The Explorer’s Top Ten: TIPS FOR PASSING YOUR EXAMS!! University of Tasmania June 4, 2015 Featured, UTAS At this late stage in the game there is no time to address the obvious tip for passing your exam which is to attend your classes, do all your readings and keep clear, legible notes for revision. We are guessing many of you are reading this because you haven’t been doing all those sensible things! Once again, The Explorer is here to help but please note there is no magic in these tips. All we can hope for is that they will help you to stay calm, do your best and for next semester, be even better prepared! #1 Smart phone = not smart! People, if everyone could take their smart phone/watch/device into an exam it would no longer be an exam but a mere race to see who can use their phone the fastest. Severe penalties apply for cheating in exams, and yup, you guessed it, that “possession of unauthorised materials are banned” clause in the exam rules covers pretty much all your electronic gadgets (apart from approved calculators in some courses). Log into eStudent to view your exam timetable and find out what you are allowed to take into the exam. Saying you didn’t know won’t save you from being labelled a cheat and being labelled a cheat by the university! Don’t forget while you’re at it to check out when and where your exam is – it’s your responsibility! #2 Past exam papers are your friend!!! Find out as much information about the structure of your upcoming exams as possible – that way there’ll be no surprises in this area! Just ask your lecturers and tutors and review your unit outline in MyLo. Remember – lecturers are as lazy us the rest of us so exam structure often won’t differ year to year. Check with your lecturer then go and dig out past exams via MegaSearch. Once you have found the relevant past exam don’t just read it, set yourself the allocated time and conditions and do it! #3 Caffeine alone does not a breakfast make There is actually research that shows the value of a sensible breakfast (not just caffeine or nicotine!). Eat enough food to keep you going on the day. Too much or too little can negatively affect your performance. Try to eat well. After all, your brain is like a muscle and muscles need fuel. Good, clean healthy fuel such as fruit, vegetables, grains and proteins like nuts, or splash out on some fish – even if it is in a tin. Most importantly though don’t overdo the caffeine, alcohol and junk food. Overdosing on caffeine does not count as a special consideration. #4 Stress Less Let’s face it, stress doesn’t help you think straight. So what can you do about it? The University has a really useful information sheet on understanding stress and some practical tips on coping with it. There’s also have a free counselling service for students who need someone to talk to about any issues that might be affecting your life and study. You can find more information about counselling for students here. #5 Revision mission To start with, challenge yourself to write down everything you know about a topic. This will help you to highlight where the gaps are. Now get to work on filling those gaps!! Easy! Visual aids can also be really helpful when revising. Condense your course work into a flow chart, your notes into a mind map, then test your memory by gathering your friends and telling them everything you know – and vice versa. You can learn a lot from each other (and believe it or not it can be fun when you’re all doing it together)! #6 To leisure or not to leisure There are two kinds of student, the student that needs to be told to take a break and the student that needs to be told to stop taking breaks. The latter tend to think that SWOT VAC means Students Week on the Town Vacation but it doesn’t. It means Study Without Teaching and it is in place to give you the time to revise and consolidate what you have learned throughout the semester. A bit of leisure activity is fine – studying in short blocks is a good way of giving your brain time to assimilate what it’s learnt – but don’t overdo it. #7 Exercise and get the prize! Healthy body, healthy mind! Don’t take a break from study to trawl Facebook, search for new cat videos on YouTube, bake cakes or watch TV. Get up and get your blood pumping. Put some fresh blood into that brain of yours. Go for a walk or a run and get some fresh air. Put on some music and dance around for a bit (but do not go out dancing). Call a friend to join you for this change of scene but do not, I repeat DO NOT let your activity end at the pub. #8 Know your prime time. When do you feel the brightest? Is it in the morning or the afternoon or do your feel your smartest after dinner and into the wee morning hours. Everyone is different but let’s face it, if you have left everything to the last minute you need to be an all-rounder. If this is the case, make sure you study your weakest topics during your prime time and revise the topics you are confident about when you are at your worst. #9 Sleep before and not during your exam Yes, you need to study and yes, you probably have other commitments too which are already taking you away from your study but the one thing you cannot do without is sleep. Not even coffee can help you if you don’t get any sleep. People have been known to fall asleep during their exams, it sounds funny but it isn’t. They fail! Get some sleep and squeeze in some naps – you can do this! If you want more advice check out our list of effective exam techniques. #10 No excuses A lot of people under the pressure of exams start to fantasise about how they can get out of said exam. Don’t bother wasting your time! There are very few legitimate reasons for missing an exam. If you think you are too sick to do the exam you will need to take this form to the doctor who will complete it and return it to the University directly. Only then will special consideration be given to defer your examination. This is serious stuff and there are serious rules and regulations to be followed. You can find out more here but don’t waste your time cooking up plans. Get in there, do your study, sit your exam and move towards the completion of your degree. It will feel sooooo good!!