Exam season is coming up! Ok so that might not be what most you want to hear if you’re panicking about your exams… but unfortunately it is soon approaching now that the term has finished for Christmas. But I don’t want to scare you, I want to give you advice on how best to approach your exams.
Tip 1: Read but dont read too much. You’re told repeatedly by your lecturers and seminar tutors that you need to read more than the recommended readings and this is true. The recommended readings are there to give you an overview of the topic. They tell you, in a little more detail, what you have learnt in the lectures, therefore they are necessary so that you have a full understanding of the topic. But to get the higher grades you need to go out and find your own information. There are several ways to go about finding readings:
- Module handbook and lectures- these outline extra readings around each topic.
- Google scholar- type a topic or a question into the google scholar search bar and it will display articles and books around that area.
- Library website- again, use the search bar to find relevant readings.
But there is such a thing as too much reading as well. I have made the mistake of reading and reading and reading which caused me to have too much information to try and revise over. Once I’d read loads I wanted to remember it all but that was completely impossible. So try and balance it out. Read the recommended readings and then a couple of extra bits on top of that and you should be good to go.
Tip 2: Remember what your lecturers have said about topics in the exam. If they have said that you get a choice out of 6 questions then you don’t need to revise over every topic you’ve learnt about, just pick your favourite few and concentrate on gaining a full understanding of them. By putting all your effort into just one or two topics you have a higher chance of generating a better quality answer.
Tip 3: I have always found that my preferred revision technique is to write whole answers to questions and then break it down to form a plan, for instance for an answer on impression management I kept breaking down my answer until I got to these headings…
1) Civil inattention 2) Biological vs social 3) Ethnomethodology 4) Symbolic Interactionism 5) Goffman
I would write brief bullet points for each section including names of theorists, their idea and critiques of their work. I find that linking ideas to headings is a good way to remember information because it breaks it down into more manageable chunks rather than trying to remember a whole page of notes.
Tip 4: Read then revise. Make sure to get your reading done before you start revising because otherwise you might start confusing yourself if you find extra information to add to your revision notes. Once you’ve done all of your reading you can get all of your notes together and start on creating revision sheets (like posters, cue cards etc.).
Tip 5: Try not to panic! Ok so this is probably the toughest one to follow because I know I panic a lot when it comes to exams. But sometimes nerves are a good thing because they’ll get you motivated to work hard. But when it comes to the day just tell yourself that you do understand the information because, providing you have done the appropriate amount of revision, you do know it. Sometimes it might help to not meet up with the people on your course beforehand because that often turns into a conversation about the exam which might panic you.
Lastly, best of luck to everybody! I hope this blog helps and that your revision and exams go well.