Preparing for my First Ever University Exams

I’m sorry I haven’t posted on here in awhile, things have been rather busy in my life. My last two weeks of university were a whirlwind of essays and tests, then it was exam time! These were my first exams at university, so needless to say I was stressing over them. They are all over now though!! What a relief!

I have had plenty of practice over the past month in preparing for my upcoming exams. Whilst this does not make me an expert in examination prep, it has given me a few ideas and tips. Just because these worked for me does not necessarily mean that they will work for you, though often you can adapt them to suit. So here is how I studied for my exams.

 

Know Your Exam Schedule!

My exams were really well spaced out. This allowed me plenty of time to study for one, do the exam, and then study for the other. I was really fortunate in this aspect, however this isn’t always the case. I even had one friend who had two exams on the same day! How unlucky can you get! It is super important that you know when your exams are and plan accordingly. Don’t be that person who doesn’t check their exam date and needs to ask their friends mere days beforehand. The location is super important too!! I always made sure I knew where my exam room was ahead of time so that I wasn’t stressing on the day. There’s enough stress as it is!

Use a diary to plan out your day’s study

Plan How You Will Study

Plan when you are going to study and stick to it! It is super easy to plan a rigorous study schedule a week in advance and then when the day comes it is much easier to sleep in till noon and watch Netflix in the afternoon. You don’t have time for that! Hold yourself accountable. Sometimes I will tell myself if I can get through a solid day of study then I can take the night off to relax and watch tv. Other times I will force myself to go to the library so that I am stuck in a studious location, away from my warm bed and secret chocolate stash to tempt me.

My daily study schedule

7.45am Wake up and prepare for gym

8.15-9.15am Cardio workout

9.30-10am Breakfast and get ready

10-12pm Study

12-1pm Lunch

1-5pm Study

5-6pm Dinner

Study afterwards depending on how much I got done during the day.

Take short breaks of fifteen minutes when required

Record your study in a diary like this one
Little Papeterie, 2017 Diary, $23.60, available on Etsy.

Plan What You Will Study

Look through past exam papers and check for any recurring themes. If it has been in there before, it is likely to be in there again. It is also super important to pay attention in class to themes that the teacher stresses. If the lecturer spends ages on a particular point, or even hints that it’ll be in the exam, I put a huge asterisk beside the note and make sure to learn it.

Our PASS leaders also advised us to go through each lecture and find the top five main ideas. These we were advised to learn by heart. While it is important to look through all notes and understand them, the key ideas are the most important part and those should be prioritised. If you have time to study absolutely everything in your course, then good for you, but for the rest of us, pick the important stuff.

Work out what days you will study what stuff and make sure you get it done. I spent far too long making cue cards on Quizlet, which were helpful, but meant I had less time to spend on other, more important study. Sometimes I would need to put in extra hours on a day to make sure I completely covered the topic. If you find yourself spending too long in one area, move on. Make sure to cover all material.

Study Alone and In a Group

There are pros and cons to each of these. I really enjoy studying in a group as it is fun, and it means I am less likely to turn to Facebook or give up altogether. You can also hold each other accountable to make sure you study each day. However, these sessions can quickly turn into social groups where we would talk a lot, but not get much study done. I recommend a mixture of both. Usually I studied by myself in the evenings and spent the day with my friends.

Group Study

You don’t necessarily have to study with people from the same class as you, but this can be useful! Make sure you appoint someone to keep everyone else on track. A method that works is you work for thirty minutes on and then ten minutes off. Some people recommend longer or shorter times, but this is what we found works best for us. However, a lot of the time we just study and talk as well which can be distracting but more fun. Study can be boring! For this reason, when studying in groups I find it more beneficial to study flash cards or practice tests so it is not so distracting if someone talks to you.

Individual study

During this study time I make sure to focus harder so that I don’t have to study for as long. This is when I take notes and memorise stuff, learning and relearning the material. I try not to take any breaks, since I have a habit of turning a two-minute break into two hours. I also don’t use music as I find it too distracting.

Studying with friends can be fun-just don’t get too distracted!

Have an Exam Day Plan

Know exactly what you will do on exam day and plan actions that you will take to make sure your day runs as smoothly as possible. Everyone is different so I cannot really help you here. You must know what helps you feel distressed and mentally ready. Sometimes it pays to do a practice exam day as well if you like.

My Exam Day Schedule

My exams were at 2.30pm so this is what my day looked like

7.45am Wake up and prepare for gym

8.15-8.45am Light Cardio-Exercise is supposed to be helpful on exam days to boost your memory, however I just like working out before exams anyway. Only do this one if you work out regularly (which you should) and take it easy.

9-9.30am Get ready

9.30-10am Breakfast

10-12pm Study

12-12.30pm Lunch

12.30-1.30pm Read over notes. Don’t try and learn anything new.

1.30pm Pack bag and relax

2pm Walk to exam room, arriving at 2.15pm ready to start at 2.30pm

So yeah, that’s how I prepared for my exams. How does everyone else like to study? Comment your tips down below so we can all help each other out. Now I’m off to relax because I don’t have to study anything anymore for two whole weeks!!

Cheers x

My first day of University!

How I Handled My First Day of College

I’m currently writing this at the end of my third week, and I must say that, on the whole, it has been a pretty good experience so far! My first day went really well which surprised me because, in the month leading up to it, I really psyched myself out. I was so worried that I wouldn’t make any friends, that the work would be too hard, that I wouldn’t be able to adjust to the new environment. Safe to say that none of my worries have happened! What a relief! I know lots of you out there will be in the same boat as I was, scared to go to university, wondering what it’ll be like. So here is an hour by hour look at my first day of college.

My first day of University!
So I am officially a university student!!

Timetable For My First Day

8.28am Wake up and shower. I don’t really spend too long getting ready in the morning, just shower, throw some clothes on and brush my hair. Unfortunately, I am too lazy to spend any more time than that. As long as I look decent I don’t mind. I envy those of you who can put the time and effort into looking good in the morning!

9 am Breakfast time! I had some muesli with tinned peaches and a hot chocolate. Breakfast has always been my favourite meal of the day so I always make sure to give myself plenty of time to enjoy it.

9.30am Left for the university. It takes ten minutes to get to class, and the walk was completely uphill, so I was pretty tired when I arrived!!

9.40am Arrived at the university. I expected to start chatting to people and make a few friends before my lecture started. This didn’t happen. Instead, I just stood there awkwardly. Not a great start!

10 am I was expecting an easy lecture….nope! Political science first and the lecturer went straight into it.  I found I really had to focus to keep up, and didn’t get all the notes down. The lecturer made it clear that he was taking note of those who was contributing, so I tried to get involved in the debate. I came out of that lecture feeling very overwhelmed, but I did really enjoy it!!

11 am Study Time! I went to the library to catch up on the notes I didn’t get and to clarify things I didn’t understand, so I felt caught up by the time I finished. Really enjoyed working in the library, especially since I didn’t really have time to go back to the hall between my lectures.

12 pm My second lecture was anthropology. Again I didn’t talk to anyone before we went into the lecture theater, which was disappointing. However, I ended up chatting for a bit to the guy I was sitting beside, who was quite nice. Anthropology seems quite chilled so I am looking forward to it. Left that class feeling better!

1 pm Back to the hall for lunch. It was such a relief to return to the hall amongst people I knew. I hadn’t seen any of my friends while at university so we all caught up on how our day had been so far.

2.10 pm My final lecture of the day was International Relations. I finally had a breakthrough in terms of my search for friends, in which I got to know the girl beside me pretty well.

3 pm Back to the library to do some study and make sure I understood all of the content well. I love the comfort of the library and although it is a bit busy in the afternoons, it is a great place to get some study done.

4 pm After finishing off my study at the library, I headed over to the gym. I only had time for a short workout, but it was so good to push myself.

5 pm Back to the hall for tea. As usual, the line was long, which gave us plenty of time to catch up.

6 pm No one had any study yet so we decided to watch a movie and just chill.

10 pm Headed back to my room and got ready for bed. Since I am in a long distance relationship, I always spend a few hours before bed texting my boyfriend. This gives us plenty of time to talk properly since we are both too busy during the day. Anyone else in a long distance relationship? Comment down below, I would love some tips on how to manage our relationship!

12 am Sleep time

It is crazy how quickly you adjust to a rhythm. I have loved my experiences so far. Looking back now, I find it so strange that I was so worried about going to university. I have an amazing group of friends, I love the stuff I am learning and I love my new city. Bring on the rest of the year!

My first day of University!
So I am officially a university student!!

Cheers Alura xx

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