Article by Makki Tahir
We understand that many of you will be sitting exams soon or you have already started sitting your exams from home and that this may present a tough situation and it can be even harder for students. We don’t have the support of our lecturers; we don’t have the face-to-face interactions with our peers and that can lead to a lack of motivation. If you don’t have any motivation and are feeling quite lazy, please don’t be too hard on yourself. Please understand that this too shall pass, and you are not alone. This lockdown has taken a significant toll on the mental and physical health of a lot of people. It can be quite daunting sitting an exam and not having any support prior to it, we hope that you feel that this article is helpful, and we hope to provide you with more study skills to prepare for the current examination diet and beyond.
Read the examination guidelines carefully and contact the lecturer, if you are unsure of what materials are allowed to be used in an exam.
This is something that we all asked ourselves and many of us probably thought that open book means no studying because we can find all the answers in books and lecture slides. If you thought this, then I am afraid to say that you are wrong. The preparation is all about understanding your subject and the main parts of that subject. For example, we can discuss employment law and the various parts of the employer-employee relationship. I would definitely recommend using a mind-map for this because it can be helpful to lay out key words and phrases on paper, this is also a good tool to test your knowledge of a subject. The more you study the subject, the more things you remember and the more complete your mind-map becomes. I mentioned at the start that this is a particularly stressful time and please do not add to it by worrying about things you cannot control, I recommend focusing on what you can control, and you can certainly control the way you prepare. Please try to focus on understanding the subject and that will help you apply it during the exam because merely stating facts will not get you the grades that you deserve. A question that I always ask myself is, how will this affect a person in real life? This can be an effective way of getting more critical analysis into your essay. It is imperative that you take your time with each question and try your best to have a solid structure to each of your answers.
I would say the key to preparation for any exam is organisation, this includes organising your notes and more importantly organising your thoughts. I recommend using OneNote or a similar application and making notes while you are revising, these notes should be separate from the notes you take during lectures or tutorials. If you didn’t take notes during lectures or tutorials, this is a teachable moment. A key benefit of taking notes during lectures or tutorials is that lecturers sometimes give tips during lectures that they don’t include on the lecture slides. Also, I would always recommend listening attentively when someone else is giving answers during a tutorial because they may have picked up on something that you missed. Finally, I would suggest you pick a room with minimum distractions and make everyone aware that you are doing an exam. I made the mistake of sitting my exam in my kitchen and there were people walking in and out, which greatly affected my concentration. I would recommend a well-lit room with enough space for your laptop and any books you may use. Also, I recommend making your family aware that you are sitting an exam because then they will know not to disturb you.
Good luck and stay safe!
This article is part of a series that The Student Lawyer is publishing on ‘Study Skills’, please feel free to share this information with your friends and classmates. Also, if you have any recommendations please contact The Student Lawyer or Makki Tahir on LinkedIn.