Here are a few key tips on how to prepare successfully for an exam:
- Allow yourself plenty of time- start planning early.
- Make sure you have a clear idea of when your essays are due and when your exams commence. This will allow yourself to prepare adequately for both your exams and essays. Make sure you allow yourself enough time to complete your essays and still have plenty of time for revision.
- It is a good idea to think about which topics you would like to do for your essays and exams and complete the lecture and key readings for these topics throughout the academic year, preventing stress at exam time.
- Ensure you come fully prepared for seminars as these topics are likely to arise within your assessments.
- Get books early to photocopy or to take notes from, just in case they are unavailable throughout the assessment period.
- Try and prioritise your time spent on your essays and exams depending upon their weighting within the module e.g. generally, you should spend more time on an exam worth 50% of a module, than an exam worth 20% of a module. Although if one module is particularly challenging it may be good to allocate more time to it to gain a better level of understanding.
- Make a detailed revision plan for the weeks preceding the exams.
- You can find out when your exams dates are by checking the Cardiff University main site on the following link: www.cardiff.ac.uk/regis/sfs/exams/
Exam Preparation - Spider Diagram
It’s important that you find a method of revision which is suitable and works for you. Here are a few ideas to revise which you may find useful:
- Reduce your knowledge and break it down into sections- picking out the main points of the information which you are required to learn and reducing this information further by picking out the main point again. Continue this process until you have clear sections and key words, which will act as reminders to remember all of the information.
- Continuously write out the all of the required information over and over again until you no longer require the original notes and you can remember all of the information from memory. Test yourself or get your friends to test you to see if you can remember all of the information.
- Good for visual learners: break the information down into reduced, summarised sections and present it colourfully on A3 paper in the form of a spider diagram (example picture at the centre of the page).
- Use past papers to make detailed plans and use these for revision guides. To reach these, take the following link: http://exampapers.cf.ac.uk/cgi-bin/papers.pl?dcode=socsi
Planning early and being prepared will mean that you can spread out the workload over a long period of time, reducing stress, increasing confidence and increasing the possibility that you will achieve a better grade!