HOW TO Study For Exams

Before you begin to study, it is advisable to ensure that you have all the prescribed readings, slides, weekly assignments, etc.

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By Gaby Ndongo

You’ve made it this far: qualified for the exams after having to attend lectures upon lectures, complete one reading or assignment only to start with another and written notes for those semester tests that at times made it impossible for a night out. Here are some tips to make sure that your upcoming exams meet the best of what you’ve to offer. 

1. Set goals

Identify and set goals for the exam period. They can be tailored in ways that suit your medium and long-term academic goals and consequently your career plan. For example, if you want to be accepted for an honour’s degree in the Humanities Faculty at UJ, you must achieve an average score of 65% in your majors.

Examination results contribute a significant amount towards your average. Despite the work experience you may have, your academic record speaks much about the type of person you are to potential employers.

2. Prioritise your time

Cut out activities that are wasting time you could be using to study. This may be easier said than done, but it will be worth it. You could start by postponing appointments for after the exams, allocating the tasks at hand to others and informing every client that your entrepreneurial affairs are on hold for the time being.

3. Remember the essentials: sleep, drinking liquid, exercising and mental wellbeing

You are not a machine! So, don’t treat your body like it’s made from iron. Remember the essentials elements to a balanced lifestyle even when you’re preparing to write your exams.

Firstly, get enough sleep to allow for you mind and body to function well the following day. Secondly, drink as much liquid, juice and especially water, as needed to keep you hydrated. Furthermore, try to keep active by exercising for a couple of minutes.

If you are a religious person, seek the comfort of your supreme being or church. Lastly, you need to give yourself some well-deserved off-time of at least one full day a week. This will help you to recharge and prevent you from burning out.

4. Obtain and break down the workload

Before you begin to study, it is advisable to ensure that you have all the prescribed readings, slides, weekly assignments, etc. The trick behind having all the content at hand is to design a plan of what needs to be studied, revised or simply scanned through.

This plan will be a result of the breaking down of the work into themes, lectures, chapters, etc. Basically, how the information is categorised in your respective module. In the Global Communication 3B module at UJ, for instance, the work is divided in accordance to the lectures.

5. Use the outcomes

Every module has a major focus or primary lesson to be learnt, but within this major lesson are sub-lessons which are found in the individual lectures or chapters making up the module. Hence, go through the study guide and identify them to have a navigation of the prescribed destination.

Once it is done, you’ll discover that there are areas of focus requiring more of your attention and others that simply need a quick read for a broad perspective of the concepts or procedures.

6. Have a study schedule

Once you’ve obtained all the content, broken it down into their categories, used the outcomes as the areas to reach, make a study schedule based on the available time left until the first paper. Divide the work further according to this schedule.

7. 25 minutes study, 5 minutes break

An ideal way to study and revise daily is in intervals of 25 minutes with 5 minutes breaks, according to the tertiary education guide, GRAD. This allows for your brain to pause for a while and then regain the energy needed for absorbing and revising the information at hand.

After four to five consecutive sessions, you need to stand up, take a walk and then return to the game with a rejuvenated mind that is ready to continue.

8. Make use of your course’s teaching staff

Consult the tutors and lectures for clarification on anything you didn’t understand during the semester. Remember that they are paid to ensure you pass with the highest marks that you can obtain.

But they can only do so if you consult. So, you should approach them for assistance on any of the course work that is troubling you.

9. Consider being part of a study group

Join a study group, for focus, assistance and continuous motivation. This could be an online group. Your class mates are likely to be the right people to form such group with, but as virtual communities become more convenient, one can also consider being a part of a WhatsApp group that has accounting students discussing material dealt with in class. TOJ

Writing by Gaby Ndongo; Editing by Amber Richardson

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