For the typical university student, exam periods are by far the most stressful occasions of the year. Whether you were cramming during the semester break or the night before an exam; the past two weeks have been all consuming. So consuming in fact that I personally find the period after exams the most overwhelming. When finally presented with a few days of free time, I can’t decide what to do first. So keep reading for my advice on the best ways to utilize your time post-exams!
R is for… Revise
Revising how you approach an exam is really important. Even if you won’t be tested on the same information again exam technique will be carried forward throughout your course. Did you have an approach for your paper?
Next time, consider reading your paper before answering questions. Often our adrenaline will kick in as soon as your turn over your exam and you actually waste time by quickly answering questions rather than processing them properly. I’ve found reading my paper through allows me to quell my initial anxiety and plan my time accordingly.
Speaking of planning, even a rough bullet point plan that took you approximately 5 minutes to scribble down is a good framework for an essay based paper. You don’t want to get to the end of your essay having forgotten what you were even writing about. A simple plan prevents you both repeating yourself and deviating from the subject matter.
My last tip on how you can improve your exam technique for the future is to plan how long you spend on a question according to the marks you have. If your exam has 120 questions and is 60 minutes long, you should spend 30 seconds on a mark. Setting yourself targets will prevent you from wasting time on questions and make sure you finish in time!
R is also for… Reflection
Reflection doesn’t have to be a structured process. If you do want some structure on reflection then the Gibbs model is a popular one to apply to the revision process. There are 5 stages to the Gibbs model:
Feelings: What were you feeling?
Evaluation: Positives and Negatives
Analysis: What effect did these have on the event?
Conclusion: What conclusion can you draw
Action Plan: What are you taking forward?
Reflection on your exam process can be anywhere from your revision to taking the exam itself. You may use it for exam technique as mentioned before. Or you can reflect on your exam preparation. Did you study alone or in a group? Were those all-nighters in the Ali-G really that beneficial? Memorisation vs Active Recall?
Bringing awareness to your studying habit can improve the efficiency of your studying in the long term. You won’t have to work as hard to achieve the results you want!
R is finally for… Relax
Semester 2 has already begun but don’t forget about having a little breather! You now finally have time to catch up on Netflix without the guilt and take useless BuzzFeed quizzes to find out where you should go on holiday based on your eye colour.
That being said, don’t spend all your time indoors in front of a screen.
While the weather is Manchester is less than impressive at the moment, try and make an effort to get out and see friends. Everyone has been so busy over the last few weeks, you’ll find yourself craving some company. Watch a movie, go out for ice-cream, have a night out. The choice is yours. The Students’ Union always has events on. Recharge and regroup before your workload starts to increase once again!