Preparing for an Exam
Period 2 is nearly coming to an end and the cosy weather is enticing you to start winding down for the winter holidays but not so fast! We all have to get through one last hurdle before that: the period 2 exams. Personally, I find it quite… unsavoury that my last exam is on the 23rd of December, but maybe you are lucky to have your period end before that. Anyways, as a third-year student, I hereby qualify myself to enlighten you on some WUR-specific exam tips that I’ve garnered over my past 2 years here, sorted by how much time you have left to study/importance.
If you only have 3 days (do not try at home)
Check your course guide, it exists for a reason. If you only have such an amount of time, skip the extra content from the guest lectures (unless it is actually included in the exam) and the additional reading.
Check what you need for the exam
Make sure that you have what you need for the exam, it may either be a written exam or on a computer. Furthermore, if it is on a computer, you need to bring your own. They will inform you that it’s a BYOD (bring your own device) exam if this is the case. Make sure to not show up to a BYOD exam with just a pencil and an eraser.
Also check the exam time, date and room. The exams are usually not in the same room as where your classes for the course take place.
Make sure your study space will have minimal distractions. Personally, I find that studying at home will inspire me to start pursuing my hobbies and my childhood dream of becoming an international 5-time academy award-winning actress (I start talking to the mirror and doing solo high-school drama class improv (kidding, I stopped when I started going to therapy)).
Obtain a summary of the course
I’m subscribed to studeersnel.nl (not sponsored) for this reason. Students submit their notes here in exchange for a period of subscription and you can download these notes for yourself and study for the exam using these. Otherwise, you can also ask a good friend if you could photocopy their summary notes and use them to study in a short time in case you don’t have the time to go through 15 2-hour lectures. Even at 2x speed, this would eat up a lot of your time.
Do the (most recent) exam practice questions
If you still have time left, you should attempt to answer an example exam or example questions which are usually provided on the course content page on Brightspace. These will give you an idea of how the exam will actually look like and the type of questions that will be asked during it.
If you have 2 weeks (when most people start studying)
For an 8-week period, starting to study 1.5 to 2 weeks prior is probably the ideal way to go about the exam, thus why the university prescribes a study week. In my opinion, the 2 weeks hit the sweet spot of having enough time to study and remembering the content you studied. Thus, if you have this much time, you could do these things on top of the things I have mentioned above.
Do the exercises
Going over all the exercises prescribed will get you used to answering questions regarding your course and for more technical courses, such as Organic Chemistry and mathematics courses, doing the exercises are of utmost importance as there is a high chance that the exam questions will be an adaptation of a question you’ve been asked before in the exercises.
If people around you don’t even know the name of the course by heart yet
Honestly, if you’re studying for the exam this early, you either do not need my advice at all, or you’re in dire need of a way to make your studying more efficient. Nevertheless, if you have this much time, here are some tips you could start with.
Be proactive in class
Start. In. Class. If you start actively learning in class and asking questions early, it will clear up the possible confusion that will relay as you get into more detail with the course and will help you understand the course content better. Taking notes is also very important as this way, your summaries will be so much more personalized. Doing so will also save you so much time in the future by cutting down the time from rewatching lectures.
Teach your peers
Teaching your peers would not only make them eternally grateful to you but would help you become even more familiar with your course content even more. This really tests your understanding of the topic as well as your ability to articulate the important parts of the course such that you will know exactly how to convey what you’ve learned into words during the exam. Furthermore, your peers may also challenge you by pointing out flaws in your understanding of the topic, helping you avoid any fatal mistakes you might make in the exam otherwise.
Anyway, this concludes the list of exam tips I have for you all. I hope you find these at least somewhat useful and good luck with your exams! Please do start studying if you haven’t. Finally, of course, happy holidays!
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For next time: check out – or sign up for – the exam study weeks organised by Student Training & Support.