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5 Exam Preparation Hacks University Students Will Need

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It’s exam season and you have a paper coming up. You waste hours re-watching all your lectures and re-reading all your notes, hoping you can remember a semester’s worth of content in a few days. Does this sound like you?

It’s time to improve your studying strategy and forget those ineffective study methods! Why study hard when you can study smart? Here are 5 exam preparation hacks you can use to ace those exams:

1. Actively engage with the study material

Reading is not studying! Purely re-reading your notes will just lead to quick forgetting. Active engagement means that you need to create your own meanings from the study material. Some examples include making connections to other topics or creating your own examples. Highlighting, underlining or re-reading is inefficient and does not help you engage with the study material.

Other ways you can actively engage with your study material include:

  • Creating diagrams, concept maps, drawings

  • Explaining the concepts in layman’s terms to someone else

  • Forming examples that are relatable to you

  • Creating symbols and acronyms to represent concepts

2. Test yourself periodically

Sometimes when you try to memorise a big chunk of information in one go, you realise that you start forgetting some things that you memorised in the beginning. That is why it is important to periodically test yourself after every major topic or chapter. Don’t do too much at one go!

This studying technique is called active recall, which involves retrieving information from your memory and testing yourself at every part of the revision process. Using flashcards and hotdog paper are ways you can apply this technique to memorise information effectively and for a long period of time!

3. Stop multi-tasking

Multi-tasking may make you feel like you have accomplished more, but it does not actually improve efficiency. In fact, it negatively affects results because you end up getting too distracted! Although it may be tempting, refrain from tackling different tasks simultaneously.

Remember to get rid of any distractions to focus on your revision. If procrastination is your biggest weakness, there are some productivity apps you can use to keep you on track and accomplish your goals!

4. Space out your study sessions

Studying for short periods of time over several days or weeks is the most effective way you can study, as it will help you to retain the information better. Long study sessions are not that effective because your concentration level will drop drastically over time, which is just ineffective.

5. Plan out your study sessions

Plan out what needs to be completed, what you need to complete and the amount of time you will need to stay on track of your revision progress! Determine the optimal place and timing for your study sessions to stay focused and maximise efficiency.

Information extracted:

Exam study hacks. (2021). Retrieved 29 November 2021, from

Studying 101: Study Smarter Not Harder – Learning Center. (2021). Retrieved 29 November 2021, from


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