Studying efficiently requires organisation of time and resources. The following points are a general set of guidelines to help you prepare for exams.
Find out the kinds of exams you will be sitting
Different types of exams will require different approaches. Here are some tips:
If you are sitting an exam that requires answers in essay form, find out how many questions you have to answer. For example, if you must answer four questions, select and study four topics in detail plus one extra as a backup topic.
Multiple choice exams
Multiple Choice exams will usually only cover what has been discussed in the lectures and tutorials. Use the course outline as a framework for study. Look for the main ideas and concepts and then find details to support them. Use flash cards to help you memorise the information. On small cards, write down definitions, main ideas and details. You can carry them around with you and use them to drill yourself.
Open book exams
One of the biggest myths about Open Book exams is that you don't need to study for them. While Open Book exam questions don't test your memory, they do test your ability to find and use information, solve problems and apply knowledge effectively. Make sure you are fully familiar with your texts and notes and know where to find necessary information.
Begin studying early
Ideally you should begin studying about four weeks before your exams.
Organise your time
You can pick up a weekly study planner from The Learning Centre and use it to organise your time.
Cross out the times when you can't study because of other commitments (e.g. lectures or work).
Plan 1 hour time slots you will use for study.
Make use of short study times. Fifteen minutes can be ideal for revising lecture notes or looking through note cards. Use time spent on the bus or train to review your notes. Check out The Learning Centre's guide to Time Management
Work out your optimum study time
Work out when you study most effectively. Are you more alert in the morning or evening? Schedule study times that suit your personal rhythms.
Organise your subject material
Make sure you have a complete set of lecture and tutorial notes for each course.
Gather together all your notes and make sure they correspond to the topics in your course outline.
If you've missed any lectures, see if they are taped, or borrow copies of the notes from another student.
Check that you have copies of any extra readings or handouts given out in classes.
Once you have organised all your material, you can study by topic.
Prioritise the hardest subjects
You will need to spend more time studying the subjects you find most difficult. Schedule these first.
Make a study area
Choose a quiet place for study where you won't be easily distracted.
Make yourself comfortable so you can concentrate, but not so comfortable that you fall asleep!
Always study in the same place.
Make sure you have good lighting to read by.
Don't try to study the entire course in one sitting. Divide the subject up into topics you need to revise.
Set yourself study periods
Study for set lengths of time. Don't study for longer than 50 minutes without taking a break. It is better to study for a short intense period of time with sustained concentration than long periods of time when you are tired and not engaging well with the material.
Set yourself study goals
Set yourself a goal for each study session. This will help you keep track of what you are learning. Write them down as soon as you begin your study session, or set them at the end of the study session for next time. Some examples could be:
I will read through and summarise chapters 3 and 4.
I will work through five equations.
I will learn the main concepts that were discussed in lectures from weeks 1-3
Review past exam papers