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8 Exam hacks as told by lecturers

So you’re battling through your revision like a pro and have mastered the way of studying, but did you know there are some simple hacks to help you ace your exams? We spoke with lecturers who have shared their words of wisdom to help you before and during your exams.

Ahead of your exams

  1. Get enough sleep as it’s important for memory consolidation.
  2. Use a mind map to organise your revision as it helps you to digest and reinterpret what you’ve learnt.
  3. Allow yourself enough time to prepare, your lecturers know you’re busy with part-time jobs and other important commitments, but the evidence suggests that careful time management works better than last-minute revision.
  4. Collaborate with other students. You might be alone in the exam, but that doesn’t mean you can’t prepare by working with friends to find the best way of verbalising answers.
  5. Don’t panic! Most individual exams count only a few percent towards your final degree, and almost all students under-perform at least once.

During your exams

  1. Use the question phrasing (‘briefly’, ‘in one sentence’ etc.) and the number of marks allocated to a particular section of a question to guide the length of your answer.
  2. Where the paper allows you to select questions, allocate time to read through the whole exam paper and tick-off individual sections of questions that you feel confident answering, and only then make your selection of questions.
  3. Always include your numerical working in your written answer – this may allow the marker to give you partial credit if you get the final answer wrong. And if your final numerical answer does not seem correct then, include a statement in your answer saying this and suggest the numerical range in which you would expect the answer to fall. This can help to demonstrate undertaking, and can receive credit. Also, don’t omit the units from numerical answers.

As Senior Lecturer, Dr Steven Jones says, the most important thing in any exam is to relax and to see the assessment as what it is – an opportunity to demonstrate your engagement with a subject that you enjoy. Your lecturers aren’t trying to catch you out, so don’t second guess what they are looking for. Just answer the questions in the way you feel is most appropriate, and which best showcases your own understanding of the unit’s content.

For more tips and advice on your upcoming exams, check out Exam Extra for revision support.