Exams are just around the corner….

So it is almost October and for a lot of us that means exam time! I’m currently working my way through my level 4 diploma in regulated financial planning, which includes 6 exams. This means that at the moment I have an exam every 2 or 3 months in addition to my 9-5 job, so plenty of studying!

Everyone has their own approach to exams, and different techniques work for different people. So what works for me may not work for you! But here are a few things I’ve found work/ don’t work….

1. Pace yourself. With an exam every few months, it’s easy to forget about it then cram in the last few weeks/ few days. This means a mountain of info to take in in a very short time – so I prefer to set myself a certain amount to do each week, say a chapter, so it isn’t all left to the end, and (hopefully) I take in more of it!
Don’t get me wrong, in the last couple of days before the exam I cram, but it’s a lot easier to cram the last couple of chapters than the whole book!

2. Study techniques. Try out different techniques, see what kind of revision helps you memorise stuff – visual, auditory etc. I’m an auditory learner, so listening to audio books on the material helps, as does reading the book out loud – although housemates/spouses may not thank you!!

3. Make a note of topics you aren’t sure of as you study. Sometimes it isn’t possible to go over the material multiple times, and when you have already taken something in can be a waste of time too. If I know what I’m not sure of, I know which little bits to go over again.

4. Don’t overdo it. I think this is pretty important. There is a point where info stops going in, so all you are doing at this point is wasting time or stressing yourself out. I don’t just mean this in terms of plenty of breaks, although that is important too as every study tips guide will tell you! I mean the amount of your spare time that you spend studying. Doing a bit of study each week in your free time is fine – studying all weekend, every weekend is overkill! Allocate yourself the amount of time (roughly) you are going to spend studying, and then stop.

5. Use your time wisely. I have a pretty long commute at the moment, so by the time I get home studying is the last thing I want to do!! So instead I get the audio summaries of the material and listen to them in the car on the way to/ from work. Pretty geeky but it means I don’t have to study evenings!


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