Exam preparation tips

exam80a9aIt’s coming around to that time again – exams! Students from across all faculties take exams so we’ve put together some quick tips for you to do the best you can in your final assessments.

What do you need to know?

You can’t take your exam if you don’t know where the room is or what you need to bring. Make sure you check your unit Blackboard site as well as your exam timetable on QUT Virtual for any last minute changes.

Once you know the date of your exam you can start your plan of attack. Set aside some time each day to study, making sure to take regular breaks. You might like to use this exam study planner to help.

Study actively! This means don’t just read your textbook but make notes, use a highlighter, draw pictures, or make flash cards. Take a look at this exam preparation tip sheet for more ideas.

Remember exam preparation is not just about knowing the content, it is about knowing the type of questions you will be asked and managing your time to get the best result.

Do you need a place to study outside of the library? Remember you can search for after hours computer labs via the IT Helpdesk using the advanced search button.

Kelvin Grove 24 Hour Computer Labs

  • D Block (D201, D204, D205)
  • F Block (F504)

Gardens Point 24 Hour Computer Labs

  • V Block (Level 2)
  • G Block (G216 is available 8am-8pm 7 days per week).
  • F101 is available 24/7 with swipe access

Be prepared: Getting the best out of Study Solutions!

" Day133: Flickr keeps you studying!" By Abdulrahman AlZe3bi. CC BY-NC 2.0

” Day133: Flickr keeps you studying!” By Abdulrahman AlZe3bi. CC BY-NC 2.0

At the Library, there really is no such thing as a stupid question. Did you know that the most common question we get asked is, “Where are the bathrooms?” Helping you to find the bathroom is just one of the many ways we can help in the Library.

Many students get stuck with pesky research, writing and referencing questions over the course of the semester. At every branch Library, you can have your researching and referencing questions answered straight away at the Library Helpdesk. Our staff are trained to help you get started and point you in the right direction to get your assignments started.

If you have a longer or more complicated question, the Library can provide support for your studies through a Study Solutions appointment. By booking a Study Solutions appointment, you can get a 25 minute face to face appointment for help with your study, research and assignments. From understanding your assignment question, providing feedback on a draft, to working in groups, or organising your work/study load, we are here to help.

You can book a 25 minute consultation from Week 3. Bookings open a week in advance and fill up quickly – so be prepared and book early.

If you miss out on an appointment, never fear! Drop-in sessions are available at both Gardens Point and Kelvin Grove libraries from 12pm-2pm, Tuesday to Thursday. The time of your consultation will depend on how many students are waiting – so be prepared and have your burning question ready and waiting to maximise your time.

So! You’ve booked a consultation or you’re planning on coming to a drop-in session…. what can you do to prepare yourself to get the best out of your Study Solutions session?

1. Be on time! Make sure to note the date, time, and location of your consultation. Write it in your phone, diary, or the back of your hand. Remember you can keep track of your bookings online.

2. Come to your consultation with something specific to work on. Whether it be your assignment question, your draft, a particular study issue you’ve been having, or a question about a resource – this helps us to tailor the support specifically to your needs. Please remember that library staff cannot proofread assignments for you, we can give you tips and strategies so you can proofread yourself (hint: read your assignment out loud to the mirror!).

3. Check our online study resources and see if your question is answered there. If you familiar yourself with resources such as Cite Write, Studywell, and Studysmart, you’ll be well on your way to being a top student on your own!

4. If you’re looking for specific academic language and learning support you can get in touch with Academic Language and Learning Services (ALLS) to arrange an appointment. Language and Learning Educators are specially trained to help students and staff who need help with speaking and writing.

 

Welcome to Semester 1

Think of the Library as your floaties... 'Flafloaties' by  shankool007 (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Think of the Library as your floaties… ‘Flafloaties’ by shankool007 (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

So – you’ve found the library; worked out your preferred coffee shop; eaten some free pancakes; toga-ed up and perhaps even deciphered the campus map  to find your lecture locations. You’re feeling on top of things!

It’s time to get serious. Keeping on top of your coursework and managing your time to balance your study, working and, well,  life is no easy task but the QUT Library can definitely help! In February and March across the QUT, the library holds workshops to help any and all students with their researching, writing and study. These are free and open to any student. You don’t have to be new, just eager for some strategies and assistance! Sign up HERE

As the semester progresses, Study Solutions individual appointments can troubleshoot your assessment woes, or advise on how to get started. Free to attend and scheduled across the day at all library branches, sign up early for an appointment or attend a drop-in session to get your assessment off to the right start. Starting in Week 3, appointments can be booked HERE

If you’re not sure what you need to know, or don’t know what you don’t know, completing the Study Smart tutorials is a great way to learn some new skills and increase your understanding of university-level research and study requirements. They’re online, self-paced and easy to navigate. You can complete all six or just those where you think you need some help.

And lastly, but definitely not least, there are a variety of ways you can Ask a Librarian! for help: Chat to a Librarian operates during semester; you can phone or come to a Library Helpdesk at each library branch; you can Email a Librarian or perhaps check out the FAQs where others have come before you and already asked what you need to know!

There’s no such thing as a silly question and we are here to help!

 

 

Bloom of doom

Exams! by  Jan Smith (CC BY 2.0)

Exams! by Jan Smith
(CC BY 2.0)

Poor Jacarandas. In Queensland they’re a signal that end of year exams are upon us and as such, the blooms strike fear, panic and desperation in students’ hearts and their beauty largely goes unappreciated.

So, what can you do once the mass of purple fills the skies – and carpets the paths – to survive exam madness?

  • Firstly, know your enemy. There are many different types of exams: multiple choice; short answer; and open book just to name a few. Each has different performance requirements and therefore, a different preparation strategy. Studywell has lots of exam advice including how to identify what you’re facing and how to prepare for each different exam type.
  • Double check the basics. Well before the day, check the exam timetable and then check it again. Know where you’re going, what time and work out how you’re going to get there. Exam rooms are usually in different places than your lectures so check the campus map and familiarise yourself with where you need to go.
  • Formulate a plan of attack. Put in place strategies to organise your time and organise your notes. Gather all the information you need together – lecture notes, recordings of lectures, textbooks, readings, quizzes, lab reports – before you start studying to make sure you have all the information at hand.
  • Phone a friend. Study with a buddy or form a study group. You’ll help keep each other motivated and can quiz each other and share techniques for revising.
  • Eat and Sleep. Good nutrition and staying hydrated are key to performing at your best  – as easy as it would be to fall into the trap of takeaway and caffeine. Plan to get adequate sleep in your study schedule as your brain’s retention and retrieval performance will be hampered by inadequate zzz’s.
  • Don’t panic. It’s easy to start to feel overwhelmed, even if you have a good study plan in place. Here’s some strategies to combat exam anxiety and don’t be afraid to talk to someone if it all starts getting too much.

Wishing you all the best of luck  this exam period  and be assured, one day you will be able to gaze upon the Jacarandas with fondness rather than loathing.

#lifehack your exams

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If you’re looking at this picture then you’re prepping for exams as we speak! Who knew?!         “Newborn baby Alpaca” by TC Morgan (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

It goes without saying that good old fashioned reviewing, revising and throughout-the-semester planning will leave you in the best place regarding exam performance. QUT Library’s Studywell has some fantastic resources including an Exam Study Planner, advice on tackling exam anxiety and emergency exam preparation to get you on your way.

However, in addition to this, Jackson Chung of website MakeUseOf’s has come up with 18 Unexpected Lifehacking Tips To Improve Your Exam Scores which are worth a look. He gives top tips for what to do one month before your exam, one day before and on the day. Here are my favourites.

One month before:

  • Work for 25 minutes without disruption and then take a 5 minute break. Do this 4 time and then take a 15 minute break. This structure breaks the daunting task of studying up into manageable and not-so-daunting segments. This isn’t far from standard exam prep advice so is worth repeating.
  • Use some restriction apps to block your access to the places that most suck your time. ‘Self control’ blocks specific websites for up to 24 hours; ‘Cold Turkey’ blocks specific websites at certain times and ‘Freedom’ prevents you using the internet at all – this one is not so good if you are needing to access your QUT Blackboard unit page or download articles from the Library!

One day before:

  • Sleep on it. Sleeping increases alertness and decreases stress and also improves memory and cognitive function, i.e. essential exam skills.
  • Watch cute videos. Yes, you heard me. Apparently a recent Japanese study found that participants who viewed cute images improved their ability to perform fine motor dexterity-based tasks. Chung recommends searching for ‘sneezing baby panda’, ‘scottie pinwheel’ and ‘hamster eating a tiny burrito’ and I’d add ‘Four laughing babies’ to that list for maximum cuteness.

On the day of the exam:

  • Chew gum. Apparently studies have shown that chewing gum improves reaction time and accuracy
  • Formulate an answer first. In multiple choice exams, think of an answer yourself before viewing the choices available.
  • Sit up straight in the exam room. Apparently a study at Harvard Business School found that how you sit and stand can affect your confidence.

For even more exam preparation advice Ask a Librarian.

So, learning to knit ISN’T going to help with my essay?

Procrastination-001 by  Ludie Cochrane (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Procrastination-001 by Ludie Cochrane (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Sorry procrastinators and those who thrive on the adrenaline rush of last-minute essay completion – the results are in and it’s not good news. A study out of the University of Warwick Business School has shown that students who hand in assignments at the last minute face a five per cent drop in marks when compared with those who submitted 24 hours or more before it was due.

The paper, Time of submission: An indicator of procrastination and a correlate of performance on undergraduate marketing assignments, which was presented at the European Marketing Academy conference investigated 504 first-year students’ and 273 third-year students’ end of term assignments

Work handed in ahead of schedule was far more likely to be awarded a distinction than work not handed in until much closer to the deadline. The average mark dropped by the hour until those handing in the paper at the last minute produced the worst results. Those that literally handed work in at the last minute could see as much as a five per cent drop on score, from 64.17 to 59.00 — taking them a whole grade lower.

Image provided by David Arnott and Scott Dacko, of Warwick Business School http://www.wbs.ac.uk/news/leaving-essays-to-the-last-minute-ruins-students-grades/

So what can you do about your procrastination habit?  How do you stop yourself from meandering into the depths of pointless activities, random hobbies (not that there isn’t value in knowing how to knit) and delaying the inevitable task ahead?

It’s all about time management.

  • The nifty QUT Library Assignment Calculator can keep you on track to complete an assignment with plenty of time to spare – including reminding you to take breaks and have some fun along the way!
  • For a more long-range view of how to manage your time across the semester, the QUT Library Semester & Weekly Planning guide can help you see at a glance what’s looming and help you juggle all your competing priorities.
  • For specific essay help, the Library Writing an Essay guide as well as our most popular resource, the Writing Structure Overview, specifically address the requirements of essay writing.

Also, check out our related QUT Library Blog post Writing great Assignments for more tips and save the knitting until semester break.

Because proofreading!

The now notorious bus stop in Bristol. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA

Bup? Really? Anyone who saw this picture in the media last week would have been incredulous at how on earth these sign writers managed this spelling absurdity: ‘Bup Stop’. Read the full story here.

Still, it does prove how easily spelling and grammar mistakes can slip through unnoticed. Your spelling mistakes are unlikely to trend on Twitter of course but the consequences and damage to your marks can be high.

Whereas editing looks at the ‘bigger picture’ of your writing: structure,style and task requirements, proofreading drills down to the finer points: spelling, grammar, word choice and punctuation.

Here are some key tips for proofreading:

  • Read your assignment out loud one sentence at a time. Often mistakes are easier to hear than see.
  • A sentence should only have one point. If it’s longer than two or three lines perhaps it should be more than one sentence
  • Use a spell checker – but do not rely on it!
  • Learn to spell the words and jargon and that you will be using often.
  • Check your work by reading it backwards. You’ll concentrate on each word individually this way rather than seeing what’s expected.
  • Get a critical friend – no, not a ‘frenemy’ but someone who can read your work and spot mistakes and give constructive feedback.

You can read more on the Editing and Proofreading on QUT Library’s Studywell.

Get ready for study

hpthemeweeks_getstarted

New in Semester 2? Welcome! Returning after Semester 1? Welcome back!

Whether you are new to QUT or returning refreshed from break and ready to tackle another semester, QUT Library has plenty to offer you. Now is the time to:

We look forward to meeting you in the Library and helping you get off to a brilliant start!

Getting started with study

New in semester two? Awesome, welcome.

You’re enrolled, you’ve got your student card, your password and email is set up, your tutorials are organised, and you’ve found the Library, the Student Guild Bar and the best coffee on campus…

So, what next?

Now is when you have time – time to plan your weekly schedule, organise your readings, and to learn some important new skills so you can stay ahead with your study all semester.

Then here are some things you can do now:

These are our suggestions but, just in case you need more convincing, check out the top ten tips of QUT students who are almost ready to graduate.

But most importantly … welcome to QUT!

Photo courtesy of Johnson Cameraface, via Flickr

 

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Get set!

It’s Week 1!

Lectures and tutorials are happening.  You are taking notes and doing your readings.  Things are rolling along.  Great!

Now is the time to think about starting your assignments.  No, it’s not too early!  For many units, assignment due dates will start around Week 6 of the semester.  That’s only a couple of weeks away.

Things you could do to get started:

  • Mark down all your assessment for each unit on a planner so that you have all the dates in one place.  A planner for semester 1 is available here..
  • Use the Assignment Calculator to work out how to get started on your assignments and to track their progress.
  • Set aside some specific time during this week to get going on an assignment.

Not sure about your assignment task?  Here are some suggestions:

  • Talk to your tutor or lecturer about what is required.
  • Ask someone at the Library Learning and Research desk to show you our online learning resources and help you find information.
  • Book a Study Solutions appointment for a 25 minute one-on-one appointment to talk about your assignment and how to do it.
  • Check out your faculty’s peer assistance program to talk to another student about your study.

Don’t put off starting on your assessment.  Time can slip away quickly.  For best results with less stress, start early and work consistently. Good luck!


Photo by Jon Moe via Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/hufse/22937979/