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Top exam tips for international students

2015-01-14    

As the end of the year approaches and exams draw nearer, your study load may start to feel a bit overwhelming. If you’re preparing for end-of-year exams, read on as we list some tips to help you make it through the busy assessment period.
 
Stay organised: Taking some time to organise your notes, study space and schedule will save you a lot of stress in the lead-up to exams. Likewise, staying up to date with classwork and study throughout the semester will mean there’s less to catch up on during peak study periods. It’s also important to keep track of exam dates, as well as extra classes and study sessions.


Seek help: If you’re struggling with a particular subject or just academic study in general, it’s important to seek help. This could mean talking to lecturers, tutors or classmates, or chatting to a course coordinator or academic adviser about any issues you may have. You might also make use of some of the study and academic services available at your institution, such as study skills workshops or tutoring services for international students.


Try out different study techniques: Some people are visual learners, and benefit from drawing mind maps and diagrams. Others prefer being quizzed or talking through content with their peers, while some might opt for highlighting and summarising notes. Your study techniques will depend on the subject and type of exam, but using a variety of methods will help make sure you have a solid grounding of the topic.


Make use of available resources: There is a range of resources available to help you prepare for exams, such as lecture and tutorial notes, class handouts, set readings and textbooks. You should also look beyond allocated course content — study apps on your mobile phone or tablet, videos and online tutorials are all great examples.


Practise answering questions under exam conditions: If practice tests are available, try completing them under exam conditions. This will help you improve your exam skills, such as answering questions to a time limit. It will also give you an idea of how the exam might be structured and how much time you need to allocate to each section.


Form a study group: Studying with friends can provide great motivation for exams. This is also a good opportunity to ask for help in areas you don’t quite understand. You may find that studying with others will help you get a better grasp on content and highlight areas you need to revise further.
 
Take breaks: You may feel overwhelmed by the amount of content covered in your subjects and feel like you need to spend every spare second trying to ‘cram’ — but just remember that you’re unlikely to absorb information if you’ve been staring at a screen or textbook for hours on end. It’s a good idea to take regular breaks to help you relax and refresh, which will keep your motivation levels up as you progress through the exam period.


Stay healthy: It’s important to keep a healthy balance while you’re studying. This means getting a good night’s sleep, allowing time for regular exercise and making sure you’re eating well-balanced meals. While you may be tempted to reach for chocolate and lollies, you’ll find it much easier to concentrate if you’re eating proper nutritious meals. That said, if you’re craving sweet food, you may consider going for a walk to the local shops or café as a way to take a break.

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