1. Undergraduate applicants to City, University of London
  2. Exam tips

Exam tips

Exam season is looming for you and our undergraduate students. We thought we’d ask our social science students to share their expertise on how to ace those revision sessions. Aqsa (third year student), Mikaela and Hannah (second year students) give us their top 10 techniques for revision

Flash cards

Creating small flash cards for each subject area (so the name of the topic is on one side and the information about it, in bullet points, is on the other side). Rehearse them to the best of your ability and then ask someone else to test you. If you continue this process until you remember each flashcard word for word, when you get to your exam you can simply note down the relevant flashcard names and recall them as you were when you were revising before the exam.

Quiz sites

A good way of remembering definitions, dates or key terms is using a website such as www.quizlet.com or similar ones to quiz yourselves on them, and even play games such as matching the definition to the term, and if you do them enough times you will remember the definitions really well.

Study groups

Study groups with your friends can be effective if everybody stays focused! A good way of maintaining this is by creating a Power Point or a presentation about the topic you are studying and delivering it to your friends. This way you are going over what you're learning as you're having to present it, you'll be doing it in your own words so it reinforces the information, and you'll also want to be saying accurate information as your friends will be listening - and they will benefit from it to as they probably understand you very well.

Colour coding

Many of us are visual learners and colour coding things can help organise your notes. Depending on your course, you will have different aspects to focus on. For example, text highlighted in yellow could be definitions, blue could be theories, green could be explanations/evidence, purple for citations, etc. This way you are paying attention to the content and also making your notes interesting and organised (and colourful!)

Positive and negative reinforcement

As the exam period looms closer, you may want to use methods to refrain yourself from getting distracted. You may use apps or add-ons that block certain distracting websites (HackMyStudy, SelfControlApp, Cold Turkey) or give yourself rewards/punishment for the amount of time you spend revising. For instance, if you revise for a number of hours that you are pleased with, you can set aside some money for a post-exam shopping spree - which accumulates with the more impressive hours of study you put in, and decrease when you put fewer hours in. For flashcard revision, you could put a small sweet on each flashcard and only if you are able to recite its contents seamlessly do you reward yourself with the sweet!

Plan your time

I like to start my revision timetable from the date my last assignment is due in that term. It's good to go through all the Module Outlines and see what is the structure for each Multiple Choice Question (MCQ) and work out how much revision is needed for each exam, then you are able to allocate your time accordingly and make sure you are on top of all your work.

Hide distractions

I find the best way to have done this is to download applications that block your use of Apps and the internet for a set period of time. You can set it for an hour, complete an hour on uninterrupted study and then give yourself a fifteen minute break where you can use social media, watch TV or get some fresh air. I find my time is much more productive this way, and my day does not drag as much!

Share ideas

Getting with friends and using a white board or a big A3 paper and sharing ideas and knowledge around certain topics and writing it down and then photocopying the A3 paper to use as revision notes or even doing a debate around a topic and formulating for and against  arguments and learning to back up your arguments with academic research or practical examples.

Study space

I like to change my study space. I find that if I revise in the same environment for the entirety of study leave I get bored and demotivated. Some days I will study at home, some days I will study in the library and other days I will go to a cafe.

Create your own question

Going through readings and reading the abstract, introduction and conclusion and highlighting the key topics that you think are going to be discussed and then formulating questions that you want answered and then using that as a frame for an exam question and writing a few paragraphs using the info from the reading