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It's time for exam prep!


Written by
Iman A.W.

The first month of the new year is over and we are now in February. I'm not entirely sure whether that's a good thing. I’m sure that’s something you can all relate to as we get closer to May.

Make a plan

So, with that in mind I thought I'd share a few things that I am trying to do over the next few months. Hopefully, it’ll help you too!

1) I sat down and made a checklist for every single module

It can be easy to get lost in the material, especially when you find a topic that catches your interest and at this point, it's important to focus on the material that you'll need for the exam.

To make this checklist I referred to the Learning outcomes (for both the course and the individual chapters) and the past paper questions.

A bit of advice: Mark the topics that you are particularly confused about and make sure that you clear up all your confusions. When I’m studying, I find those ‘little things’ can really affect the standard of my essay.

2) I worked out a plan for the next few months

At this point, I tried to re-evaluate my study plan: where I was and where I want to be.
That's why the checklist is important- it acts as a guide.  But in order to ensure that I have time to do it all, and that I don't get tense every time I look at the checklist and see all the work I need to get done, I sat down and turned the checklist into a monthly schedule.
Here’s how I set up my schedule:

  • I decided how I wanted to use the next few months and then divided the work accordingly.

For example, my plan for the next few months looks something like this:

February: Finish making my notes and checking that I am clear on all the different concepts. I also try to make sure that I have a clear argument for each of my chosen topics.

March: Add any depth and start writing out all the questions.

April: Focus on learning the material and practicing under exam conditions. Memorise dates/cases/references or whatever may need to be remembered in that way.

Then, I divided the work that I have to do (with reference to the checklist).

So, that I have to go through and work out which of my notes are incomplete and use February to finish them off and so on…

 A bit of advice: keep in mind that you may have more than one module and as such, you’ll need to find a way to balance it all! Don't worry if you have to adjust as you go along, we all need to tweak our timetable every few weeks. Laying things out like this just helps me to have a clear exam prep 'roadmap' in mind.

3) Slowly transition into exam prep mode.

It's time to tick off all those friends/family commitments (the extra ones anyway) and get everyone ready for the idea that you'll be a social hermit for the next few months. It's hard, but it's necessary if I want to get through it!

4) Reminding myself to eat healthy and sleep!

In the first year I was always tempted to pull late nights, force myself up in the morning and study constantly. It's that need to tell yourself that “yes, I studied for this many hours”. But then I started to realise that if I got a good night's sleep and then sat down and studied when everyone was out, I got more done because my brain had the energy to absorb more information.

5) Make use of a Study Planner or wall calendar

If you haven't pulled it out already, now would be a good time to put the UOL Calendar up on a wall where you can see it. If you can sit down and structure your study plan on it, great! If you can't then just keep it up as a reminder of the fact that you aren't alone and set up a different calendar/planner on your wall with your study plan. There are plenty of other students on the same boat as you at the moment. That reminder really helps me to get through!

I hope all of this helps! Good luck everyone!

And please, do share any advice that you guys have. I’d love to read it and see where I can tweak things before May comes along. 

Iman is studying the BSc Politics and International Relations in Pakistan.