Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Exam Tip: Look for Past Exams

Going over past exams with a study group
can be an effective way to study
When you are preparing for your exams, you should check to see if the Library holds digital copies of past exams.

You can find them on the Readings & Past Exams page, linked from the Library's home page.

Go into a Basic Search and put your subject code in the search box, then change to the Search Type to Subject Code and the Item Type to past exams.

The Library does not hold copies of all past exams - only the ones that have been released to us by the lecturers.

When looking at past exams, try the following activities to get the most out of them:

  • See if you can identify questions turning up in different "guises" over multiple exams.  Do they keep asking different questions about the same information or themes?  Focus on being able to discuss those themes so that you could answer a range of different questions on that topic
  • Make sure you could actually answer any question on the past exams - don't take anything for granted.  It's strange how often the ones you skip over because they seem "easy" are actually really challenging when you sit down to try them.
  • Take any essay questions and do a bit of extra research.  You don't need to write a whole essay for each of them, but be able to jot down the main details and theories.  Lecturers are seriously impressed when you can give them information in an exam (that is true, accurate and relevant) that they didn't give you in class.
And if you *really* want to put past exams to good use, form a study group and convert the exams into a question bank.  Take turns pulling a question out of the bank and asking everyone in the group to come up with an answer.

(Don't forget to put some effort into making sure you can each put an individual spin on your answers - you don't want to accidentally give the same answer as one of your classmates in the exam.)

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