I know what you’re thinking. Isn’t it a bit early in the year for all this? It’s only the first term, you just got here and you don’t even know how to work the washing machines yet. Second years, you’ve only just recovered from last year and don’t even want to think about the fact that this year actually counts towards your degree. And as for you third years, you’re in so much denial about your decreasing time here at Brunel that you’ve convinced yourself that you’re a fresher again.
However, if you want to do well with your degree, it’s never too early to start thinking about two of the most feared words a student knows... No, not Student Finance. I’m talking about revision and exams. Here are eight handy tips on how to cope with them:
1. When you are trying to study, make sure you’re in a suitable place for revising. I’m sure your flat kitchen, your living room, the U3 bus and the back table at Locos on Karaoke Night while someone is murdering a Beyoncé song are places you love to be, but they are not places to revise. Crazy idea: perhaps try the library. Even your bedroom is fine as long as you lock the door and minimise all distractions. Clear the space around you, have everything you need out, crack open a window and get started.
2. Stop avoiding revision. Stop making food to avoid revision. Stop cleaning your bathroom to avoid revision. Stop trying on clothes to avoid revision. Stop calling your grandparents to avoid revision. Stop tweeting about avoiding revision. Just stop. The longer you avoid it, the more you’ll have to do later, so get on with it.
3. Reward yourself with treats of your choice. You finish reading a chapter of your textbook? Have a few gummy bears. You finally solved that equation? Take a ten minute power nap. You finally memorised that case study? Watch half an episode of Game of Thrones. Same goes for when you’re writing coursework. Just don’t reward yourself too much otherwise you’ll never get anything done.
4. Two words: Sticky Notes. They’re bright and colourful and bound to catch your attention. Just write quotes, dates, statistics, facts and whatever else you need to know on them and stick them around. Do a lap of your room a couple of times a day and you’ll have them memorised in no time.
5. Some people prefer to revise with other people; if that works for you form a study group. The emphasis is on the word ‘study’ though – no talking about what happened on Keeping Up With The Kardashians or complaining about Rooney’s shocking tackle last night. You have to study. However, if you prefer to study independently then that’s fine too; you can always call on a friend or your lecturers if you do get stuck.
6. Depending on your course, you may or may not encounter a seen examination. You get the exam paper you will sit a week before the exam date, and you have that week to prepare your answers. Some people see this as an ‘easy’ exam, which it can be, if you revise appropriately for it. However, if you don’t bother revising for it just as you would an unseen exam then you may be looking at the business end of a big fat fail.
7. Allocate time to study. Each module you take needs attention. Divide up your time depending on the weightings of your modules and the weightings of the different assessments in each module. Obviously a module worth 40 credits needs more time than a module worth 20, and an exam worth 50% of a module needs more attention than a piece of coursework or presentation worth 10%.
8. The final piece of advice is about the day of the exam itself. Give yourself plenty of time to wake up, get ready, have a good breakfast and get to where your exam is. And lastly, make sure you have everything you need for the exam. Pens, pencils, rulers, protractors, rubbers, calculators... Try not to go overboard though; for instance, you can probably leave the industrial sized factory pack of black ballpoints at home.