Prepare for your exams sooner rather than later

Getting set for mid-trimester and final exams can begin at the start of your trimester. Explore our tips for becoming exam-ready during the trimester, through study week and on exam day. We also have some helpful tips on how to beat exam anxiety.

During trimester

Preparing for exams during trimester is much easier than it sounds. Here are our top tips:

Read your course profiles

All your course profiles can be found in Learning@Griffith, with outlines of all the assessment items for the trimester, including exams. It’s super handy to know if future you will have to prepare for an essay, short answer, or multiple choice exam. Do you know about the different exam types?

Get the inside scoop on exam content

You can get little nuggets of knowledge from your lecturer. Here’s some hard facts: they set the exam and they teach you the content, so it’s highly likely they will emphasise the important topics during the trimester. If they make a song and dance about a particular fact, principle or point during class, they will probably include it in the exam. But you’ll have to attend class to gain these valuable insights.

Take awesome notes

If you develop an effective note-taking technique early on, it’s going to be a breeze when you put together your study notes at the end of trimester. You don’t want to have to rewrite your scribbled, chaotic notes during study week.

Become a time-management expert

When you have mastered the art of planning, you can achieve so much more in a day, let alone a whole teaching trimester. Become that person who has a complete set of highlighted, indexed and bookmarked notes before study week begins.

How to prepare for exams

Exams don’t have to be scary. The students who get the highest marks are not necessarily the ones who are the smartest, but the ones who are the most organized and well prepared throughout the semester! Griffith University student, Azaria Bell discusses how to prepare for exams during the semester, study week and during the exam.

During study week

Don’t freak out about exams just yet. You have a week to prepare. It’s time to put your head down, your brain into gear and hit those books hard. Study Week can be a stressful time for students, so we’ve put together a few tips to keep you on track. Remember, staying organised and healthy is key, so get some sleep, avoid caffeine and limit your social media procrastination.

Confirm exam details

Check your myGriffith exam timetable to discover the date, time and location of your exam. The exam timetable is usually released a good few weeks before the commencement of Study Week. But just a heads up, venues are subject to change, so be sure to double check the details 24 hours prior to the exam. Also, your exam may be in a place you are unfamiliar with. Check your campus map to locate the building.

Schedule your life

Set out a study schedule and stick to it. There are loads of daily and weekly planners available you can use to help with this. You can also find free planners online. Handy hint: sleeping and eating are important activities to schedule into your busy days. Your brain works better after rest and nourishment.

Set exam goals

Setting unrealistic goals is just as bad as not setting them at all. Check how you are travelling in your course so far. The results for all your completed assessment items should be available in Learning@Griffith. Calculate how many marks you need to achieve your desired overall course grade. That’s what you should work towards. Start thinking of all the ways you can reward yourself when you reach this goal.

Prepare your study notes

This is the moment when you’ll be super pleased with yourself for going to class and taking awesome notes. Go grab those notes; it’s time to make them work for you. Basically, you want to condense your notes and present them in a visual format. Have you heard of a mind map, concept map or flowchart? According to Patrick Sharrat in Passing Exams for Dummies (2013), your brain thinks in pictures, so creating keyword pictures and patterns can help with memory retention. For more study tips, check out this Buzzfeed video for eight essential study hacks or Wengies video on seven study tips to help you ace your exams.

Teach the topic to someone

Teach the topic to your mum, friend or flatmate's dog. The best way to test your understanding of a topic is to try to teach it to someone else—even a class of stuffed animals will do.

Exam day

When the big day is finally here, remember the hard part is over. The content is in your head—it’s ready and waiting to be unleashed onto your exam paper, you just need to set it free. Follow our exam day tips below to help you perform your best.

Exam day tips

Pack your bag

Pack everything you need for the exam. You don’t want to rock up to the exam without your student ID, or a pen. Whether you will need a calculator, ruler or protractor, organise all your stuff the night before the exam. Exams are thirsty work, so be sure to include a water bottle as well.

Get there early

Make sure you arrive early so that you have time to get settled. Arriving late can cause anxiety and get you started on the wrong foot. Use the time to double check the equipment you can bring into the exam.

Answer what you want, when you want

You don’t have to answer the questions in the order they are presented. Be a rebel and do the last ones first, or first ones last. You may be less anxious if you answer all the easy questions first and then allocate the remaining time to the more difficult ones.

Read exam questions carefully

Under stressful exam conditions, you may be tempted to skim over the question quickly so you can get on with drafting an answer. The danger with this is that you may misunderstand, misread or simply miss a vital part of the question. Take your time and make sure you know exactly what you are being asked for.

Review your answers

Finished your exam with minutes to spare? Don’t leave early. Instead, use that time to review your answers. You will kick yourself if you accidentally missed a multiple choice question, or the short essay question on the back page that you didn’t see because you rushed out of the exam room.

Tips to beat exam anxiety

No matter how prepared you are for an exam, it’s hard to avoid some anxiety.

Here are seven scientific tips from ASAPThought to help you beat exam anxiety.

Go further

See tips for studying, referencing, assignments and more