Exam Preparation

“Study hard” by Bartosz Maciejewski (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The end of semester is here and we are well into examination period. We know that this time can be stressful and tricky, you may have multiple exams to study for or exams and assignments to complete at the same time, but with a few tips and tricks under your belt (as well as some planning) you’ll be set to ace your exams in no time.

Firstly, take a look at our exam preparation page. It is filled with useful information about how to tackle different exam types, as well as general study tips about time management.

You can also take a look at our exam preparation blog post from earlier this year to get some hints for what to do in the days leading to your exam. Also, don’t forget – Gardens Point Library has extended opening hours until 10pm Friday 18th November for all your late-night study needs.

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed you can always contact QUT Counselling Services or read this tip-sheet about managing exam stress and anxiety.

QUT Library wishes you good luck! And if you need any help, don’t hesitate to ask.

Mid year re-boot: preparing for Semester 2

Uni breaks are never long enough, right?

Semester 2 is just around the corner. Staying on top of your study load means being proactive and getting a plan in place ahead of time. Do the thinking now, before you’re too busy, and halfway into your first assessment piece.

Re-boot for next semester in 3 steps.

  1. Prepare your study space and materials.
  2. Start to make a plan and create a study schedule.
  3. Re-connect to get motivated.

Prepare your study space and materials

Your ‘to do’ list:

  • clear your study space – put old assignments and files away; archive them or transfer to an external hard drive, off your normal computer. Why not add a few fresh touches, like a photo, motivational quote or a plant?
  • top up your stationery supplies or update needed software
  • gather unit outlines for Semester 2 units and set up new files
  • make sure you’re enrolled in required units and registered for your classes
  • prepare a book list and acquire required textbooks

Start to make a plan and create a study schedule.

When you have registered for your classes, you’re starting to gain a sense of what your routine will look like during semester. This is a good time to be proactive and start to plan your approach to the semester. You can be more flexible for when the unexpected happens if you have a plan and study tasks scheduled regularly.

Start by blocking out time for your classes, plus any important dates and commitments you know about.

day-planner-828611_1280

 

For more planning tips, check out our blog post about setting up for study success.

Get motivated

Re-connect and catch up with friends and peers

Why not sign up to a study skills workshop? Or you may like to brush up on study skills using the online modules in Blackboard. Once logged into Blackboard, either go to the community site directly and click ‘Enrol’, or use ‘Community Finder’ and search with the name ‘Library Back to Study’. By enrolling in the community site, you will have ready access to these resources from your Blackboard home page.

Set some goals – What would you like to improve on this semester? What changes would you like to make to your assignment work or exam preparation? Effective goals are ‘SMART‘: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely.

Need help through the semester? Ask a Librarian – online, at the Library Helpdesk, or by email and phone.

We’re here to help.

Study Hack – Time management to the rescue!

Making a plan and sticking to it is often the hardest part of studying. If we can manage our priorities and commitments we can often get things done quicker and with less stress. With Easter coming up everyone is looking forward to a break. Having a break is just as important as studying, but how can you fit in a bit of R & R while still staying on track with your workload?

Why not look at some of the great time-management tools we have to offer to keep you on track and lower your stress levels.

To minimise cramming at the end of semester download a semester planner and stick it on your door, keeping track of your due dates in a visible place often helps you get things done sooner!

Assignment Calculator is a useful tool which breaks down your assessment into manageable chunks.

And if you manage to have the time for it check out the library’s website for some more quick tips and hints. To get started often simple things are the best. Why not write out a ‘to do’ list and highlight the important things?
StudyBreaks_JB
And finally, take study breaks! Everyone needs a rest every now and then to recharge. It can also unblock your mind and allow you to answer problems you were stuck on or see things in a different way.

Need more help? Come and see us in the Library and make a Study Solutions appointment.

Remember, good time management = less stress so why not give it a try?

 

 

Set up for study success this semester

The first week of semester is about meeting new mates, your tutors and lecturers and gathering unit information – assignment due dates, classes, exams. Staying on top of your study load and setting yourself up for success from Week 1 can be achieved with a little planning and bookmarking study support resources for when you need them.

Plan your semester

Planning is not about having your time set in stone, but more about seeing the bigger picture so you can afford to be flexible as things pop up during semester. Unexpected setbacks happen and when they do, a plan will help you to adjust your time so you can quickly get back on track.

To get started, you’ll need:

  • the academic calendar
  • an online calendar, like your QUT email calendar or Google Calendar – whichever works for you and you will refer to regularly

The academic calendar shows important dates related to your semester, such as mid-semester break and exam periods. Place or save the academic calendar somewhere you can access quickly, like your computer desktop. Next, input all your important dates over the semester, assignment due dates, exam study period, as well as your social and family commitments such as weddings or birthday parties. You’ll then start to see where you might need to start work on your assignments a little earlier if the due date clashes with your cousin’s 21st bash, for example. In your online calendar, block out time for your classes. Then add your regular work, family or other commitments. Setting up recurring appointments in an online calendar are time savers when planning your study load from week to week.

Now you have an idea of what your semester looks like and how much time you have for your coursework and assignments.

Handy tip: Bookmark the library’s Assignment Calculator to help you allow enough time for completing your assignments.

Keep study support within reach

Can’t make it to campus for a study skills workshop? Library staff have been busy over the summer preparing these workshops for online access through Blackboard. Once logged into Blackboard, either go to the community site directly and click ‘Enrol’, or use ‘Community Finder’ and search with the name ‘Library Back to Study’. By enrolling in the community site, you will have ready access to these resources from your Blackboard home page.

Topics include reading and note taking, undertaking research and returning to university study, with helpful hints and strategies.

Need help through the semester? Ask a Librarian – by phone, at the Library Helpdesk or online.

We’re here to help.

O Week Must Dos!

New to QUT? Welcome! Returning for another semester? Welcome back!

The beginning of the semester can be a busy time, there are new places to check out, workshops to attend and study to organise. But luckily Orientation Week has arrived along with a whole host of activities!

To help you get everything under control here are our Top 5 Must Dos for O week.

    • Meet QUT’s Vice Chancellor, Peter Coldrake, as he welcomes you to QUT.

  • Grab your free Semester Planner to help you get on top of your assignments and exams this semester! During O Week these will be available from Welcome Tents at Gardens Point and Kelvin Grove and from the Student Centre at Caboolture.
  • Check out QUT’s online portal, OrgSync, where you can explore activities happening at QUT such as clubs and sporting teams you might want to join, career development and campus life.
  • Pop into your campus’s library and talk to our friendly Helpdesk team. You can also pick up your free copy of QUT Cite/Write which will give you a great introduction to citing, referencing and academic writing at QUT.
  • Make sure to attend your faculty specific orientation. Whether you are an undergraduate, postgraduate or an international student, these orientations will make sure you get the best possible start to your semester.

And don’t forget to grab your ID card! You can do this at any campus.

We look forward to meeting all the new faces and seeing the familiar ones this semester at all of our QUT Libraries!

 

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!

 

 

Light! End of the tunnel!

You're nearly there minifig! 'Small Climb' by  Black Zack (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

You’re nearly there minifig! ‘Small Climb’ by Black Zack
(CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The weather’s warming up, and all that sunshine is like a beacon of hope – it’s almost the end of semester! You’ve already handed in a few assignments and things are rolling along. To make sure you keep the momentum going, here are a few tips:

  • Use the Assignment Calculator to help manage your time on these last assessments.
  • Set some time aside for each of your assessment pieces. A weekly planner is available here.
  • If you aren’t sure about your assignment task, talk to your tutor or lecturer about what is required.
  • Ask someone at the Library Helpdesk 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.
  • Check out your faculty’s peer assistance program to talk to another student about your study.

Time can slip away quickly. For best results with less stress, start early, work consistently and finish strong!

#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.

Submitting your assignment at Caboolture Library

QUT Library Caboolture All Rights Reserved Queensland University of Technology

QUT Library Caboolture All Rights Reserved Queensland University of Technology

Ah, the sweet relief of successfully submitting your assignment! As you are probably aware, Assignment Minder closes 15 minutes before the library at all campuses. What you may not know is that Caboolture Library’s opening hours are significantly different to those of Kelvin Grove and Gardens Point Libraries.

During semester, Assignment Minder is available at Caboolture at these times:

Monday to Friday          8am – 6.45pm

Saturday                       9am – 3.45pm

Sunday                         9am – 11.45am

Remember, students can submit at any campus. So even if Caboolture is closed, Caboolture students can still submit assignments at Kelvin Grove and Gardens Point.

If you find yourself often rushing to submit at the last minute, check out the resources available to help you manage your study, including planners and videos, on Studywell.

Good luck with your final assignments!