Last year, nearly 83.4% of UK University students who looked for help and guidance before exams indicated that they suffered from mental stress.
Inadequate preparation (55%), inability to go through an overwhelming amount of information (32%), and poor revision techniques or other personal reasons (13%) led to such stress.
So how should you revise? PhD Tutors, a global education consultancy, have pulled together tips, advice and strategies from lecturers so you can et the best out of your time.
1. Strategise: learn; recall; apply
Maxime Morariu-Patrichi, a PhD student at Imperial College London explained that "students always struggle with preparing for multiple exams in different areas and dealing with a high volume of lecture material and tutorials". So, for different types of exams, different strategies are needed.
Identify key topics, facts, figures and examples that can be used to answer open book exams. A sheet summarising such information can be used during the exam rather than rummaging through books. However, for closed book exams, don't spend all the time in learning the topics! Recapitulation is the secret to success – using hints, names, colours, shapes, and places to brain-tag facts and figures is unbeatable. Finally, applying the knowledge to answer questions or solve problems is indispensible to boost confidence.
2. Manage: identify; prioritise; review; be flexible
Identify relevant past papers, lectures, and hints from the lecturers and tutors that are important for the exams. Prioritise these topics; always practice and revise difficult topics first.
"Be smart and ask the lecturer to provide feedback on your mock answers from past papers. You will greatly improve how you approach the real exam questions", said Dr. Alessandro Giudici, Lecturer at Cass Business School.
Also, set a schedule and realistic milestones of progress, but understandably progress can be slower than expected. So review the performance every few days and modify schedules if needed.
3. Practice: research; engage; review
If support is needed, don't be shy about seeking guidance or just have a casual chat with people who have ‘been there, done that'! Look around for the right kind of guidance; be it from friends, family, lecturers or tutors. Do this well in advance. After all, specialist guidance and practice is key. “Prepare all possible topics, full structured answers for possible questions and always include relevant real-world examples”, suggested Joana Malato who lectures at Cardiff Metropolitan University.
As advised by Dr. Anthony Basel, External Examiner at Oxford University, “before you start writing, be sure you have read every question. Sometimes the next question can give insight into what they are looking for in a previous question. Prioritise. Check the value of each question. If your exam has a time limit be sure to do the questions that have the best return on your investment!”.
4. Breathe: eat; rest; play
“Take regular breaks. Walk briskly for ten minutes. You’ll come back to revision refreshed and better able to concentrate”, advised Dr. Victoria Tischler, a leading Psychologist and BBC presenter.
So, don't snack or hibernate. Sleep well and eat small healthy meals throughout the day, at set times – this will increase productivity. Keep in touch with friends and colleagues, and briefly check social media or news updates but avoid overindulgence, for sure.