Wednesday, 6 May 2015

University Revision Tips

In my first year of university, I had no idea where to start with revision. After being spoonfed through my A-levels and GCSEs with textbooks and revision guides, suddenly I was left with nothing but a reading list and a powerpoint.

I am currently studying Sociology, so this may not apply to everyone (apologies about that, can only give advice on what I know!), but this is how I revise for essay based exams.

1. Read through powerpoints and notes
Fingers crossed you have kept your notes from the year. Sometimes, they may not be helpful, but usually, my lecturers will add in extra things that may not be on the powerpoint. Have a look through and note down some of the key points from the lecture.

2. Re-read core readings
Once you have looked through the main points, re read some of the readings. Mine are always separated into core and further readings, with the core obviously being expected that you read. Although I made notes on it when I read them the first time, I definitely recommend making notes and re reading them again. Sounds boring, but it really helps.

3. Bullet point
Instead of writing out long notes, bullet point the key bits, write down useful quotes and note down any names that you could use in your essays.

4. Try the further reading list
If you don't feel like the core reading has gone into enough detail on an area that you are interested in, delve into the further reading list. Read the Abstract and conclusion. If it's relevant, carry on reading, if not, try another one.

5. Google Scholar
Try searching for some key words. You get major props for going beyond the reading list!

6. Flashcard it
Trying to learn key words or names of studies? Write them on flashcards.

7. Past papers
If past papers are available to you, use them! Try planning them open book. Use your notes, make a mindmap of the points you would use, and the studies/information that you would put into each paragraph. Write an introduction and conclusion.

8. Keep re writing
I learn by re-writing things. Take a blank piece of paper and give yourself 20 minutes to write out your essay plans from memory. Or give yourself a list of names and write what they said on a particular subject.

9. Don't panic
University exams are stressful, yes. But they aren't trying to trick you out. The lecturers want you to do well.

10. Don't spend all day (or night) in the library
Personally, I find the library a stressful place in this exam period. Make sure you are taking breaks, having proper meals and proper sleep. There is nothing worse than feeling groggy all day.

What are some of your tips for university exams? 

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