, as lecture notes will make more sense and will be fresh in your mind. So many times I haven't understood the context of my lecture notes!!
Listen to the Rocky Balboa soundtrack as you revise and in return you'll be able to revise with maximum motivation.
Use music from a playlist or iPod rather than YouTube. Listening to small YouTube playlists or single songs makes you constantly pop back to the tab which leads to further procrastination!
Try to understand rather than learn. Then practise your understanding with previous exam questions.
I find the best way is to go for a run/cycle for 20-30 mins as soon as I wake up. It vastly improves concentration, particularly during the first few hours, and you'll also feel less guilty about eating so many "revision" snacks!
There is lots of information available on coping with exam stress. For more support check out:
- The Exam Stress vlog by Rosie, the Equal Opportunities and Welfare Officer:
- Come along to the de-stressing Taster sessions at your Student volunteer Centre in January! Some of the JCR’s are also organising tea and cake evenings and other events to give you time to relax.
- The ‘Dealing with Assessment and Examination Anxiety’ booklet created by the Counselling service - http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/counselling/documents/examstressbooklet.pdf
Copies can also be collected free of charge from the University Counselling Service in Trent Building
- Study skills advice and support is available from course tutors, Academic Support and numerous websites and books. Academic Support can also help with specific concerns such as dyslexia.