Methods of study and the pros and cons

I’m in my third year of study at the moment, so these exams will be my fifth set of university exams. Over my time at UC I’ve had a crack at a couple of methods to study for tests and exams. Some good and others not so good.

Method 1: the ideal situation

This method involves doing exactly what your lecturers think you should do. It’s quite simple really, pre-read all the lecture content, attend every class and ask questions, revise after each class, study in the weekend, study in the holidays and replace Netflix with echo 360.

If you can pull something like this off congrats to you, you’ve done the mahi now hang in there for the treats. However if you’re anything like me and only revise for assignments this method might be a little bit out of reach. Don’t worry though, if you start now you’ll boost that GPA and with a couple of other tricks you’ll be able to do well.

Method 2: past paper fiend

All past papers for your course are online. Work through them, get your mates to work through them and compare. This is even better if you can get solutions to the exams.

The pros of this method are that you get familiar with the examinable content, get prepped for test situation and learn key concepts of your course. But the cons are, your lecturer can throw you a curve ball in the exam and if you don’t have solutions you and your friend could be heading in the wrong direction.

Method 3: no sleep til broken

If you’re the kind of person who gets really stressed by tests, you might find yourself putting in a couple of big shifts in the Core, revising lectures and going over tutorials and assignments.

Pulling an all-nighter definitely has its pros increased focus, study spaces are a lot quieter and none of your friends are distracting you.

However, an all-nighter brings with it some serious risk. Sleep deprivation can greatly exaggerate stress and make you generally feel worse about yourself. Being tired in a test is one of the worst feelings, and when you get hungry late at night barely anything is open.

Pro tip, if you do want to make the most of quiet late night study space, check your exam timetable and if they’re all in the afternoon you can “safely” shift your sleeping pattern back by 5-6 hours.

Keeping healthy during exams

It’s important that you keep up a healthy diet and drink lots of fluid. As much as you think you need to study late it’s important that you rest your mind so that you don’t forget what you are learning. For me I often try to alleviate stress through faith, I feel that praying not only calms me but also helps me to focus on the task at hand.


One thought on “Methods of study and the pros and cons”

  1. The study methods I find work best in study week are:

    1. Watch lectures on Echo, read material and while doing this HANDWRITE notes on A4 paper. There is compelling evidence that handwriting means you think more than if you type notes.

    2. Take your A4 notes, probably 30-odd pages for a semester, and start organising and condensing them onto big A2 desk pad size pages according to key topic areas – make a giant cheat sheet for each topic. Organising your notes into a structure using bullet points and adding notes or leaving information out that you know already helps it stick in your brain. Hang/bluetack each A2 cheat sheet on your wall.

    3. For each A2 cheat sheet that you create, take a break, and when you come back to do the next A2 cheat sheet, review the previous ones that you’ve already finished.

    4. As the exam gets closer, aim to reduce your cheat sheet knowledge from an A2 to and A4 or smaller – the more you review the content the smaller and more concise your sheet sheet should get. Rewriting a cheat sheet onto smaller sizes of paper as you grasp the ideas gives you confidence that you’re learning the material.

    5. Lastly, when you read new content, try to find real life examples of how it applies, it makes you more likely to remember it. Or attach the content to a real life memory, for example, if I’m learning about an engineering problem that is abstract, I think of ways it might be used in my life or I imagine a way to use it or I think if some wacky analogy – it helps when needing to remember lots of stuff.

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