Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Books to Help You Pass Exams!

It may be the second week of holidays but exams are coming up in a month's time. If you haven't started studying for exams yet DO NOT FREAK OUT. When it comes to studying it's quality over quantity. So I've decided to read through a few exam help books and pick out some bits that will hopefully help you study!

Surviving Year 12 by Dr Michael Carr-Gregg

This is one of my favourite books that I relied on during year 12. If you’re a serious procrastinator (like me most of the time), Dr Carr-Gregg has some methods for overcoming this. Firstly, break things down! If you need to study for Legal Studies, break the topics down and down again. Eg. Legal Studies -> Courts -> Federal Courts and State Courts. Try studying one specific topic, for fifteen minutes, take a break for half an hour, and then get back to studying for another fifteen minutes. Alternatively, try working with a partner or in a group. He also recommends challenging the negative self-talk of “I don’t feel like doing this right now” to get motivated. Give it a try!

How To Pass Exams by Dominic O’Brien

This book has heaps of little shortcuts to remembering subject information, such as remembering historical dates, providing mathematical shortcuts and tips to remembering chemistry terms and elements.

For example, to remember what elements make up alcohol (carbon, hydrogen and oxygen), O'Brien suggests using a memorable sentences using the first letter of each element - for alchohol he says to just think alcohol Causes Hang-Overs.

The Student’s Guide to Exam Success by Eileen Tracy

A tip for optimum revision: "Revise the day after learning something. Revise again a week later. Revise one month later. Revise a few days before exam".

Highlighting is a a very passive form of studying. Instead:

- Use a a mindmap to relate topics and ideas to each other,
- Write comments or notes about the text: it can even be something personal such as "I really despise this character because he is very pigheaded" to help make ideas and characters more memorable.
- Repeat out loud what you've learnt or talk about it with someone else, like a sibling,
- And I think most importantly, practice past exams!

How to Study for Success by Beverly Ann Chin

This book got me excited about studying – weird as it sounds. Chin recommends using the SQ3Rs system (apparently used for teaching army trainees). It stands for Survey, Question, Read, Recite and Review.

SURVEY: The aim is to a sense of what the assignment is or what you have to study. Read any text that are bold or in italics and look at graphs and diagrams. Read the final paragraph at the end of a chapter.

QUESTION: Look at the topics in boldface or italic and come up with a question(s) that begin with who, what, where, when or why using the topic in the question. Tick off questions as you come across them.

READ: Concentrate on main ideas as you do a quick read through the text. Write down key points.

RECITE: Read aloud the answers to the questions. Paraphrase answer in your own words. Then give yourself a quick quiz on what you’ve learnt – take note of any points you have trouble revising.

REVIEW: With the topics you have trouble understanding, try rereading the section more thoroughly and take time to work out how they relate to each other.

And if any of you guys have your own study tips to share, please do so!

Good Luck!


Riannon said...

Study tips to approach overwhelming tasks:
Make lists and break down tasks. Try a sequence of small tasks that leads to the same result. Instead of "revise english" try:
1. write a character mind map
2. write a theme mind map
3. form mini essay plans by linking characters and themes
4. do a timed essay
5. edit your own work or swap with a friend and give each other feedback.

Tips to stop all your studying becoming a blur:
Alternate between different types of tasks (practical or creative and reading) so that your ideas remain seperate.

Give yourself the right to relax:
Have power naps to keep up your energy; eat chocolate for those mind bending sessions and drink peppermint tea with honey (it will keep you relaxed and healthy.)

Good luck with all of your upcoming tasks and be proud of whatever you achieve because the best you can do is the best you can do.

Rafah said...

Thanks Riannon! They're great and very helpful ideas. Particularly with swapping work with your friends for feedback.

I think it's also helpful if you study in the same spot (like the back corner of your room, or in a certain spot in the library) so that you get into the habit of associating that spot with studying, and therefore making it more easier to get motivated to do work.

And you're absolutely right, you can only do the best you can!
Now I've got to get back to studying :P


Anonymous said...

Thats bulldust.....The best is your best?? How about those electrical engineering exams with pointless, painstaking equations and 10 minutes reading time in an exam!!!!

Combine that with the pressure to get 40/50 or more in the exam to keep the dream of first class honours alive!!

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