Tag Archives: study tips

Exams – it’s not perfection, it’s progression

Pasifika student Ailine Kei shares on the feels and the reals when it comes to studying for exams.

Exams and tests period are getting closer. BREATHE. You can do it.

Lucky for me, I have no exams (sorry)! However, for many, you do, especially our first year students. Maybe my story can help you out.

My first year was definitely a struggle. It was all new and I met a lot of people. But many of the people I spent time with were not contributing to my studies – long-term.

I was not prepared for exams, so I decided that I needed to have time where I separated social time and study time. Leading up to an exam, the importance of prioritising can really pay off.

It is very easy to fall into a long term relationship with our friend, procrastination, but doing things bit by bit can make a huge difference.

For me, because I can get distracted easily, I devote a solid hour of studying and then a 20 minute break.

Plus, having your phone away from you helps.

Equally, if you are like me and cannot process information fast, give yourself the time to process the information and prepare in advance; have a separate time focusing on just exam preparation.

“Time will not be your best friend at times but I was reminded by a close family friend that this journey is not perfection but progression.”

If there are a few things that exam prep has taught me, they are:

  • Give yourself time to prepare, a spare half an hour every study session that focuses on the exam
  • Take care of yourself! Have a break AND Breathe!
  • Believe in yourself – love yourself and be intentional about allocated study times
  • Surround yourself with others who are on the same journey as you and that continues to uplift and affirm you in your studies – that contributes hugely to your wellbeing.


7 things you need to know about the Library

  1. The Libraries have copies of your textbooks. They’re free to use and you can find them by popping your course code in the search box.
  2. The Library has a special search engine for finding academic articles, books, eBooks and streaming video for your assignments: MultiSearch.  It’s like Google but without all the blogposts, business websites and conspiracy theories.
  3. There’s a Librarian who specialises in your subject. They’ll work with you to find the information you need and help get your referencing right. See your subject guide and book an appointment.
  4. Computers, pr7 Thingsinters and study spaces in the Libraries are for you to use. And the Libraries are open till late
  5. The Library is online. Follow us on Facebook, use Learn, ask with AskLIVE, join an interactive online workshop and see the website.
  6. All students are invited to explore our internationally renowned heritage collections. They’re unique to Aotearoa New Zealand and the Pacific. Visit the Macmillan Brown Library to see for yourself.
  7. Manaakitanga: Caring for people, is at the heart of everything we do. Whatever your ethnicity, gender, age, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, education, religion or taste there’s a place for you in the Libraries. Together we’ll create a supportive environment to help you achieve your potential.



Embrace obstacles on the road to success

Don’t fear failure – embrace obstacles on the road to success says postgrad student Louise Orcheston-Findlay.

At the end of this blog you will find a list of workshops and sessions at the Academic Skills Centre which start 17 July- so you can start to make positive changes now.

 I think we are all a little trained to fear failure because it can be viewed so negatively. In some countries a ‘fail’ grade is written as ‘not yet’. I think we would all benefit from thinking that way.

Not wanting to fail and fearing failure are totally different things. If you find yourself worrying and going over it in your head excessively –before  and/or after an exam—it’s probably a good idea to try to stop.

If you want to stop worrying about your grades before you know them try these things:

  • This is the time to do something; appreciate the time that you have and use it wisely.
  • If you have time: plan, plan, plan. Use your calendar to plan your revision sessions for each topic. This will make you feel a whole lot better, as will doing the revision itself.

If you want to stop worrying about your grades after you know them try these things:

  • Recognise that the control you have over your grades is all before the exam, and not at all after.
  • This exam is done, whatever the outcome. Concentrate on the next one.
  • Redirect your brain power. Try running or going to the gym. Make it difficult though, so your mind can’t wander.
  • Do something else that requires brain power – a hobby that usually doesn’t allow your brain to wander.

How to deal with “what if?” questions

It’s so easy to fall into the habit of asking yourself “what if?” when something’s gone wrong. The problem is, though, that our brains seem to naturally go for the negative ones. But the good news is, you can learn to rewrite them in a positive light, and turn them into actions.

Before the exam:

What if I haven’t done enough revision?

–> I’ve done all I can do at this point; I’ll be able to remember the material I studied really well.

After the exam:

What if I fail future exams?

–> What can I do to make sure I don’t fail other exams?

What if I can’t do this degree?

–> This is an all or nothing thought, which means you think if you fail at part of it, you’ve failed at all of it. These thoughts are dangerous and irrational. You can fail a few papers and still happily complete a degree.

Finally, don’t feel bad about feeling bad. Even if you’re very skilled at looking on the bright side and turning negative thoughts into actions, allow yourself to feel disappointed about a failure for a little while. Just as long as you do something about it, don’t feel bad about feeling bad.

Louise Orcheston-Findlay

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Check out these workshops/seminars for all UC students. Enrol in ASC free Term 3 Workshops and Seminars (starts 17 July)