A good exam will require a number of practical planning steps as well as efficient and effective revision.
First, you need to plan the logistics;
- Be sure of the time and location of the exam
- Be sure of the length and format of the exam (i.e. multiple choice, essay, performance based)
- Familiarise yourself with the marking criteria so that you know what goals you are shooting towards!
- Check what you are allowed to take into the exam (calculators, dictionaries) and make sure they have been approved
(If you are unsure about different exam formats, have a look at this resource from Manchester University, outlining essays, open book, multiple choice and oral exams)
Second, you need to plan and allocate the time you have available for revision. Print off a weekly timetable and allocate the time you can spend on revision;
- Block out the time you have other committments (shifts at work, family)
- Make space for important 'down time' (going for a run, skyping your mum)
- Highlight the study blocks available
Third, you can now make a plan for what to do with these blocks of time. For each exam you are facing, break down the content into the individual topics that you want to cover. Now you can begin to match these individual, focused study topics with your calendar;
- Make sure to change topics through the day
- Try alternating hard and easy topics
- Allow time for recall and review of topics after your initial session
The rationale for reviewing topics is simple. As Learning Solutions Magazine explains here, our capacity to store information in our short-term memory is very limited, so it is important to pay attention to the process of transferring information into our long term memory.