5 tips to help your last minute exam prep stick

  • Still have a tonne of revision to do before exams start? These study techniques will help you get through it
  • Make sure not to panic! It will all be OK
Doris Wai |

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There’s less than one month to go until the DSE exams, and you probably have so much revision to do that you don’t know where to start. But don’t panic-cram; there are far more effective ways of studying. Here are some revision tips that will get you off to a flying start.

Make a priority list

Having a list of the topics you need tackle will help you organise your thoughts. Not only does it allow you to deal with one thing at a time, it also helps to make sure you don’t forget to revise a particular subject. Plus, you’ll get a sense of achievement each time you check off an item.

Be careful though; having too many “to-dos” on your list can be overwhelming. So it’s a good idea to break down your list into several chunks that you can focus on week by week.

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Study with a buddy

You might not realise how much you already know (or don’t know) until you study with a friend. You probably have different strengths and weakness, so share and compare notes, quiz each other, and work out any challenging questions together.

It’s worth setting up a study plan in advance so you don’t waste time deciding what topics to cover during each session. And hey, you’ll feel better knowing you’re not the only one who has put off revising until the last minute.

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Go straight to slides and notes

If you’re pressed for time, focus on reading lecture slides and class notes instead of spending hours ploughing through your textbooks and memorising entire chapters. The odds are your teachers will have already picked out the most important concepts and summarised them in these notes.

You should also take practice tests whenever possible to gauge how much time you need to complete different types of questions, and to familiarise yourself with how questions will be presented in the actual exams.

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Chunking and mind-mapping

Assigning meaning to hard-to-remember things such as numbers makes recalling them much easier. One strategy is to group individual pieces of information into larger chunks. For example, instead of remembering the numbers 9, 6, 7, 0, 7, 2, 1, 5, 4 individually, group them into chunks of threes and memorise each chunk: 967-072-154.

Another great method is mind-mapping. Write important terms on a piece of paper, arranging them like a road map. Then add details as smaller roads branching off the main ones.

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Come up with rhymes and songs

If you have difficulty remembering complicated pieces of information, try putting them into a rhyme or song with a catchy tune or beat. You don’t have to be a songwriter or a poet, and your song doesn’t have to be Grammy-worthy – just short and simple enough for you to remember.

However, this should only be used as a last-ditch attempt, as it’s always better to try to understand concepts instead of simply memorising and regurgitating them.

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